New Student Precinct Sustainable Principles

The New Student Precinct Project’s co-creation engagements with students in 2016 and 2017 have highlighted just how important embedding sustainability measures into the design of the new Precinct is to students.

In response to the strong feedback received by students, in August 2017 the Project team launched a process to better understand exactly what kind of sustainability measures students want to see embedded in the New Student Precinct. This instigated the development of student-led sustainability principles to inform the design of the Precinct.

The Approach

A Sustainability Principles Workshop was facilitated by UMSUs Environmental Representative and New Student Precinct Project Assistant, Lizzie Nicholson; Associate Director, Sustainability Property and Sustainability, Clare Walker; and Manager of Sustainable Campus Design, Sustainability Property and Sustainability, Gerard Healey, with 16 students and five staff in attendance.

The workshop provided a platform for participants to share thoughts, ideas and priorities that were then synthesised into  a list of six sustainability principles.

The six principles were then shared with the broader University community via an online survey, providing students with the opportunity to confirm or question the principles, and provide feedback on any additional principles that should be included.

Key Findings

The survey validated the qualitative data gathered in the workshop, showing a high rate of agreement with each principle (all >75%), with the most important being ‘highly efficient energy and resource use’ (89%), and the least important being ‘fostering diversity and creating opportunities for student innovation’ (76%).

With the added qualitative data from the survey (including feedback on the language and content of the original six principles) the list of principles were amended and two more were added.

The final eight principles identified through the workshop and survey are as follows:

  1. Provide spaces and places that encourage the diverse student community to connect and learn about sustainable practices.
  2. Develop a minimal waste precinct, through the promotion of recycling and organic (food) waste and packaging.
  3. Foster opportunities for students to create and drive innovative sustainability initiatives.
  4. Ensure highly efficient energy and resource use.
  5. Create opportunities to buy or prepare food that is healthy, fair and sustainable.
  6. Promote biodiversity and indigenous planting.
  7. Maximise the lifecycle of structures through use of enduring and sustainable materials.
  8. Reduce environmental footprint by sourcing local resources.