Welcome to ACTS

ACTS is a non-profit member based organisation representing higher and further education institutions within Australia and New Zealand. We aim to inspire, promote and support change towards best practice sustainability within the operations, curriculum and research of the tertiary education sector.

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Category Finalists

ACTS_Website_Slideshow_2015GGAA Finalists announced
ACTS is delighted to announce the finalist candidates for the 2015 Green Gown Awards Australasia – including the inaugural Built Environment and Leadership categories – and the ACTS Awards of Excellence. Scroll down to find out which inspiring and motivating initiatives are represented within 11 categories. 
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We wish our finalists the very best of luck! Join us at the prestigious Award ceremony on Thursday 22 October 2015 at Geelong’s premier waterfront venue – The Pier – in conjunction with the 15th International ACTS conference. Register today for your ticket to the sustainability night of the year!

Categories

Individual Awards

Best Newcomer

Australian Catholic University
More: the problem of plenty in Australia’s fastest growing University

Australia’s fastest growing University of the last decade is now one of Australia’s most sustainable Universities, with sector-leading energy and water efficiency and landfill diversion rates to match ACU’s local and global programs to assist the poor and vulnerable.
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Federation University Australia
Small bins – big success!

The University introduced desktop bins and recycling bins to every office and workstations in 2012 and 2013. The aim of the program was to reduce landfill waste, increase recycling, reduce costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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Holmesglen Institute
Enviro Week: green thinking = positive change
Enviro Week is based on our message of green thinking = positive change. Over 700 students participate in this week across four campuses engaging in on campus activities. Over 60 students volunteer as Sustainability Ambassadors and they help run each of the events or participate in a project day. Together with our Gardening Service, our project day this year was refurbishing gardens.
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Melbourne Polytechnic
Waste transformation – moving towards a communal waste and recycling bin system
Melbourne Polytechnic’s has introduced communal bins system, resulting in approximately 80 tonnes of recycled material being diverted from landfill annually.
The program involved the removal of bins from classrooms and offices and the installation of communal bins.  Supporting events included Melbourne Polytechnic’s Student Life and Media team hosting ‘Enviroweek’.  Highlights include the Young Adult Migrant English students taking on the leadership role increasing both the groups’ sustainability knowledge and leadership skills.

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Built Environment

Central Institute of Technology
Green Skills Training Centre: A catalyst for Green-Star construction

The GreenSkills Training Centre is an award-winning catalyst for change in the built environment. A training facility for students studying sustainability courses, it is the embodiment of sustainable technology, where the infrastructure is integral to the student’s learning experience. With its 6 Star Green Star design rating by the Green Building Council of Australia, the facility is self-sufficient in energy generation and water, and minimises Central’s environmental footprint.
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The University of Adelaide
Badger Laboratory – a truly sustainable refurbishment

The Badger Laboratory was purpose built in the 1950’s for organic chemistry. The red brick design forms an important part of the University’s architectural heritage. Over many years, the building became very energy intensive. Rather than demolishing, it was decided to refurbish the building to improve amenity, energy efficiency and user safety. Four months after commissioning, efficiency measures are contributing to vastly improved environmental performance of the building.
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The University of Melbourne
Melbourne School of Design – a large scale learning laboratory
The new building for the Melbourne School of Design is a start of the art academic facility designed as a large scale laboratory for built environment education and research and sets a new standard for design education in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides a pedagogical tool to teach the breadth of sustainability including design, materials selection, construction techniques and building operations in a way that is visible to all students.
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University of Tasmania
IMAS Building: more than just a building
The IMAS building was constructed to provide a contemporary new home for the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. As significant work done by the building occupants (scientists/researchers and students) focuses on climate change and other environmental impacts from human activity, it was imperative that this 5-Star building must excel in energy and water efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, waste management, use of sustainable materials and interior flexibility.

