vsu eco2013 The Visayas State University (VSU) has been named as the Sustainable and Eco-Friendly School in the Philippines (College Category) during the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools. The plaque was received by VSU President, Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, and Dr. Maria Juliet C. Ceniza, former Director of the Institute of Tropical Ecology, on November 20, 2013 during the Awarding Ceremonies held at the 3rd Floor, Activity Center of SM City-North EDSA, Quezon City. Attached to the award was a cash prize of PhP50,000. Aside from the major award, VSU also bagged the “Meralco Energy Leadership Award” for promoting practices and initiatives in electrical safety, energy efficiency and conservation. It received a plaque of recognition and cash award of PhP20,000.

Prior to the National Search, VSU has been chosen as the Regional Winner in the Regional Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly School (College Category) and received a certificate of recognition and a cash prize of PhP15,000. It was also proclaimed winner in two special categories, namely: “Nestle Leadership for Water” and “Meralco Energy Leadership Award” with a cash award of PhP10,000 in each category.

Revolving on the theme "Sustainable and Eco-friendly Initiatives”, the nationwide search was organized by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, Nestle Philippines, Inc., One Meralco Foundation, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc., and Petron Foundation, Inc.

The “2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools” was organized to recognize efforts of various schools in the country to undertake eco-friendly programs and activities, as well as to encourage schools and academic institutions to become more actively involved in environmental issues at a practical and local level.

Other winners in the College Category included Miriam College (Second Place) in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, and Ateneo de Manila University (Third Place) in Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

The winners were rated based on the following criteria: Sustainability Aspects of the School’s Policy (10 pts); Environment-friendly School Operations and Presence of Environmental Programs (30 pts); Environment-related Features of the School Curriculum (30 pts); Presence of Vibrant Eco-Organizations in Campus (10 pts); Presence of Partners and Linkages in Environment Programs/Projects (10 pts); and In keeping with recent initiatives of the UNESCO for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)—a) Socio-Cultural Sustainability (5 pts), and b) Economic Sustainability (5 pts).

The nationwide search is part of the Philippine initiative in support of the ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan (2014-2018) and the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

In his acceptance message, Dr. Bacusmo deeply touched the hearts of the audience as he relayed VSU’s situation after the campus was devastated by the Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013 that earned him a standing ovation.

Read: The President's Acceptance Message during the awarding