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 is delighted to announce the finalist candidates for the 2017 Green Gown Awards Australasia and the ACTS Awards of Excellence. We wish them all the very best of luck!

You can join us in celebrating the achievements of our finalists at the Green Gown Awards Australasia gala dinner and award ceremony on Thursday 2 November 2017. Hosted at RMIT University’s iconic Storey Hall in heart of Melbourne, you’ll not want to miss this ‘green tie’ evening. Get your tickets now!

Keep an eye out as we share more about our finalist’s initiatives in the lead up to the awards ceremony.

Got a question about the awards? Contact the team at ggaa@acts.asn.au

Categories

Individual Awards

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Built Environment *Sponsored by Envizi*

University of Tasmania
Nurturing the Future – University of Tasmania, Inveresk Student Apartments

The University of Tasmania’s Inveresk Apartments project is an innovative, environmentally, economically and socially sustainable student accommodation facility. An integrated Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) approach was central to the design and the project brings a holistic view to its sustainability credentials. This holistic approach included a location that provides the optimum in residential amenity, a design that is sympathetic to the surrounding heritage precinct, a construction methodology that minimised site impacts and maximised sustainable approaches and a completed project that evidences its sustainability merits with a high Green Star rating. The project is sustainable in every sense.

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Victoria University of Wellington
Optimize this!

Victoria University’s innovative 12-month project to fine-tune energy systems in a recently completed building project has created a more user-friendly and highly energy efficient space providing energy, carbon and financial savings. A project team, which included graduates from the University’s Building Science programme, reduced energy consumption by 26% in ‘The Hub’ – a building that provides informal learning and socialising space in the centre of the main Kelburn campus. The entire cost of the project has also been returned in savings made through increased energy efficiency, and the process of fine tuning has been adopted across the University.

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Creating Impact

Federation University of Australia
FedUni’s Greener Buildings

In the past 3 years, FedUni has allocated $2.9 million of its own funds to introduce Greener Buildings, a program aimed at reducing GHG emissions and operating costs. The program focuses on energy efficiency, staff travel and landfill waste. This ongoing program has been a huge success with GHG emissions reduced by 21% (or 4,842 tonnes) and financial savings of $550K per year. In addition to the GHG emissions reduction the University also achieved the following savings in 3 years:

  • reduction in electricity consumption by 17% (2.1 million kwh)
  • recycled waste increased by 28%
  • pool vehicle fuel consumption reduced by 19% (41,800 litres)
  • Victorian public transport spend increased by 96%
  • paper consumption reduced by 36%, a saving of 7,255 reams

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The University of Adelaide
Ecoversity Award – Inspiring students to extend knowledge and develop professional networks

The Ecoversity Award is a scholarship program that provides funding for undergraduates to attend sustainability related conferences and events in Australia and abroad. Up to $2,000 is provided to successful students for extra curricular experiences that will extend their knowledge and help develop professional networks. After three competitive funding rounds, the Ecoversity Award has proven to be a successful way to inspire students to further study in sustainability areas, confirm career aspirations, and build individual capacity. Students have described their experiences as “confidence-boosting”, “inspiring” and “empowering”.

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University of the Sunshine Coast
USC Recycled Water – Creating Conservation Impacts

USC is the first University in Australia to supplement ‘make up’ water for its swimming pool with recycled onsite lake storage water. The treated lake water meets the Australian Standard for Potable Water Classification proving it to be an innovative solution to water conservation issues. The treated lake water is also used in the cooling towers as part of the campus air-conditioning system which is linked to a real-time monitoring/control system. These initiatives save $35,000 per year in mains water costs and supply in excess of 20,000 litres of recycled water per day; which is approximately 13% of the total daily water usage.

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UNSW Sydney
Trifecta success for innovative battery recycling project

 UNSW Sustainability battery recycling program is an innovative and extremely successful community based recycling solution which diverts approximately one tonne of potentially toxic waste batteries away from landfill every year. As a significant portion of these batteries are directed into on-campus battery recycling research; this program is contributing not only to better waste management but to advances in battery recycling, with significant benefits well beyond the University. This project highlights the important role UNSW Sydney plays in building a sustainable community and validates our commitment to a global impact through world leading research, thought leadership and exemplary education.

