NCNU receives global acclaim for sustainability, inclusivity efforts
After years of being a rumored mountainous institution shrouded in clouds, National Chi Nan University (NCNU) has emerged on the world stage as a globally acclaimed practitioner of sustainable programs, environmental protection, and university social responsibility (USR).
USR, which refers to the academic philosophy of using an ethical approach to develop and engage with local and global communities, has been underpinning school policy ever since NCNU President Dr. Yuhlong Oliver Su took the helm of the university. In interlinking strongholds of knowledge with regional networks of people, NCNU looks to provide a fair and inclusive learning environment, fight inequality and champion minority groups, and work towards realizing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations.
Placing second in Taiwan and 45th worldwide by the University of Indonesia’s GreenMetric World University Rankings, NCNU has also been shortlisted by the 2020 Taiwan USR Rankings compiled by Global Views Magazine of the Common wealth Publishing Group, the results of which will be announced on April 27th. This year also marks NCNU’s inaugural participation in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, landing in 63th in the “Responsible Consumption and Production” category in a reflection of the university’s commitment to the 12th SDG.
The collective efforts by staff and students alike in embracing the university’s social responsibilities have led to NCNU becoming the twice recipient of the Ministry of Education’s USR grants. The first was granted in 2018 as a part of a three-year program organized by the MOE’s Center for University Social Responsibility for pursuing agricultural breakthroughs, offering long-term health and senior care, boosting educational resources in rural regions, and protecting the environment. NCNU then announced a NT$5-million plan to renovate the school’s accessibility infrastructure in 2019, which was made possible by an additional NT$4 million from the MOE.
Situated in the mountainous terrains of central Taiwan, NCNU is working hard to overcome the challenges that such geographic conditions pose to the university’s mobility-challenged population. This began with the establishment of an inclusive campus task force by President Su during his second term for implementing equal accessibility solutions, with particular attentiveness being paid toward elevators, washrooms, toilets, ramps, and other public facilities.
A total of 53 students living with physical disabilities are now enrolled at NCNU, up from 28 in 2012. Through their participation in paper surveys and on-site inspections, these students are providing invaluable feedback to the task force and contributing to the realization of fully accessible, safe, and well-designed university services and campus infrastructure.
So far, several facilities including general teaching buildings, school cafeterias, the College of Humanities, and the Counseling Center are undergoing related repairs or expansion work, with construction scheduled next for upgrading the all-accessible bathrooms in sports centers and libraries, outfitting the showers in female dormitories for undergraduates and graduate students, and implementing impediment-free elevators in administrative buildings.
NCNU looks forward to welcoming visitors to its accessibility-friendly campus and new staff and student members to its all-inclusive community.