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Carbon Reduction

TAFE NSW Western Institute
Travelling by Green Fleet – Economy Class
Each year, TAFE Western reports on the activity of its cars, trucks and buses to assess fleet performance, and model fleet activity in the coming year. Since 2012, TAFE Western has saved $155,770 in fleet costs, reduced travel by 379,885 kilometres, reduced the amount of fuel purchased by 73,800 litres and reduced its fleet-related emissions by 173 tonnes CO2e. Green vehicles comprise 16% of the fleet of 122 vehicles.
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Victoria University of Wellington
De-carbonising Vic
Since 2007 Victoria University of Wellington has been reducing its carbon emissions. Stationary energy and transport were identified as target areas. An extensive list of projects have been delivered with a modest budget by a small team. Total carbon emissions have been reduced by 12 percent (despite a growing campus) and operating costs reduced by millions.

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Community Innovation

La Trobe University
Easy as Pi! Using La Trobe e-waste to support learning opportunities for school students
La Trobe University ICT Department donated 40 sets of computer peripherals (monitors, keyboards and mice) to help Whittlesea Council roll out a project to build computers and teach programming skills in their local community. The program is an example of how a small contribution can be hugely rewarding and lead to other great things!
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La Trobe University
Don’t hike it, bike it! La Trobe University Bike Share Program
Riding a bike is a common activity in most major University Towns and Cities across the planet, it is also healthy and stress free activity. La Trobe University embraced this ethos and developed Bike Share to encourage cycling, cut down on cross campus travel times and reduce traffic around the Bundoora Campus. Staff and students can utilise 40 bikes at 14 different locations to maximise their time on Campus.
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The University of Melbourne
Embedding Fair Trade at the University of Melbourne
As the University comprises 47,000 students and 6,500 staff, the consumer choices we make on campus matter. When we achieved Fair Trade Accreditation in 2012, we became committed to help reduce poverty and make a real difference to the lives of farmers and to communities in the developing world. Since then, the initiative has grown in leaps and bounds across campus due to the diligent contributions of students as well as staff.

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Continuous Improvement – Institutional Change

Durack Institute of Technology
Striking the Right Balance
Durack Institute of Technology has used innovation and cultural change, to enable us reduce their reliance on potable scheme water of more than 89% in less than a decade. Each year, Durack has strived to reduce its scheme water usage whilst at the same time, manage and balance its groundwater, so it recharges more into the groundwater system than it extracts. It is all about striking the right water balance!
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TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute
When You’re Green You’re Growing
TAFE Illawarra has continued its sustainability journey recently to keep the Institute ‘green and growing’. Section Sustainability Ratings have commenced to recognise sustainable work and teaching practices. Environmental metrics are reported against targets set out in our Environmental Sustainability Plan 2012-2015. Our Yallah Campus leads the way with the latest green buildings and Green Army conservation works. Electricity usage and carbon emissions have reduced every year now for 7 years.
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The University of Melbourne
Integrating Sustainability at Melbourne – A whole of University approach
The Sustainability Program has grown since 2006 to include initiatives across leadership and governance, facilities and operations, learning teaching and research, and partnerships and engagement. The Program has seen increases in carbon savings from 9,713 in 2008 to 31,754 tonnes in 2014, water savings of 164ML/pa (30%) since 2006 and savings from the furniture reuse program of $2,821,815 based on estimated retail replacement value and $130,445 on landfill charges.
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The University of Waikato
GoingGreen@Waikato
GoingGreen@Waikato has helped embed sustainability into all aspects of university activity. Several thousand people have been involved over the last 4 years.  Waste to landfill and fleet carbon emissions have decreased, whilst recycling, participation and awareness have increased. Our savings & funding combined have exceeded $200,000. The key to success has been the engaging and unique nature of the initiative, by-in from staff and students, and support from stakeholders.

