A true-blue green university

Victoria’s status as a champion of the environment has been enhanced with the appointment of an internationally respected ecological economist.

Associate Professor Marjan van den Belt is joining the University in June as the new Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability), the second person to hold the role. Emeritus Professor Charles Daugherty became the country’s first Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) at Victoria in 2014.

Marjan, who hails from the Netherlands, is a globally renowned scholar and adviser on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Most recently, Marjan was the director and principal ecological economist of Ecological Economics Research New Zealand.

Over the course of her twenty-five-year career she has consulted on many international projects and moved to New Zealand seven years ago to become part of innovative sustainability initiatives taking place here.

Meanwhile, Victoria has been acknowledged as a leader of the tertiary sector in both New Zealand and Australia when it comes to carbon reduction efforts, winning two prestigious Green Gown Awards at a ceremony in Geelong, Australia last year.

One award acknowledged Victoria’s success in reducing CO2 from buildings and transportation on campus during a period of significant growth for the University.

The other award was to Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford, who won the leadership category for his ongoing work in a range of areas, including integrating sustainability into the University’s strategic plan, facilitating moves to divest from fossil fuel investments, encouraging government to set more ambitious climate change targets and establishing the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) role.

Victoria was also a finalist in the student excellence category: Victoria University Students’ Association wellbeing and sustainability officer Rory Lenihan-Ikin was nominated for his work championing campus initiatives such as an organic food cooperative, organic waste collection, a community garden and an energy-saving competition.