University marks Earth Day with student sustainability leaders

Dr Richard Manton, Director of Sustainability; Molly Hickey; Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar and Chair of the University Sustainability Advisory Board; Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, Community and University Sustainability Officer; Peter O’Neill; and Dr Alma Clavin, Lecturer in Sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development. Credit - Aengus McMahon
Apr 22 2024 Posted: 11:09 IST

University of Galway has today marked Earth Day 2024 by announcing the winners of the Student Sustainability Leadership Awards 2024: Molly Hickey and Peter O’Neill.  


Molly Hickey is a second year BA with human rights student from Co Laois and the Students’ Union Environmental Awareness and Sustainability Officer. Molly said: “I am delighted to be a sustainability leadership awardee because it gives me the opportunity to continue working on increasing the University's sustainability and getting more students involved in it.” 


Peter O'Neill is a first-year history student from Ballymacward, Mountbellew, Co Galway. Peter has been involved in youth activism for four years, culminating in representing Ireland at the 13th UNESCO Youth Forum. He said: “Sustainability has become a defining feature of my work and studies, and I'm really excited to work with the University to encourage an interest in sustainability with students and to get discussion going about the SDGs and what we can do here in Galway.” 


Both students receive a €4,000 prize and will take part in an 8-week internship with the University’s new Sustainability Office this summer.   


The office has been launched to lead and promote sustainability in all aspects of university activities including teaching, learning, research, operations, governance, and engagement endeavours. Its aim is to empower the University’s diverse communities of staff, students and partners to work together in the development of a sustainable campus and to deliver on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  


University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “As a university that is committed to serving the public good and whose community has defined sustainability as a core value, I am delighted to announce the winners of the Student Sustainability Leadership Awards and the launch of the new Sustainability Office. We are delighted to be recognised as Sustainability Champions and are determined to do more. I hope that through this office our sustainability efforts will continue and intensify and that we will use the office to highlight the breadth of activities our students and staff are undertaking to advance sustainable solutions and to share our learning with others, playing our part in tackling climate change and preserving our precious biodiversity for generations to come.” 


Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar and Chair of the University Sustainability Advisory Board, said: “Our sustainability progress to date is rooted in the commitment over and above the day job of academics, professional support staff and, crucially, students. Through this new Sustainability Office, we are now formalising our support for them and building on our success in this space. Accelerated by the Office, the vision is that in a few short years’ time every student graduating from University of Galway will have confronted diverse aspects of sustainability and the UN SDGs in their degrees. Galway graduates will have learned about sustainability, learned to live by it, and will go out to lead as global, responsible, and inspiring citizens. That is where our sustainability journey is taking us.”  



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