Over 70 environmental degree students in Thurles completed their summer examinations last week – and are now enjoying a well deserved break from their studies. The students are enrolled on the BSc (Hons) in Environmental and Natural Resource Management in Tipperary Institute (soon to be Limerick Institute of Technology (Tipperary)). With a Smart Sustainable Energy computing degree also on offer, the Institute is a significant contributor to education for the “green economy”.
There have been plenty of interesting learning experiences on the environmental programme this year.
Said a spokesman - “We’re very fortunate to have the wonderful Cabragh Wetlands on our doorstep, which our first year students visited as part of their Applied Environmental Science module to get hands-on experience of water sampling and on-site analysis”.
The eco-village in Cloughjordan was the subject of a Problem-based Learning (PBL) week. After a tour of the eco-village, students worked in groups to assess the environmental, social and economic aspects of this exciting development. The week culminated with colourful displays of their findings in the Institute conference centre.
Industrial sites with Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) licences are studied in second year. Graduates from the TI degree will be able to assist in environmental management at such sites, of which there are 550 in Ireland. Students also helped the Institute examine its own environmental performance, through an environmental action project. For example, the car-pooling team conducted a one day pilot with their classmates, significantly reducing the number of cars in the college car park that day (an issue that – thankfully – is becoming more pressing as student numbers increase rapidly).
As noted in the 2009 report of the High-Level Group on Green Enterprise, energy efficiency and waste minimisation are important tools to improve the cost competitiveness of Irish businesses. Students learned how organisations can reduce their energy costs through following the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s online Energy MAP programme. With support from the Tipperary Energy Agency, TI itself has used the Energy MAP programme to help implement measures such as wall insulation, heating and lighting controls, and perhaps most excitingly, a wood-fuelled boiler to be installed during the summer.
The third year students will be undertaking work placements this summer, in organisations including an environmental consultancy, a large industrial site, a renewable energy company, a community-based tourism group, an energy agency, a county council, and a number of state bodies.
If you’re a school leaver or mature student interested in the programme you can find further details on www.tippinst.ie, or contact the programme leader, Ms. Elisha McGrane on 0504 28108. TI also welcome contact from companies who might have an interest in linking with them on student placements or final year research projects.
With suggestions that the “green economy” has the potential to create 80,000 jobs in Ireland, the TI is proud to be delivering the BSc (Hons) in Environmental and Natural Resource Management.
The green economy is high on President Obama’s agenda also – maybe the Institute should set up a stall in Moneygall!