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Facilities & Services *Sponsored by Envizi*

La Trobe University
Restoration of a santuary: From mental hospital grounds to conservation education

La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus was master-planned in the 1960s with a dedicated reserve (comprised of former hospital grounds) for the purpose of indigenous flora restoration. Almost fifty years later, the reserve, now known as the La Trobe University Wildlife Sanctuary, is permanently protected under a Trust for Nature conservation covenant and has successfully been restored with indigenous flora and fauna by dedicated staff, students and volunteers.
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TAFE NSW – Illawarra Institute
Yallah TAFE Campus – where education greets nature
TAFE Illawarra’s Yallah Campus has been the sustainability ‘hero’ of the Institute with its leading sustainable education and operations. Recent campus ‘green’ credentials include the opening of the Transformational Technical Training building (one of the most sustainable buildings in the region), on-ground conservation works by one of Australia’s first Green Army projects to protect the endangered Yallah Woodland on campus, and the completion of the Conservation Areas Management Plan by staff and students.
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The University of Melbourne
Furniture and Equipment Re-use Service

The Furniture and Equipment Re-use Service offers a range of workstations, storage solutions, and other items for sale at a low cost, presenting a sustainable and economic alternative to purchasing new furniture or equipment. It is available to University of Melbourne departments, faculties and affiliate organisations. The project has been underway for 3 years and has saved an estimated $200K on landfill charges and $3.5M savings on retail replacement.
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University of the Sunshine Coast
Refill not Landfill – Leading the way with a water refill campus!

USC is a Water Refill Campus that provides bottle refill stations, fountains and water refill vending machines that dispense chilled and filtered water in place of selling bottled water. This initiative aligns with the University’s goal to reduce waste and foster an environmentally responsible campus. In one year USC has saved 29,711 single use plastic water bottles from being sold on campus which equates to 767 kg of carbon emissions.

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Learning, Teaching & Skills

Deakin University
Head, hearts and hands – intertwine and inspire!
Creating Sustainable Futures commenced as an interdisciplinary unit on climate change, it has evolved into a process for, as well as product of, Education for Sustainability (EfS) which over 1000 students have experienced. It is included in all Deakin University undergraduate sustainability majors. It has facilitated and contributed to: establishment of a student society; short courses for health practitioners; sustainability events for local communities; sustainability workshops for secondary school students and; reinvigorated a Centre for Sustainability Research.
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Deakin University
Thirty years of education in environmental sustainability
The Bachelor of Environmental Science (Environmental Management and Sustainability) at Deakin University recently celebrated 30 years of education in environmental sustainability. Our students experience a truly transdisciplinary education and our graduates work across diverse sectors. The fundamental principles of our course, which have been in place for the last three decades, now extend to other university courses, diverse workplaces, and communities both nationally and globally.
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Griffith University
Transforming Economics for the 21st century
Economics is discipline that is often accused of ignoring broader societal concerns and of promoting unsustainable business practices. This project transformed the economics course within Griffith University’s MBA Program to ensure that the course aligns with the Program’s values of responsible leadership and sustainable business practice.
This transformation expands students’ exposure to competing ideas and philosophies, allowing students to challenge current (unsustainable) economic orthodoxies and pursue a more sustainable path.
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Sustainability Consortium for Learning Standards
Building national consensus for essential learning in tertiary sustainability education
The key output form this project is a set of inspiring yet workable standards for tertiary sustainability education that articulate what constitutes essential learning for sustainability in tertiary education. The process of crafting the standards was highly collaborative and participatory, leading to a consensus amongst stakeholders in sustainability education about what knowledge, understanding and skills are essential for graduates from tertiary programs in sustainability. The consortium is lead by The University of Newcastle and includes The Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, Australian National University, Flinders University, Macquarie University and the University of New South Wales.

