Information Services Office   19.5.2012


Ms. Vivian Ho
Newsletter No. 398 > Thus Spake… > Ms. Vivian Ho, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability

Ms. Vivian Ho, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability


What are the service scope of the Campus Planning and Sustainability Office (CPSO)?

The CPSO was a policy unit set up on 1 July 2011 to monitor and review the Campus Master Plan, support sustainable development, and promote environmental awareness. It also takes charge of all space planning and allocation. CUHK is the only local institution which puts campus planning and sustainability concerns under the same umbrella. This visionary structure could help to balance the needs of the two highly-related areas.

How will the CPSO fulfil its functions?

The CPSO is committed to striking a balance between scarce resources and unlimited demands. With a human-centred fundamental principle, we will consider needs from different perspectives, including that of the University as a whole, that of departments, of staff, of students and of all stakeholders of the University, so as to reach unanimous decisions which can look after the interests of different parties.

What is the University community’s reaction to the Green Office Programme (GO!)?

We received unexpectedly enthusiastic response. In the first phase, we invited all University administrative units to participate. A total of 60 units pledged to join, including the whole management team, all nine Colleges, over 90% of the administrative and service units, and some academic units. Five student bodies including the Student Union also took part even though their members were busy with examinations. The overwhelming feedback gave us a lot of encouragement.

Over the years, CUHK has devoted much effort to formulating environment-related policy and developing green infrastructure. In 2009, the University won the gold award under the category of Public Organizations and Utilities of the Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence. Now it is time to take one step forward to bring about individual behavioural changes so as to establish a green culture on campus in the long run. Just as Rome was not built in a day, it took time for environmental education work to have effect. As the first local tertiary institution to incorporate green practices in daily work, we hope we can play an exemplary role in promoting green offices among tertiary institutions, secondary schools and primary schools, as well as other organizations.

How do you personally go green in your everyday work?

What I do are simple and direct. For example, turn off the lights if the daylight is bright enough; make use of natural ventilation instead of air-conditioning; send e-mails rather than hardcopies; use recycled paper and print on both sides; sort garbage and recycle; and walk to meetings if possible. Some 10 years ago, I started sorting waste at home. My family thought it was troublesome, but they were eventually converted, and started doing it themselves. I think going green is a kind of lifestyle attitude based on your understanding of the world. I hope GO! will help to spread the green message to every CUHK member, their families and friends.

What other programmes or initiatives are in the pipeline?

The University has set some targets for the University’s sustainability efforts for the next five years. This includes on top of reductions already underway, a further 8% (per capita) reduction in energy consumption, 10% (per capita) in greenhouse gases emissions, 12% (per capita) in waste to landfill, 15% (per capita) in water usage, and 50% (per capita) in paper consumption. To fulfil these goals, we will devote much effort to the areas of energy conservation, waste reduction and green purchasing. For example, in buildings with more than one lift, only one will remain in operation after office hours; non-essential lighting in lobbies or public corridors in the buildings will be switched off in the daytime; every office has assigned an Energy Warden to remind office members to implement energy conservation measures; manage furniture disposal and food waste through coordinating with the relevant units. Besides, the University has drawn up guidelines of a green purchasing policy and we hope University members will buy green products that have reduced negative effects on the environment and on human health.

Having been working in CUHK for nearly 28 years, how do you look at every new change in your career?

I have served in various units and most of the time, my capacity involved large-scale initiatives or university-wide projects. For example, I worked in the Registry Services Office and was responsible for implementing the new credit-bearing system. In the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, I helped to promote the decentralization of administration and the new funding model. After joining the Secretariat, I was in charge of coordinating with the University Grants Committee to carry out management review, and set up the Institute of Chinese Medicine. Then I was assigned to assist in evaluating the space allocation and planning of new buildings, formulating the University’s 10-year strategic plan as well as preparing the foundation work of the ‘3+3+4’ new curriculum. For me, every new duty is a new challenge which gives me a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

What do you appreciate the most working at CUHK?

I love the scenic campus. I still remember the first day I worked at CUHK, I was stunned by the picturesque natural environment with blooming flowers and chirping birds, a big contrast to hectic Causeway Bay, my previous working place. Even now, I do feel the same. Indeed, it is a blessing that I can work and study in this beautiful campus.

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