Griffith University puts focus on sustainability

ATHENA ZELANDONII

Griffith University is running its annual Sustainability Week events this week, celebrating all things sustainable through a range of workshops, activities and stalls.

Sustainability Week python Griffith Uni

Previous Griffith University Sustainability Week events have seen students experience a close encounter with a python. Photo: Isabella Pappas/Griffith University Student Guild

 

The university’s Gold Coast campus is kicking off events today with their Sustainability Fair, with the South Bank, Logan, and Nathan campuses offering a series of “enviro events” throughout the week.

Among the free events organised this year are seedling giveaways and wildlife encounters, alongside stalls selling sustainably produced jewellery as well as a pre-loved clothing sale.

There will also be forums, talks and exhibitions, including a sustainable environments exhibition of cardboard furniture made by students from QCA Gold Coast.

Sustainability Week presents an opportunity for students, staff, and community members to learn more about active travel options, recycling, and energy initiatives, and to become involved with Griffith University’s sustainability agenda.

Vanessa Dal’Castel from Griffith events organisation, What’s On, said the campus’ sustainability event got bigger and more involved every year.

“We incorporate a lot of informative stalls and activities on the day that educate and teach on environmental aspects,” Ms Dal’Castel said.

“Students will have the opportunity to visit stalls and learn about recycling, the environment, reusing old items, raw products and sustainable behaviours,” she said.

Enviro events Griffith University

The “enviro events” at Griffith University include a closet cleanout, pop-up stalls, educational talks, and a nature walk at Logan arboretum. Photo: What’s On

 

Griffith sustainability officer Saffron Benner said the week was about promoting sustainability issues on campus, as well as providing information on how students could continue sustainable practises outside of the university.

“A lot of the focus is on environmental and waste management, recycling and those sorts of things, but it also extends to health and wellbeing,” Ms Benner said.

“We’re coming to the end of the current sustainability policy and planning, so it’s part of the current Vice-Chancellor’s plan to revisit the sustainable plan for the university, which will change next year,” she said.

The current Griffith Sustainability Plan outlines environmental goals across all five campuses, with a commitment to achieving a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 26 per cent from 2010/11 levels by 2030.

With more than 43,000 students and 4000 staff across all campuses, waste management is also a central focus of Sustainability Week.

In the lead-up to the 2018 Sustainability Week, a coffee cup recycling partnership with Closed Loop was rolled out, collecting 30,000 disposable coffee cups from August to December of last year.

The coffee cup recycling program is still continuing on Griffith University campuses, and coffee drinkers are encouraged to place their used takeaway cups into specially marked collection tubes, diverting them from landfill and allowing them to be upcycled into new products.

Other Griffith initiatives include the Green Labs Program, which focuses on sustainable practices in laboratories, and a library program that aims to cut down on paper resources by making 95 per cent or more of required or recommended readings available online.

Ms Dal’Castel said it was important to target students because they held “the future in their hands.”

“The hope is to educate students and provide a possible foundation of sustainable choices, habits and knowledge for all year round,” she said.

Griffith University’s Sustainability Week runs from September 2 to 6.

For more information on specific event dates and locations, visit the enviro events and Sustainability Week web pages.

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