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Student Engagement

James Cook University
The JCU Green Bike Fleet – new love for unwanted bikes
CU’s innovative Green Bike Fleet program gives new love to abandoned or unwanted bikes. The program has restored over 260 bikes, which are then sold to students. The program was designed around the four pillars of sustainability and the cost-neutral business model, allows the project to continue indefinitely. The popularity of the program has been outstanding, with initial targets exceeded by 260% and supply of bikes unable to keep up with demand.
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Monash University
‘Take One Step’ with Green Steps: Igniting a wave of action on sustainability through an online challenge
‘Take One Step’ by Green Steps is an online challenge that empowers students to take action when it comes to their personal sustainability. Students pledge one step they will take to being more sustainable and add in progress and self-reflection of the change they have made. In total, 213 actions were taken by students and 75% of participants said they now have a greater knowledge of sustainability as a result of their step.
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RMIT University
Greening RMIT
Greening RMIT is a student-run project dedicated to promoting sustainable food and gardening on campus. Through hands-on education and community building events, we hope to inspire people to reconnect with food and the natural environment. Centre to the project is the RMIT student community garden, created on a 10th floor balcony in the Melbourne CBD, where students learn how to grow food in a ‘living laboratory’.
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The University of Adelaide
A Fair Effort
The Fair Trade Collective are a passionate Club of University of Adelaide students who work tirelessly to raise awareness of fair trade, motivate others and bring about positive change. Engaging with thousands of staff, students and strangers via market stalls, forums and festivals, the Collective are spearheading the Fair Trade movement on campus, increasing the sale of fairtrade products and drawing attention to important ethical, environmental and human rights issues.
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The University of Melbourne
C15Hack – Australia’s biggest green innovation hackathon
C15Hack was Australia’s biggest green innovation hackathon. 41 students worked in small teams to tackle 7 different challenges from across the campus and Melbourne city-wide. They had 24 hours and a designed process, with tons of great prizes, challenges and activities along the way. The winning team, Wildversity, has gone on to gain seed funding through the University’s Green Innovation Fund for their campus biodiversity app.

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Leadership

Professor Grant Guilford – Vice Chancellor
Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Grant Guilford is the current Vice Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington. Since taking the role in February 2014 he has already made a significant impact in the area of sustainability. He has established a new role of Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability), integrated sustainability into the strategic plan, driven the decision to divest from fossil fuels and led sector wide lobbying of central government on climate change targets. Through his decisions and actions Professor Guilford has raised the profile of sustainability at Victoria, created a mandate for staff and students to get involved and motivated wider action.
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Professor Andrew Vann – Vice-Chancellor
Charles Sturt University
Professor Andrew Vann, Vice-Chancellor and President of Charles Sturt University (CSU) since 2011, has had a significant and positive impact in establishing an ethos of CSU leading by example in the sustainability space. This leadership has allowed sustainability improvement efforts to move from the limited realms of facilities and operations to a pervasive University approach. Specific examples include: the elevation of sustainability to the University Strategy level giving it organisational-wide focus, supporting the adoption and personally participating in the implementation of the Learning in Future Environments Index at CSU, maintaining an organisational commitment to progressing carbon neutrality in the face of a challenging external environment, and the introduction of social and environmental screens to the University’s investment portfolio.
Professor Vann actively leads by example. These personal commitments range from the negotiating carbon offsets associated with his work-related activities to be included as part of his remuneration package, through to active participation in campus ride to work days and personal advocacy for initiatives such as CSU’s reusable coffee cups and best-practice office recycling system. Professor Vann’s personal interest and endorsement of sustainability has resulted in CSU’s objectives in this space taken seriously and has empowered staff to make positive contributions in their own way.
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Professor Tom Kvan – Pro Vice-Chancellor (Campus and Global Development)
The University of Melbourne
Professor Tom Kvan is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Campus and Global Development) at the University of Melbourne. A Professor of Architecture and former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning (ABP), Tom Kvan is internationally recognised for his work in the management of design practice and development of digital applications in design.
During his academic career he has worked at the Universities of Melbourne, Hong Kong and Sydney and is an active researcher and author in design, digital environments and design management. His engagement in the design of campuses for educational and industrial purposes spans forms and technologies, including research into the intersection of Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces. He is currently founding Director of LEaRN, the Learning Environments Applied Research Network, and was founding Director of AURIN, the Australian Urban Research Information Network, hosted at the University of Melbourne that is developing a national digital infrastructure to support urban research. Author of over 140 publications, Professor Kvan’s latest co-authored book, The Making of Hong Kong (Routledge), explores the volumetric city as a sustainable urban form.

