The Green Gown Awards recognise sustainability best practice across the Australasian tertiary education sector and are highly competitive. The awards were held in Adelaide last night.
The University’s winning projects were Sustainability Week, which took out the ‘student engagement’ category, and the Victoria Plus programme, winner in the ‘benefiting society’ category.
“Victoria University of Wellington is a leader in sustainability in the university sector in Australasia and it is wonderful to have this recognition,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford. “It’s particularly pleasing that both winning projects showcase the commitment of our students to sustainability.”
Both projects are now eligible for the International Green Gown Awards.
Sustainability Week 2018 was a student-led event held in May 2018, with support from the University’s Sustainability Office and other parts of the University. More than 1000 students and staff attended events or took part in associated activities.
“The skills and motivation of students to engage their peers is what really drives the success of the week,” says Director Sustainability, Andrew Wilks. “We hope the success will inspire students and staff at other universities to lead similar events encouraging community-wide engagement with sustainability issues.”
The Victoria Plus programme was the first of its kind in New Zealand and generates student volunteering and civic engagement opportunities. Students volunteering on campus and in the wider Wellington community contribute between 100 and 300 hours of their time respectively for the Victoria Plus Certificate and Award.
Thousands of students have participated in the programme over the last eleven years, says Jane Fletcher, Manager Careers and Employment.
“The Victoria Plus programme is an opportunity for students to step outside their comfort zone, affect change and connect to their community,” she says. “It is a great way for students to put their skills and knowledge into volunteer work, and the University is always interested in hearing from community organisations who may have opportunities for students.”