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Community

James Cook University
Development Practice Program: Sentinel Landscapes to Achieve the SDGs With Our Tropical Neighbours

Students and researchers in JCU’s Development Practice Program work in landscapes and seascapes that are in transition – where the pressures of development could bring benefits to local people but could also lead to environmental destruction and the capture of economic benefits by outside corporations. We apply science to mediate these transitions and achieve better outcomes for people and nature. Our program creates opportunities for shared learning and for long term, deep engagement. We build multi-stakeholder partnership platforms that apply integrative techniques to help people achieve sustainable development and vibrant and biodiverse rural landscapes.

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La Trobe University
Living Landscapes – Where Science and Art Meet

Through Living Landscapes, La Trobe University created a unique opportunity to connect the community to nature, and the science behind creating a world class Wildlife Sanctuary. The Living landscapes virtual-reality installation allows users the opportunity to design and plant their own plant in a virtual Sanctuary landscape. For every plant drawn an indigenous plant was planted at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary. The La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary utilises the equipment in their Education experiences, engaging primary, secondary and tertiary students in a new approach to learning about the importance of habitat for the conservation of indigenous plants and animals.

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The University of Adelaide
Carbon Neutral Adelaide – A partnership for our future

Carbon Neutral Adelaide is an initiative of the State Government and Adelaide City Council to make Adelaide the world’s first carbon neutral city. The University of Adelaide became the first founding partner in 2016, and remains the largest institution to support the initiative. The partnership is a commitment to work together to create a sustainable future for South Australia, where innovation is encouraged and low-carbon solutions are showcased. Through teaching, research and operations, the University is working to make this vision a reality with resources and support for entrepreneurs, collaborative working groups and $14.4M of investment in campus sustainability improvements.

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The University of Melbourne
I.T. Equity

I.T. Equity is focused on leveling the playing field to ensure students, schools and smaller educational institutions are not at a disadvantage due to economic reasons. Whilst directly facilitating improved educational outcomes, it also extends the life of IT equipment and frees valuable funding for students and educational institutions to be spent elsewhere.

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University of Tasmania
Education for Sustainability Tasmania: a UN-recognised Regional Centre of Expertise – a new kid on the block

Recognition of EfS Tasmania: a United Nations-recognised Regional Centre of Expertise in 2015 resulted from University of Tasmania leadership within our community to recognise sustainability leaders and establish a state-wide network of Tasmanian sustainability partners delivering initiatives across education and research, community, business and government. The ongoing activities associated with EfS Tasmania helps deliver on the University commitment as a Talloires Declaration signatory to incorporate sustainability literacy into teaching and learning as well as our broad-based community engagement and partnership activities in sustainability. Details of our activities can be found at www.efstasmania.edu.au

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Continuous Improvement

Griffith University
Griffith’s sustainability approach – planned, focused, celebrated

Griffith University’s sustainability approach is planned, focused and celebrated. Our Sustainability Plan incorporates economic, environmental and corporate social responsibility in executive management, human resources, teaching, research, community engagement and operational practices. All areas are striving toward sustainability KPIs and outcomes. We have a renewed focus on environmental performance and are celebrating and engaging staff, students and the wider community in our sustainability agenda.
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La Trobe University
Bringing back Biodiversity: a 50 year regeneration project

La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary is the Outdoor Laboratory of La Trobe University. It is a 50 year bushland regeneration project consisting of 30 ha of biodiverse indigenous flora and fauna. It is protected by a Trust for Nature Covenant and is an important node in the wildlife corridors of the Region. The Sanctuary offers a diverse range of experiences to La Trobe’s students, staff, and the surrounding community. Learning about indigenous wildlife (flora and fauna) and being able to apply the knowledge to different contexts is a primary objective of the Sanctuary.
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University of Southern Queensland
Embedding sustainability at USQ

Since 2009, USQ has adopted a holistic, enterprise wide approach to sustainability. From integrating sustainability into strategic planning (goals and KPIs), policy and procedures (PDs and Procurement), to significant renewable energy, waste and water solutions. Outcomes include: 32% reduction in waste; 25% increase in recycling & resource recovery; 4000+ signatories Sustainability Pledge; 2016 awarded 6 Star Green Star Rating – Springfield Building B; initiated 2MW Sustainable Energy Solution (stage 1 Australia’s largest integrated solar carpark) reducing CO2-e by 20%; energy efficiency lighting upgrades savings of 195,228kWh/yr; 84% reduction in bore water; 15% decrease vehicle emissions, 2014 launched intercampus shuttle.