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ACTS Award of Excellence – Staff

Dr Colin Hocking
La Trobe University
Colin has collaboratively led the curriculum development processes at La Trobe to help embed sustainability across all undergraduate courses – an Australian first. To date, this has included working with academic staff in large scale subjects across disciplines such as business, arts, health, education, science and numerous other areas, to incorporate sustainability that is robustly expressed and assessed, in line with the University-wide definition of sustainability. Colin has used his position and experience to broaden discussion and exchange of ideas and resources to assist education for sustainability (EfS) practitioners, across Australia and beyond. This includes establishing the outward looking La Trobe website for documenting La Trobe’s processes, tools, examples and resources for sustainability education. It also led to establishment the first Australia-wide network of tertiary EfS practitioners, winning funds to help put this network on a solid footing, now transformed into the SUSTAINed Network. This now has over 100 active participants, discipline and interdisciplinary interest hubs, and has run three blended on-line and face to face national symposia over 18 months. Colin has presented his work at National and International conferences, and in 2014 won (as lead author) the best paper and presentation at the World Symposium on Sustainable Development in Higher Education.
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Eva Fox
TAFE NSW – Hunter Institute
Eva Fox is an energetic environmental educator! Eva has worked with Hunter TAFE for the past five years as a part time casual teacher in our Children’s Services section at Ourimbah. Eva has over 30 years’ experience in diverse environmental education roles prior to coming to TAFE and  is always a champion for promoting Environmental Sustainability practice with our staff, learners, children and families attending play sessions as well as in the wider Central Coast Community.
Eva teaches Sustainability units for our Certificate III and Diploma Early Childhood Education and care learners and also coordinates our play sessions. She is extremely passionate about Environmental education and has the ability to engage our learners with her very simple, practical applications for environmental sustainable initiatives in early childhood education. Her focus on ‘greening’ our classrooms and play sessions is unwavering and infectious.
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Judith Alcorn
The University of Melbourne
Judith Alcorn’s role is Waste and Recycling Coordinator at the University of Melbourne. She is tasked with transforming the physical and cultural systems of the University’s waste and recycling system to produce a better recycling rate and other outcomes such as more knowledgeable staff and students. Her personal and professional attributes of curiosity, networking ability and multi-disciplinary knowledge, combined with her life and work experience in a broad range of sectors, have enabled her to engage with multiple external and internal stakeholders to carry out research on the ways the waste and recycling system worked and then implement improvements to raise the recycling rate from 16% to 41% within 4 years. Last year she received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Creating Connections and Contribution to Engagement.
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Matt Stewart
The University of Melbourne
Matt has contributed much in his time at the University of Melbourne. His commitment to sustainability combined with an unrelenting desire to solve complex problems in a creative manner has seen him be involved in a range of exciting initiatives – many of which he has co-created and managed.
With ambitious goals a hallmark of his approach, including cleaning Melbourne’s Yarra River through the sharing of a swimmable Yarra vision, solving the world’s most complex environmental problems with a humanity centric approach through the C15Hack design sprint, and cementing the University of Melbourne as a hub for green innovation through the Green Innovation Fund, Matt doesn’t do things by halves.
His impact has already been significant but will continue to grow beyond his studies, as an emerging leader in sustainability, a relentless creator and a true environmental advocate.
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Dr Melissa Edwards
University of Technology, Sydney
Melissa Edwards is an early-career academic in the UTS Business School who has been central in helping to embed sustainability into the business faculty. She is a voluntary member of the school’s sustainability working party and currently chairs this interdisciplinary group. Over the past five years she has helped embed sustainability into the curriculum as part of the team who developed an inter-disciplinary subject that introduces all first year students to sustainability concepts.
In the learning and teaching research arena she has collaborated to develop and publish work in two streams of research on inter- and trans-disciplinary sustainability education and business cases for sustainability management education. Another line of research examines innovative sustainable business models and she has developed teaching cases and an academic paper on managing such businesses in the circular economy.
She is a chief investigator on the federal government’s Office of Learning and Teaching initiative to develop and manage the sustainability online portal, a resource for sustainability education practitioners.

