Seven sustainability initiatives that happen at Griffith Uni
There are heaps of sustainability initiatives happening at Griffith Uni all the time. Here are just a few of the things we do to promote and support a sustainable future:
#1 Signage & speed limits
Griffith Uni Nathan and Mount Gravatt campuses are located within the beautiful Toohey Forest. A recent initiative has been to paint ‘Wildlife’ signs on both entries at Nathan campus. As a student who drives to university, I can testify that it has been a great reminder to reduce speed and keep an eye out for any critters. The uni also introduced seasonal speed limits at both campuses during spring when it’s koala mating season. This is just one of the ways Griffith and the local community encourage conservation and sustainability.
#2 Plastic use & reuse
Griffith also has initiatives in other areas, including a commitment to sustainable food enterprises. Last year we joined the war on plastic, eliminating all plastic straws from Griffith Food outlets. As well as bringing to light the depth of coffee cup waste. One thing to be admired about such initiatives are the practicality of advocating simple changes students can apply. Griffith campuses have advocated for reusable cups and provided separate bins for coffee cup recycling. Plastic is a hard habit to break, which is why small changes – such as the use of containers made out of sugar cane scraps at Griffith Food outlets – are great. Waste is not taken lightly at Griffith; food waste is composted to be used to feed our own gardens. Just another simple way in which we can combat excess waste.
#3 Sustainable policies for things like purchasing
Sustainability initiatives at Griffith are always evolving as we seek to fill in gaps of where we can do better. Just last week Griffith presented a new policy to purchase recycled paper that sees staff given the opportunity to choose sustainability and purchase quality recycled paper.
#4 Joined the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals
One of Griffith’s goals is to develop graduates with knowledge of sustainability concepts in various areas of study. This is a major step in working towards sustainability, not only at Griffith but encouraging graduates who can think sustainably in both a local and global sense. In 2015, Griffith joined the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals committed to playing a critical role in ensuring universities achieve these goals. There are various policies upheld to ensure this including supporting sustainable development principles in research and teaching.
#5 Sustainable student organisations
Sustainability is our responsibility as a whole, which is why student organisations, like the Student Guild, are also responsible for implementing initiatives throughout the campus. Even through simple guidelines, such as encouraging the use of recyclables and biodegradables over plastics in events. In such way Griffith encourages students and staff to be committed to sustainability.
#6 New buildings are sustainable
At Griffith, a commitment towards sustainable construction of energy efficient buildings has been important to Griffith’s sustainability goals. The Sir Samuel Griffith Centre for example, is a six-star Green Star-rated building utilising hydrogen and solar power technology. This is a building that produces more energy than it consumes and has no emissions.
#7 Research into environment and ecosystems
Research and community-integrated work continues to be an essential part of sustainability targets at Griffith, which is why research centres and institutes, such as the Australian Rivers Institute and Centre for Coastal Management, are highly valued. Research at Griffith allows for a continued commitment to sustainability for our community as a whole.
Griffith is dedicated to sustainability and these are only some of the many initiatives in place here at the uni. It is incredible that Griffith Uni can encourage and be an example of sustainability, motivating us as students to take initiative as well.
By Cinthia Dos Santos