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Facilities & Services

Deakin University
Closing the loop – A solution to organic waste

In a truly great example of closing the loop Deakin University undertook a food waste processing trial that not only reduced food waste to landfill but returned the goodness back to the earth in a beautiful kitchen garden. With 19 food venues across four campuses, Deakin is committed to finding ways to reduce the impact of food waste on campus. The trial revealed:

  • up to 12 tonnes of food waste can be diverted from landfill each year from this one venue
  • greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced
  • cost savings can be achieved in waste removal
  • there is an increased focus on other aspects of waste disposal and recycling as a result.

Macquarie University
New Life for Mars

Macquarie University’s Mars Creek has undergone a step change in health and ecological values following 4 years of rehabilitation and new storm water infrastructure in its upper reaches. The first 200 metres of creek were re-shaped from an eroding gully into a sinuous pattern of pools and riffles, using natural and biodegradable materials. The creek banks and floodplains are now softened by native sedges, ferns, trees and grasses. A re-vegetated buffer zone fringes the rehabilitated aquatic environment. Our integrated treatment train mediates the effects of urban storm water, taming flow peaks, and protecting key visual assets of the campus downstream.

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RMIT University
Two Wheel Takeover – Creating the Bike Hub at RMIT

The ‘Bike Hub’ project at RMIT transformed a dark basement car park into a state of the art cycling facility. It offers parking for 400 bikes, change facilities, showers, lockers, drying cupboards, ironing boards and hair dryers. Electric bike charging, repair stations and a bike vending machine stocked with cycling essentials complete the space. The Bike Hub not only encourages students and staff to ride to the campus, but has created a blueprint for inclusive and engaging cycling provisions in Melbourne and beyond.
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The University of Adelaide
Smart Minds = Smart Buildings – A ‘neural network’ approach for energy efficient buildings

Researchers and students from the School of Mechanical Engineering are taking their ‘neural network’ BMS theory to the campus with impressive results. The innovative approach to building optimization adapts to the uncertainties of weather changes, and plans for thermal interactions between HVAC zones of a building, thus maintaining thermal comfort, improving energy efficiency and reducing electricity costs. The application of this research has resulted in a sound business case for the technology and students have been able to test new knowledge in a real-world setting. The success of this project has resulted in the expansion to other buildings on campus.

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Learning, Teaching & Skills

Griffith University
Doing well and doing good – a new way to teach strategic management in the MBA

Traditionally, strategic management courses focus first and foremost on how to ‘do well’, while sidelining how to ‘do good’. However, with Griffith University’s MBA values of responsible leadership and sustainability underpinning the program, I believe that ‘doing well’ and ‘doing good’ must be aligned in all aspects of business strategy, from planning through to implementation. I have therefore recently redesigned the Griffith MBA capstone Strategy course (across all online and face-to- face offerings) to centre all core modules on innovative, responsible and sustainable strategic management practice with the goal of producing next generation thought leaders.

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James Cook University
Linking curriculum with the SDGs – a One Health approach to learning and teaching

JCU’s College of Public Health, Medicine & Veterinary Sciences is demonstrating leadership and innovation through its unique approach to learning and teaching by recognising the critical link between human, animal and ecosystem health and the sustainability of our planet – termed a One Health approach. The College has adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals to guide the direction of learning and teaching. The College has created an innovative academic program to ensure its graduates are best placed to tackle emerging global health issues based on the grand challenges facing the tropics and using system thinking, rather than the traditional siloed approach.

