The 2017 Sustainability Awards kicked off yesterday, providing us with a chance to share the achievements of our campus sustainability heroes! Thank you to those who came along and celebrated excellence in sustainability amongst our university community. These awards recognise student and staff efforts to improve the world around us, and make UC more sustainable. It is a truly special occasion when we can all gather together in one place and share our stories, and have a chance to celebrate the incredible work that is being done on campus, and beyond.
Holding these awards are incredibly important because not only does it recognise people for work that often otherwise goes unnoticed, but it also raises the profile of sustainability activities in our community and demonstrates just how much of this great work is happening here. This can be through research projects, community initiatives, departmental resource efficiency leadership, or anything else that demonstrates a willingness and ability to make our place just that bit greener… and for that, we thank you!
A massive congratulations to all those nominated in this years Sustainability Awards – you should all be truly proud of the work you have achieved, and the changes that you have made. We are lucky to have you!
So, lets kick off with a brief run down of this years winners – and the prizes from our awesome sponsors!
SILVER – STAFF (General)
Mark Homewood, RRSIC Stormwater Treatment
Academic staff from the Sciences and Engineering departments had a lot of input into the design work for the new RRSIC building, and one of the stand our results from this process is ideas around how stormwater is treated before being discharged into the Okeover / Waiutuutu stream. Projects of this scale are always hugely collaborative, and Mark wins this Silver Staff award as Project Manager for his work in this project.
This piece of work, which creates a new learning environment for students and staff, builds upon the notion of campus as a Stormwater Research Park and 20 years of stream rehabilitation on campus. Mark and his team have not only created learning opportunities on campus, but also have become an example of best practice construction regarding urban waterways for the wider Christchurch rebuild.
SILVER – STUDENT
Jackson White, The Solar Project
The idea of getting solar panels on campus buildings seemed like a far off dream, and it was unanticipated that this challenge would be answered by a student… But, that is exactly what happened! Jackson made it his business as sustainability champion on the UC exec to get solar panels on a building here on campus, and achieved this within only a couple of months – an extraordinary achievement. The judges were hugely impressed with this outcome (as we all were), which has now meant an early learning centre is completely solar powered… an incredible achievement not to be taken lightly. Jackson’s dedication to this project, and the impact that his work has had both within and outside of the the university community, deserves to be recognised as something special.
GOLD – STAFF (Academic)
The CAREX Team, CAREX
The judging panel was stunned by the nomination for the CAREX project led by Professor Angus McIntosh and Jon Harding. It was noted that this work is of national importance and is complex, current, and critical. The Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment is focussed on improving freshwater sustainability through development and evaluation of restoration solutions for agricultural streams, which as we all know, is surely a massively current issue for Canterbury and NZ at large.
CAREX works with over 20 landowners and farm managers and more than 60 other stakeholders from local government, to NGOs to industry, and their plan is to continue their project and extend their learnings to catchments across the North and South Islands in efforts to address the stressors responsible for declines in freshwater. An incredible initiative that is truly deserving of this award to recognise the hard work, and all that they have achieved.
GOLD – STAFF (General)
Rob Oudshoorn and Engineering Services, Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reduction Initiatives
The Gold Award for General Staff this year went to Rob Oudshoorn and his team in Engineering Services for their work in quietly retrofitting the campus with literally hundreds of interventions that have collectively begun to drive down our carbon profile. Many of these interventions have been around a range of energy efficiency measures which are already in place, as well as the construction which is currently underway for the new Wellness Precinct, which will be low carbon, heated via a ground source heat pump, and a very significant step in shifting away from non renewables. This award goes to Rob and his team for their commitment to the vision of a low carbon future for the University – huge congratulations to you.
GOLD – STUDENT
Shell Eco Marathon Team
This group of students, with the help of Bruce Robertson, took on a massive challenge to put in an entry into the Shell Eco Marathon Design Challenge, which was held in Singapore in March.
As the nominator for this entry explained: “Typically teams focus only on the amount of fuel the vehicles uses, but this team took a wider perspective and explored options for whole product life cycle energy use. The result of this was the design and build of a small car that is the first in the world to be made entirely from recyclable thermoformed plastic sheets. Selection of this material supports reduction in energy consumption at three stages, those being the initial manufacture, service life, and end of life.” The judges were very impressed by the huge challenge of pulling the project together in a short space of time, and also by the outcome: a working model that could improve sustainability outcomes for transport internationally. An innovative and inspiring entry into this years Awards Ceremony, and very deserving of the Gold Student Award for 2017.
FAIR TRADE DIAMOND
Selva Ganapathy and Joyce Chen, The Fog Water Harvesting Project
This year’s Fair Trade Diamond Award goes to Selva and Joyce for their extraordinary vision and commitment in solving an urgent problem in many impoverished communities throughout the developing world: access to clean drinking water. They have undertaken social and environmental development work, with a low environmental impact.
Inspired by the Warka Water Tower project, Selva began to explore the possibilities of fog harvesting in Tamilnadu, India. Stories about the farmers’ suicide in the drought-hit regions were the motive behind beginning to research about water conservation and water-related work.
The project is still in the implementation stage in India. They will be presenting their idea at Schneider Electrical’s Go Green in the City 2017 competition global finals in Paris next month.
The judges found this an incredible proposition, and felt it fitting that this year’s Fair Trade Diamond award be given to Selva and Joyce as their work will directly benefit communities in the developing world, and potentially those least able to deal with the coming effects of catastrophic climate change.
And finally… the SUPREME AWARD goes to:
Glynne Mackey, Sustainability and Social Justice
Glynne Mackey is a lecturer in teacher education, and from 2004 to present day, has been developing courses for early childhood (EC) and primary teachers on sustainability, social justice and ecojustice. From 2004 all EC students have had a compulsory Year 3 course in sustainability and now this is open to primary students. In the sustainability course, students are challenged in their personal attitudes around sustainability and environmental behaviour as well as what this means for the professional teacher.
Students are encouraged to be sustainability leaders in their school or centre and ensure children have opportunities to realise their own competence and agency in making a difference for a better future. The course has evolved, beginning as more of a focus on environmental education in 2004, and as worldwide understandings towards environmental issues have changed, it has become more integrated with understandings of social justice and eco justice.
The judges were acutely aware of the drive, determination and dedication Glynne has demonstrated for well over a decade in this area, which has shaped the face of education for sustainability in Aotearoa. The impact this has had on sustainability literacy amongst our children and young adults is hard to quantify, but undoubtedly huge. With this, the judges agreed that she is worthy of this award, and so much more.
This was a simply fantastic event celebrating the work that is being done both within our University community, and outside of it. At the sustainability office, we are already looking forward to 2018! A huge congratulations to this years winners and nominees from everyone at the Sustainability Office.
Of course, we couldn’t have done this without our awesome and generous sponsors… our sustainability heroes this year went home with their hands full of some epic prizes!
So, a massive shout out to this years 2017 Sustainability Awards sponsors –
The Lotus Heart
Arahura Greenstone Tours
New Zealand Kiwi Centre
Cassel and Son Brewery
Hokitika Regent Theatre
The Urban Monk
Hokitika Holiday Park
Little High Eatery
And all the fantastic nominees, and those that nominated our deserving sustainability heroes – we thank you!
See you all next year, for another celebration of all things sustainable here at UC.