Arts students support sustainability

Victoria University students studying the Bachelor of Arts have developed a ten week program to help students make VU more environmentally friendly.

Working with the environment team in the Facilities department, they aim to raise greater awareness of environmental issues on campus and amend old behaviours to make our place of study and learning greener.

Each week students will be encouraged to commit to a different green initiative that will help the preservation of our environment. The 10 weeks of Green project began on August 1 and will finish the week of October 10.

For more information contact the students via Facebook. 

Week 1: RRR "" Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

In the first week, the students identified commonly used products that are not environmentally friendly at VU and promoted products on the market that can be reused such as 'KeepCups'. During the manufacturing process, coffee cups are laminated with a plastic resin called polyethylene which helps keep beverages warm and prevents the paper from absorbing liquids and leaking. This plastic also prevents the cup from being recycled. Using a KeepCup helps reduce the number of disposable coffee cups that end up in landfill.

Week 2: Drive less - drive smart 

Students raised awareness on how to lower the amount of toxic emissions that cars release by providing tips on how ensure your car is running as efficiently as possible and promoting public transport and car pooling options.

Week 3: Switch off 

Turning off appliances from the off switch on the wall after use is a rare practice. This week focused on changing the behaviour of our VU community to make it the norm to turn off all computers and other appliances like photocopiers, printers and coffee machines from the power source.

Week 4: Light smart

Staff and students were encouraged to replace regular light bulbs with compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs). Replacing one 60 watt bulb with a CFL will save $30 over the life of the bulb as well as use two thirds less energy and give off 70% less heat. The added bonus is they last 10 times longer than a regular light bulb.

Week 5: Join a friend

This week focuses on taking opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment, as well as talking to friends and colleagues about sustainability to further the message.

Week 6: Energy audits

Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, they also offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

Simple actions such as turning down the heat while sleeping at night or away during the day, and keeping temperatures moderate at all times are an easy way to reduce energy usage.

Week 7: Use less hot water

Even though it may be tempting to stay in a hot shower during the cold winter months, it is important to remember to be conscious of your decisions regarding water use. 

Week 8: Clean up VU

This week promotes cleaning up after yourself, something that is very simple and reduces the amount of rubbish around campus. Litter can cause a whole range of problems for everyone in the community. Rubbish discarded in streets and parks can travel through the storm water system to our bays and oceans, where it can cause harm to wildlife. 

Week 9: Give life - plant a tree

On Tuesday 20 September, students will be planting trees at the St Albans campus outside of building 1. All staff and students are welcome to join. With morning tea provided, the students will spend at least 2 hours planting native trees and seeds that will provide the campus with much needed greenery in the years to come. 

Week 10: Ideas meet

In the final week, the students will focus on keeping the VU community involved and active through the website, blog and Facebook. You are encouraged to join them and offer your ideas about future activities.

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