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RMIT University
Vietnam – United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Study Tour

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Study Tour (Vietnam) is an immersive educational program that provides students with first-hand knowledge of the SDGs in an emerging economy context. During the program, students experience the diversity of Vietnam, from rural home-stays to cutting-edge innovation spaces; from social enterprises to the United Nations Development Program. Students also undertake a multi-disciplinary project to improve sustainability outcomes for both Vietnam and Australia: from waste management to urban gardens, and bike-share systems to environmental education outreach programs. Since launching in mid-2016, over 60 students have joined this unique experiential learning journey and transformative experience.

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University of Tasmania
Digitran App – Swiping our way to sustainability data collection

Sustainability outcomes are often best achieved through effective data collection and analysis. This is particularly true for sustainable transport and integration of a sustainability focus in teaching and learning activities. Bringing this together through a curricular project, a University of Tasmania ICT student team developed a unique mobile data collection platform to fulfil a vital need for sustainable transport data collection. The student-developed software bridges the gap between the desired simple and intuitive user experience and the need for accurate and complete data, which in turn enables the University to deliver sustainable outcomes for its staff and students.

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Student Engagement

Monash University
Take One Step: Student SDG-inspired actions as globally responsible citizens

Take One Step is an innovative digital platform designed to increase student awareness of, and inspire leadership and action on, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Playing on participants’ competitive instincts, it challenges them to make an inspired change in their life, join likeminded people and share progress through stories and pictures. Of 300 Monash Business School students who participated in a pilot, two-thirds reported increased awareness of the SDGs. The initiative not only inspired students to take leadership and action on the SDGs, it has catalysed innovation and solution pathways to sustainable development challenges, furthering cross-university collaborations in the process.

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The University of Adelaide
Adelaide Sustainability Association: Sustainability Super Group

The Adelaide Sustainability Association (ASA) provides dynamic professional development opportunities for students at the University of Adelaide. Developed by students, for students, the club with 900+ members is empowering undergraduates through programs, activities and events that increase global environmental awareness, improve skills and develop capabilities relevant to future careers in sustainability. Led by a passionate student committee and with the assistance of key staff mentors, the ASA is motivating the student body to be inspired, not overwhelmed, by the opportunities that climate change presents.

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The University of Auckland
O’Rorke Hall Green Team

The legacy of the Green Team as an O’Rorke institution is a culture of sustainability awareness. Annually, this team of volunteers leads, organises, and disseminates sustainability information. Our initiatives have been imitated for use across the entire accommodation program; in particular, the “Green Your Room Challenge” was first spearheaded at O’Rorke. Expanded to other halls in 2015, O’Rorke continues to significantly outperform comparable halls in participation. What makes this team unique is that it is student directed, fomenting a new generation of environmental leaders. We build on the legacy of student leadership that has been so successful in the past.

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The University of Melbourne
C16 Design Hack – Creating change for a sustainable future

The new look C16 Design Hack brought together students from the University of Melbourne and RMIT to tackle some of the most pressing social and environment problems we face today. Empowering 30 young change makers through a clear process of problem solving, the C16 hack taught human centred design, fostered ideas, mentored teams and built a tight-knit interdisciplinary community in just five weeks. The C16 Hack is distinctly different to the C15 Hack as it involved more than one University and the process took place over a longer period of time, which included intensive training for the students involved.

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ACTS Award of Excellence – Staff

Charlie Hargroves
The University of Adelaide

Charlie Hargroves is passionate about teaching and working with students, and has an innate ability to educate and motivate. With his infinite energy and anything-is- possible attitude, Charlie inspires positive action in others and plays a key role in encouraging students and academics alike to become leaders themselves. Not only does Charlie provide outstanding students with the opportunity to work on real-world projects with him, he also encourages students to create their own opportunities, leading to the formation in early 2016 of the Adelaide Sustainability Association (ASA), a university club with over 700 members. Charlie is contributing to a positive cultural change within the student body, where students from all faculties are excited about finding solutions to climate problems.
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Jean-Pierre Scheerlinck
The University of Melbourne

