From the Vice-Chancellor: Green is good
Our campuses are undergoing the most significant transformation in the University's history.
We are spending $400 million on the construction of new teaching and research facilities over four years. This is a huge commitment from the University and it will greatly benefit our students and staff, and therefore the wider community. It will provide much-needed facilities for the here and now, as well as helping us to plan for the future.
But there are other changes going on across our University that are significant and deserving of attention. These are changes that will help the University to become more environmentally sustainable.
At the University of Adelaide, we have some of the most brilliant minds conducting world-class research and teaching on all aspects of the environment - science, law, engineering, impact on health and population, to name just a few - our academic output on the environment is enormous; we are a force for good on these issues.
Of course, the University is also a major organisation that employs many thousands of people and educates tens of thousands more. We have highly complex research facilities across multiple campuses and, by necessity, a very significant need for a whole range of resources.
Given all of this, it is vitally important for the University to better understand our own impact on the environment and to become more sustainable, both for the long-term future benefit of the University and also of our planet.
Over the past 12 months, the University of Adelaide has been making excellent headway on issues of environment and sustainability.
We have increased our staff resources to tackle environmental issues, launched a University-wide sustainability awareness program called Ecoversity, and set targets on reducing CO2 emissions, paper consumption, electricity and water use, and reducing our production of waste.
We now have a much better understanding of our greenhouse gas emissions and energy use and have participated in greenhouse gas emission audits since the 2007/08 financial year.
In the past year the University has recycled almost 25 tonnes of electronic waste - including old computers, monitors, televisions and servers.
We will soon learn more about the travel habits of our staff and students, to help prepare sustainable travel initiatives in partnership with the Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure.
Students are playing an important role in the work we're doing. Student surveys have highlighted recycling as their number one environmental issue. With this in mind, the University will launch a new waste and recycling program later this year in conjunction with the State Government's Zero Waste SA initiative.
Sustainability is also an important part of the new buildings being constructed on our campuses. We were thrilled to learn that our new $100 million Innova21 building on the North Terrace Campus has recently achieved the highest possible Green Star rating for design from the Green Building Council of Australia. At the same time, our new Plant Accelerator at the Waite Campus is receiving $5 million from the Federal Government to help make that facility's power use more sustainable.
The University of Adelaide is moving towards a truly holistic and coordinated approach to sustainability. This will see us bring together the knowledge and expertise of our international research centres and institutes, our environment-based curriculum and campus operations.
Our approach to sustainability issues is not to take the 'easy' way out through short-term efforts to offset our carbon footprint. We would rather take a more responsible and sustainable approach that yields long-term benefits.
PROFESSOR JAMES A. McWHA
Vice-Chancellor and President