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ACTS Award of Excellence – Student

Anna Jane Linke
University of Technology, Sydney
Anna Jane, or AJ as she is more commonly known around campus is an undergraduate who makes things happen. As convener of the UTS Students’ Association Enviro Collective she has been instrumental in growing the Collective and organising student activities on a range of sustainability issues. She is a leader in the national divestment campaign and helped establish the Fossil Free UTS initiative. In this capacity, she helped build the campaign at UTS through numerous actions and activities on campus, including leading student delegations to meet the Vice Chancellor and senior management. She and her team secured a commitment from the Executive to develop a Sustainable Investment Policy for UTS. AJ also volunteers with the community organisation ‘Solar Citizens’ and recently helped organise the national ‘Stand up for Solar’ campaign. She is passionate about marine ecology and with the Save our Marine Life Alliance, recently helped organise a national speaking tour with international fisheries expert Dr Daniel Pauley to highlight the threats to Australia’s network of marine parks and conservation zones.
But wait, there’s more. In the past six months AJ has volunteered with WWF to help on the campaign to defend the tax deductibility status of environmental NGOs against attacks by the Federal government.
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Benjamin McMenamin
RMIT University
Over the past 3 years, Ben has been working to engage other students on issues surrounding sustainability. In 2013, Ben started a project called Greening RMIT, dedicated to promoted sustainable food and gardening on campus. Through this project, Ben created a student community garden to educate and inspire students to grow their own food at home. In 2014, Ben’s passion of bringing people together saw the creation of a student association for his program, where he ran a number of career and networking events to give students an opportunity to meet industry professionals and network with peers. In 2015, Ben has been instumental in the initiation of a cross-institutional campaign called the Fair Food Challenge, advocating for Australian Universities to adopt more sustainable food procurement policies and provide affordable and healthy food options for students. Because of his work, Ben was awarded the Robert Ritchie Prize in July 2015 by RMIT Vice Chancellor Martin Bean. Ben continues striving to engage with students and staff, provide networking opportunities and create a vibrant culture of sustainability at RMIT.
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Jason Tran
The University of Adelaide
Jason Tran’s achievements in raising awareness of fair trade at the University of Adelaide and motivating others to action, serve as an impressive example to staff and students alike. Jason’s bio reads like someone’s making him up:

  • cheerful and dependable
  • punctual and hard-working
  • meticulous attention to detail
  • a flair for organization
  • gets the job done

As President of the Fair Trade Collective (FTC) and member of the University’s Fair Trade Steering Group, Jason has spearheaded the fair trade movement at the university for almost two years. During this time he has developed educational materials, engaged with thousands of people on fair trade and participated in more than 20 promotional events, including market stalls, documentary screenings, radio interviews and online seminars – all while completing a Psychology Honours thesis.
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Lucy Graham
James Cook University
Lucy has just completed her second year of university, during this time she has demonstrated a great passion and commitment to sustainability in the JCU Community and Cairns community. In her first semester at JCU Lucy completed the TropEco Sustainability Internship and professional college. During this time she was elected president of the JCU sustainability club, a student run club promoting sustainability. Since becoming president Lucy has volunteered endless hours to create connections between the community and encourage students to run projects on campus; successfully creating partnerships in which students volunteer and engage with a wide range of community groups.  Lucy has played a key role in encouraging students to get involved and be leaders themselves, at the same time contributing hundreds of volunteer hours to the different groups on a regular basis.
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Rory Lenihan-Ikin
Victoria University of Wellington
Rory has made a difference. He has championed, supported and delivered several sustainability initiatives – an organic food co-op, a climate change innovation think tank, organic waste collection, an energy saving campaign, community gardens and several others. In a time of competing demands and financial pressures that are absorbing student’s time, Rory has been dedicated in investing his time and energy to help support Victoria University of Wellington on its path to a sustainable future. His ability to build relationships and leverage his elected position on the Students Association has led to an unprecedented level of success (in terms of influence, change affected and projects delivered) for a student.

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