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    A Promised Place to Live and Learn with Nature

    UI Green University World Ranking 2012, organized by Universitas Indonesia, has recently announced that Mahidol University was ranked number 36 in the world (6,208.39 points), number 11 in Asia, and number 1 in Thailand among 215 participating universities from 49 countries. The UI Green University World Ranking assesses and compares six main categories: green statistics, energy and climate change, waste management, water usage, transportation, and education.

    Professor RajataRajatanavin, the President of Mahidol University, said that Mahidol University has been actively actualizing the green university concept since 2008. Under the leadership of the former President, Clinical Professor PiyasakolSakolsatayadorn, Mahidol University established a master plan under the theme "A Dream Campus in a Happy and Healthy Community". One important policy under this master plan is ""A Promising Place to Live and Learn with Nature". The policy designates 70% of the campus to be green areas where innovative learning takes place in a natural and sustainable setting. Transforming the green space within the campus serves as a model for best practices in energy conservation and sustainable environmental preservation. The Mahidol University also invites members of the surrounding communities to participate in various educational and recreational activities in these green areas. These green initiatives have been continued and expanded as a part of the "Harmony in Diversity", one of nine current main strategies of Mahidol University. The university aims to be a complete Eco University by 2016. Furthermore, the university promotes integration of knowledge and expertise from every faculty, college, and institute to ensure societal well-being. Being true to our motto "Wisdom of the Land", our drive to become Eco University engages stakeholders and advocates practical, effective, and evidence-based policies to achieve environmental sustainability for Thailand.

    Professor SuwannaRuangkanchanasetr, Vice President of Mahidol University, added that there are many projects within the university aiming to promote well-being and sustainability. Roads and traffic routes around campus have been reduced by half and reorganized to optimize foot- and bicycle- traffics. Many new trees have been planted to create environment for green life style. The university's official trams, run on both gasoline and natural gas, help promote utilization of public transportation and encourage environment awareness. The white bicycle project provides free public bicycles for students, staff, and visitors. The Salaya campus is demarcated by dirt mounts, which not only serve as environmental friendly fences but also help protect the campus from the major flooding of 2011. Organic Farming Project provides livelihood for members of surrounding communities and healthy organic vegetables for students, staff, and visitors. The Garbage Bank Project creates opportunities for extra incomes for the community while fostering optimal waste management. The Organic Compose Project eliminates organic wastes around campus while providing safe and effective fertilizers. The wastewater treatment plant has a capacity of 3000 cubic meters per day and serves as a popular exercise spot for members of the university and surrounding communities. The Lovely Home for Dogs Project solves the strayed dogs problem and provides behavior modification training, which allows these dogs to be adopted into new homes. Her Majesty the Queen bestowed the name "UtayanDhammachartSirisukachart" to a 140 rais nature preserved area to be a center where researchers, members of surrounding communities, and visitors can study medicinal plants and herbs. The Preservation of Traditional Thai Architecture Project not only showcases and preserves Thai culture but also offers a popular location for bird watching by providing a sanctuary for trees and local birds

    Associate Professor KampanadBhaktikul, Dean of the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, stated that the faculty offers 67 courses at Bachelor level, 28 courses at Master level, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Environment and Resource Studies. The faculty focuses on multidisciplinary research and emphasizes activity-based learning and field studies. The faculty aims to produce graduates with knowledge and skills to be leaders who help solve environmental and resource management challenges of Thailand. The faculty was founded more than thirty years ago and has conducted more than 300 research projects.

    Besides Mahidol University, six other Thai universities are also ranked: King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi is number 38 (6.138.89 points), Chulalongkorn University is number 41 (6,093.24 points), Kasetsart University is number 44 (6,003.25 points), MahasarakhamUniversitiy is number 71 (5471.71 points), King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok is number 175 (3,867.24 points), and Burapha University is number 195 (3,514.10 points). University of Connecticut, USA, is ranked number 1 in the world receiving 7,569.39 points.

    -- photo by Eakarin Eakatchariyawong