UNSW makes a big Green Impact on campus

| 18 Nov 2019

Sustainability at UNSW challenged staff and students to go green this year with some friendly competition as part of the "Green Impact" change and engagement program.

The 2019 program was popular at UNSW drawing 200 staff and students from many different parts including the Schools of Arts & Social Science, Medicine, Science and Engineering to the divisions of Estate Management, External Relations, Human Resources. 

Green Impact, run by Australian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS), is a program for universities which uses friendly competition to motivate people to be more sustainable with 14 universities across Australia and New Zealand participating this year. 

The three-month program engages staff and students who form teams to compete with one another for who can be the most sustainable by making the most "green actions" i.e. actions which are more sustainable choices such as adding a pot plant to the office; setting up a composting food waste separation system in the staff kitchen; or encouraging co-workers to switch off their computer when they finish work for the day.

The 36 teams from UNSW completed 768 green actions to be more sustainable in the way they travel, dispose of waste or save on carbon emissions. Their records were audited by students, who had had audit training, to tally up the results and finalise the scores of the competition. 

UNSW Provost Professor Anne Simmons said that the Green Impact initiative demonstrates that among students and staff, and at every level of our university, UNSW is prepared to lead on environmental sustainability.

“A place like UNSW that holds such rich knowledge of climate science and renewable energy, and which has a true commitment to having a positive impact on society, must lead by example,” she said.  


2019 Green Impact winners 

  • 1st place – “PVCE Green Impact” from the Division of the Deputy Vice-chancellor Academic 
  • 2nd place (tied) – “MCIC Green” from the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre 
  • 2nd Place (tied) – “RAMAC Greenomics” from the Faculty of Science 
  • 3rd Place – “WRL Green Team” from the Faculty of Engineering 

Special Awards 

Dr Daniel Hempel

Special Awards went to staff members Dr Daniel Hempel for outstanding innovation and Danya Luo for outstanding engagement.

Daniel (above with Prof Anne Simmons) developed a travel diary to create a way for people to estimate carbon saved through public transport use as compared with driving.

Danya coordinates the Climate Change Network on campus; a 200-strong community of UNSW students and staff who regularly meet to collaborate on effective climate change action including lobbying council and members of parliament.  

The Awards 

2019 UNSW Green Impact winners

The Bronze, Silver, Special Awards and the annual winner's awards were created by the UNSW SMaRT Centre from waste plastic, fabric and glass. 

The Green Impact team from the Division of the Deputy Vice-chancellor Academic, above with UNSW Provost Prof Anne Simmons, took home the 2019 Green Impact Champions award which will teams will compete for next year. 

Green Impact and the ESP 2019-21

The Green Impact program was a strategic part of UNSW’s commitment to environmental sustainability as set out in the Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 (ESP).

The plan is designed to address UNSW’s key environmental issues and defines commitments, targets and activities across 10 focus areas including climate action, waste and recycling, engagement and integration.

William Syddall, Head of Sustainability

UNSW Head of Environmental Sustainability, William Syddall, said:

“A huge congratulations and thank you to all the teams and student auditors who participated in Green Impact this year.  We were blown away by the ideas, enthusiasm and ingenuity that our teams showed in making their workplaces more sustainable - it was also fantastic to hear that Green Impact helped people to make new connections and strengthen links across teams.”