Prof Scheerlinck is an enthusiastic hobbyist beekeeper and an active member of the Victorian Apiarists Association. Outside his day job as a Professor in Animal Biotechnology, teaching biosecurity/immunology and directing an immunology research group within the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, he spearheaded the project Bees@UniMelb. The initiative aims to educate staff and students across all disciplines and to demystify the process of keeping bees demonstrating how appropriately managed beehives can co-exist with people in an urban environment. This is achieved by (i) cooperatively managing hives in prominent positions on campus involving both staff and students, (ii) public lectures and open gardens, (iii) a newsletter for staff and students, (iv) printed and internet interview publications and (v) participation in a children’s television programs.
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Nick Swan
The University of Melbourne

A bold and passionate operator, Nicks’ commitment to sustainable practices in reuse and recycling has taken Melbourne Universities’ internal reuse program and transformed it into an industry leading service. He has successfully driven fundamental change in operational practice and ideology, through both idealistic and pragmatic approaches. He continually strives to implement new and innovative practices above and beyond normal job requirements. The efficacy and engagement of his work practices and principles, permeates into both his professional and personal spheres.

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Rachael Goddard
The University of Waikato

Rachael is the Environmental & Sustainability Manager at the University of Waikato, where she has driven sustainability initiatives, student and staff engagement, outreach and successfully managed environmental and sustainability projects for 6 years. Rachael conducts research, benchmarking, and reporting, she is a guest lecturer, project manager and develops engaging initiatives and programmes around sustainability, she makes films, writes children’s books and has created the Going Green and WASTED brands and set up the successful Eco Emporium, the first of its kind in NZ. Many of these initiatives go well beyond her job description. She has presented to over 9,000 people in 15 years, and was the Kudos Science Educator Award winner 2012. She has engaged positively and successfully with thousands of staff, students and externally in industry, the community, schools and councils. Rachael has also been successful in securing $100k over 5 years in funding for sustainability initiatives and collaborations on campus. She is a great networker, driven and strategic.

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Dena Fam
University of Technology, Sydney

Dena is a fantastic example of a staff member taking the initiative to fully integrate sustainability into every facet of the University; from undertaking her research on campus and using UTS as a “living lab”, collaborating with university operational facilities management staff and industry partners in the process, she then incorporates this into projects for student course work. In the process she gives students real world practical experience and engages both staff and students in sustainability and problem solving.

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ACTS Award of Excellence – Student

Sophie Lamond
The University of Melbourne

Sophie has developed and championed a student-led co-designed vision for fair food policies in Australian universities. She has built extensive networks both within the University of Melbourne and universities across Australia creating a community of practice working on transforming campus food environments.

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Elle Ketterer
The University of Melbourne

Elle has showcased a willingness to commit to issues of sustainability in the face of tremendous push-back. In her role as President of Graduate Researchers in Psychological Sciences (GriPS), she has lit the torch and carried it forward by implementing numerous strategies to increase awareness in her department but has also demonstrated resilience in implementing sustainable practices at the policy level in her organisation. As a sustainability advocate, Elle has been the persistent force behind several changes throughout The Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences resulting in a more sustainable campus.

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Thomas Crawford
University of Tasmania

Tom is a gentleman of sustainability. Due to significant time spent in Africa travelling and teaching in a Nairobi slum, he is passionate about social and environmental justice and is considered, polite and passionate in his activism. Tom co-led the 2015 sit-in at the University of Tasmania over divestment, helping garner national attention to the issue. He has worked hard to support the University to effectively address organic waste. Tom is a past President of the UTAS Environment Collective and a key member of Source Community Wholefoods, the on-campus cooperative cafe and sustainability education centre. He has parlayed his efforts at university and Source to win a $5000 City of Hobart grant to establish a community composting hub to serve as a model for future organics waste management in southern Tasmania. He is now a paid student intern with the University of Tasmania sustainability team developing a proposal for an on-campus digester. Tom lives his values through his transport and living choices, is open to new ideas, is polite and reliable, respected by staff and admired by many students interested in sustainability.

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Rebecca Pagnucco
University of Technology, Sydney

Rebecca Pagnucco is great example of a student who walks the talk on sustainability. Her environmental research for her Masters uses recycled human hair waste as a boom to clean up oil spills, utilizing a waste product as a resource for ecological rehabilitation. In her ‘spare time’ she volunteers for a variety of social and environmental causes including helping to lead citizen science projects.

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