VU celebrated World Environment Day with a range of activities this week, including the launch of its new Environment Management Plan.
A morning tea at the Footscray Park campus was an opportunity for environment staff Jillian Bambach, Anne McLean and Sophie Gaballa to showcase their work on several fronts - green transport initiatives, reductions in energy use at work and at home and the encouragement of recycling.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Capital and Management Services) Jon Hickman drew prize-winners for those staff and students who completed the transport survey in April. Carlie Philp from Footscray Park campus won the staff prize and Emma Sakaguchi the student prize.
The survey results will be used to encourage staff to reduce motor vehicle use by measures including carpooling, buying discounted yearly Metcard tickets, and to hop on their bikes with the provision of new bicycle infrastructure at the Footscray campuses.
Jon also foreshadowed the establishment of a staff environment committee to assist the university with the implementation of its Environment Management Plan, the latest version of which was approved in April.
Highlights of the plan include:
- A 10 per cent increase in recycling rates by 2012 with initiatives including composting of green waste, and greater re-use and recycling of surplus furniture, equipment and demolition materials.
- Progressive elimination of water wastage. Full-flush toilets will continue to be replaced with dual-flush systems and recycled and harvested water will be used at the Footscray Park Aquatic Centre.
- A further 15 per cent reduction in electricity and gas consumption by 2012. Evening classes will be timetabled in central hubs to reduce power requirements and energy-efficient building management systems will be progressively installed at all campuses.
- Strategies will be implemented to increase the use of public transport, bicycles and walking for travel to and from work and work-related travel between campuses.
- A plan to extend the reach of study units on the principles and practices of sustainability.
- A green purchasing program for all university spending to be introduced next year.