by Allianah Junnice Bolotaulo | December 9, 2022
Silliman University (SU) became the first university in the country to declare a climate emergency following the university’s Board of Trustees adoption on Nov. 11.
SU President Dr. Betty McCann said, “When I was approached by the environment committee of the student government, it came spontaneously because it flows from our own Silliman environmental principles, policies, and guidelines.”
She said that the declaration confirms and strengthens the university’s environmental principles, policies, and guidelines.
“For so many years, Silliman University has believed in this phenomenon, but declaring it out in the open is also a way for us to embrace the responsibility of doing something more for the climate changes happening to us,” she added.
SU further committed to mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change education and service learning.
Dr. McCann saw research as a means to uncover practices that need to be changed or modified and implement new practices to support the recent climate emergency declaration.
“You are a resource, we can mobilize student groups, faculty, staff, and administration to be involved in projects and research related to climate change,” she said.
The university’s service learning program aimed to achieve specific educational outcomes through the integration of classroom theories and community-based projects.
Through this, students can select service opportunities from various causes such as environment, marine conservation, farmers and fisherfolk, health, and community empowerment.
Dr. McCann described the university’s program as community engagement activities initiated in the academic division.
She shared, “When students are brought to fishing communities…they get to understand more about overfishing, about the need to have artificial reefs and making sure areas declared to be marine sanctuaries are protected so that life in the sea would continue to survive.”
Before the declaration, SU also installed solar panels, implemented a Zero Waste strategy to reduce waste, and declared SU as a wildlife sanctuary as part of its Environmental Principles, Policies, and Guidelines adopted in 2018.