GCI - Working hard on 5 ways to be greener at school

Activities and events

GCI becomes a greener school

Posted 21 May

Are you looking for an English school in Galway that is not just a language school? At GCI, whether it’s learning English online or doing an academic English course, our students get to tackle our diverse curriculum through the use of critical thinking and in-depth conversation lessons which comprises of the countless global issues affecting our world today such as climate change, wildlife conservation, clean energy, human rights and social economic development.

GCI has always strived to be an environmentally-aware school, especially when it comes to creating awareness among our student body on how they can be more eco-friendly in their educational and domestic lives while taking a GCI English course – be it an online English course or in Galway.

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One of the main highlights of the year is our Green Week, during this week a number of workshops are held on how to make eco-friendly cleaning products and how to upcycle and using recycle materials. Another fantastic activity that the students participate in is The Beach Clean-Up project, which involves a group of volunteers cleaning waste from our beaches and coastline.

Here are a few more of our innovative green changes that Galway Cultural Institute have implemented in the building and surroundings over the recent years in our endeavor to be a progressive eco-school. We will continue to put into place incentives for our staff and student be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Eco-Lighting System

One of the major green projects that the GCI has taken on is the installment of our eco-lighting system throughout the school. This new future-forward technology uses LEDs instead of florescent bulbs, which reduces energy consumption by 80%. Check the video here

LED eco light systems are truly better for the environment due to the fact they emit no light pollution, contain no mercury unlike florescent bulbs so they can be recycled safely and emit no UV radiation. This green energy has successfully helped reduce GCI’s carbon footprint, which is something everyone should be endeavoring to do these days. 

Refill fountains/bottles

Another project that has been a rousing success is our installation of filtered water fountains on each floor of the school. Students can avail of this free of charge and are encouraged to use refillable bottles where possible. The school have also introduced our own GCI-GBS aluminum reusable bottles, which students can purchase at reception.

Café compostable packaging

On the ground-floor of the GCI we have a fantastic café, which is run by the extremely environmentally-aware chef, Franco. Ozone was one of the first businesses in Salthill to adopt the use of compostable cups and packaging, although many have followed in these green footsteps since. Ozone also strive to use locally sources products and provides recycling bins for customers.

 As well as being green we can certainly claim to be the English school in Galway with the best terrace to enjoy while taking your summer English course in Ireland. See our beautiful shot below of international students in Galway taking a well-earned break! 

Installment of Recycling Bin

During Green Week saw the introduction of recycling bins and an awareness raising campaign around this simple action. GCI students are encourage to consider their waste disposal responsibly during their school time and hopefully this will aid in developing good recycling skills at in their school or private accommodation.

Planting of Wildflowers

One of the prettiest additions to the school during Green Week was the planting of an abundance of wild flowers at the front of the school. Why is everyone talking about wild flowers these days you ask? Although wildflower growing is relatively new to Ireland it is a worthwhile pursuit as it protects biodiversity, nature and our environment. It also helps to conserve Ireland’s wildflower population as it has been put in danger by chemical spraying, hedgerow cutting and non-sustainable farming practices.

The reason why these types of projects are so important to our biodiversity is to helps restore our endangered bee population. One third of Ireland’s bee species are at risk of extinction and unfortunately we are not alone when it comes to this dire problem the rest of the world bees are suffering too. Bees are essential when it comes to the pollination of our fruit trees, vegetables and berry bushes. Without this pollination our crops are at risk of not producing crops and as we all know this key to a healthy human race.

It is vitally important that we maintain these species and by planting diverse native species of wildflowers and plants which bloom from spring to autumn to help the bees stay strong and healthy all year round. There are many projects in place all over the country, these are being implemented by local county councils, schools and community groups but we as individuals can help to. If you would like more information see here.

Green Week & Beach Clean-Up, GCI Students

Reduction of Paper Waste

Do you ever think about ways of reducing paper in your English classroom – perhaps if you have already taken some teacher training yourself you may already have considered green options around this issue. GCI staff suggested that we could be more aware of the amount of paper being wasted annually. Over the recent pandemic our staff have learnt to be more resourceful and to use technology in a beneficial way. Hopefully, the knowledge which we have gained from teaching online will help in reducing our over-use of paper in the future.

What is a Beach Clean-up?

A beach clean-up usually comprises of a group of volunteers, who come together to clean their beaches and coastlines. It is essential as it reduces the rubbish entering our coastlines as it is having catastrophic consequences on ocean life and ocean eco-systems. Many of the objects that float out to the sea do not decompose and remain in the water where it is then consumed as food by birds and wildlife.

 Approximately 1.4 billion pounds of rubbish is being dumped into the oceans each year, with plastic found to be the most common element. The beach clean-up not only provides locals with nice clean beaches but combats the damaged being caused to the environment. This was one of the projects which our students were involved in during Green Week but they can also volunteer for this activity all year round by contacting this website.

At GCI it is our aim to inform and educate our students and aid them in their development of important English communication skills through debate and critical thinking or simply by watching a nature documentary as a class to hone their listening skills. We endeavour to give those, who choose our school to study English in Galway, a well-rounded English communication skill set by the time they depart from us

 Here are some viewing suggestions on this topic:

Maybe watching documentaries such as these may also be of interest if you are planning to take an international English exam such as the IELTS test for some extra English listening practice.

About GCI

Galway Cultural Institute is an expert language school located in the west of Ireland in the beautiful coastal city of Galway. We have been offering English course in Ireland for international students since 1989 and from 2020, a wide range of online English coursesGeneral English course for grammarIELTS preparation online, Cambridge exam preparation online and even business English online. 

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