A few years ago one of our intrepid NUS Sustainability team members paid a visit to Australia, touring universities, colleges, students’ unions, and attending the Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) conference. The trip went well, but things lay quiet for a while afterwards...
This year we celebrated the launch of our flagship Green Impact programme at the University of Melbourne. Working across sometimes inconsiderate time differences, between us we have managed to create what looks to be a wonderfully vibrant and exciting project across their renowned campus.
Sue Hopkins, Sustainability Engagement Manager, has worked across her department and pulled in other interested and strategically ‘useful’ people from across the university to create a toolkit completely bespoke to them. We have kept it simple and achievable for those starting out in sustainability, but have included some more challenging actions for those who will hit the ground running. With over 4000 members of staff and 45000 students, the potential for widespread engagement is huge!
The University ofMelbourne has been keen to get students involved in the programme from the get go. They recently held a Green Impact Project Assistant training day, with a great bunch of enthusiastic students in attendance for upskilling and to help support newly signed up teams through this first year of the pilot programme.
Sam Williams, Graduate Sustainability Officerat the University of Melbourne, says:
"As part of the Sustainability Team, I am helping to implement Green Impact. I have been communicating with staff and students, helping to recruit teams and to run training for student volunteers. We've had an amazing response! Having initially aimed for ten teams to sign-up in our pilot year, we are at 23 so far - and counting! Lots of staff members have told us how helpful it is to have a structured framework within which to channel their sustainability efforts, and have appreciated that Green Impact gives them some authority to make changes in their work areas that they didn't have before."
The team at Melbourne have put in a lot of time and effort into thoroughly tailoring and planning the project, and arereaping the rewards. One hundred and ten staff members have already committed to make changes; feedback is coming in through the toolkit, and a community committed to sustainability is growing.
So what next for Green Impact in Australia? Well it is still early days for Melbourne, but their positive start has already led to some interest from other institutions across the country -so watch this space!