Environment Department

The Enviro Department is a section of the UWA Student Guild that specialises in ensuring the Guild and wider campus are environmentally sustainable.

If you’re interested in the Environment Department, or to find out more you can contact the 2017 Environment Officer Sean O’Leary  via enviro@guild.uwa.edu.au or check out the Environment Department Facebook Page.

Reduce Our Ecological Impact

  • After 3 years of work by the Environment Department, beginning in 2013, early-2016 saw the installation of a huge 40kW solar panel system, worth over $200,000! This installation will provide a large proportion of the Guild’s electricity for years to come, and is the single biggest statement by the Guild on its commitment to sustainability.
  • The Guild’s annual O-day festival has been carbon-offset each year since 2014, and in 2015 the Environment Department went one step further, introducing a motion at council that ensured the offsets into perpetuity.
  • In 2013 the Environment department successfully lobbied for a reduction in the amount of paper materials used during each year’s Guild elections, with the new amount being over 40% less than previously allowed.
  • Plastic water bottles are a major contributor to marine pollution worldwide and although they are recyclable, they only have a limited amount of times they can be recycled, after which they are sent to landfill. The only effective way to reduce plastic pollution is to minimise usage, which is why the Environment Department successfully lobbied to ban bottled water handouts during O-Week from 2014 onwards and replace them with reusable and durable plastic water bottles.
  • In 2013, the Environment Department brought in the first bike repair station on campus to encourage students to ride to campus. This station can be used to perform simple tasks, such as pump up tires to more complicated ones, such as changing a tire. In addition, the Department has also lobbied for more end-of-trip facilities and increased promotion of these facilities to students, as they are often utilised largely by staff members.
  • Since 2013 the Guild has been using exclusively 100% post-consumer recycled paper thanks to the work of the Environment department.
  • In 2015, the Environment Department donated thousands of old Prosh newspapers to the Dogs Refuge Home for recycling.
  • The Environment department worked with IT across campus to introduce default double-sided black & white printing at many libraries and computer labs across campus–saving tens of thousands pages every year.
  • As a result of lobbying by a member of the Guild Council and the Environment Department in 2013, it has since been a Guild policy to offset all Guild flights to ensure that they are carbon neutral.
  • This year the Environment department is looking to the holy grail of reduction in energy usage across campus–the shutdown of computers overnight. Sound like something up your alley?
  • Make friends, save the environment, and most importantly, free up some parking! That’s the idea behind carpooling, which the department is currently investigating for 2016.

Keep Catering Eco-Friendly

  • After 3 years of work by the Environment Department, beginning in 2013, early-2016 saw the installation of a huge 40kW solar panel system, worth over $200,000! This installation will provide a large proportion of the Guild’s electricity for years to come, and is the single biggest statement by the Guild on its commitment to sustainability.
  • The 2015 Bring 1 Get 1 Tree campaign (run in conjunction with the City of Subiaco and WMRC) encouraged students to use their KeepCups by advertising that for every use, a tree would be planted. The campaign was extremely successful, with 434 paper cups diverted from landfill leading to 434 trees being planted.
  • In 2014, it was confirmed that all Guild catering outlets will stock exclusively cage-free eggs, thanks to lobbying by the Environment Department and UWA’s People for Animal Welfare.
  • Our KeepCup program was introduced in 2013 and in the last financial year, it has diverted over 18,525 KeepCups from landfill and saved students over $5,500 in coffee discounts. And the program just keeps getting better! If you don’t have one yourself, head to a Guild catering outlet, or come down to our fortnightly stalls on Oak Lawn.
  • The department is currently working on making more of the Guild’s catering products to be local and ethical, with a particular emphasis on removing products containing palm-oil from our offerings. If that sounds like something you’d like to be involved with, let us know!

Support Clubs

  • Begun in 2013, Enviro Council is the place for environmental clubs to come together. These regular meetings give everyone a chance to collaborate, ask questions and help promote each other’s events. The Environment Department supports clubs as they run all types of events, from movie nights to laser tag to the ever popular Enviro Quiz Night.
  • The Environment Department supported and assisted Sustainable Energy Now (SEN) with recruiting volunteers for their sustainability audits of buildings on campus. The information collected from the audits were then used to improve the environmental impact of UWA’s buildings. For example, in 2013 the university replaced the inefficient lights in the Bayliss Building and saved 92 tonnes of carbon emissions!
  • In 2015, the Department created the Sustainable Clubs Guide to give clubs the information they needed to ensure their events, operations and members are as environmentally-friendly as possible.
  • From the first semester of 2016 onwards, UWA clubs and faculty societies will have the opportunity to carbon offset their events at a discount through Cottesloe-based Carbon Neutral.
  • UWA has many clubs that host amazingly large events that unfortunately produce an equally amazing amount of waste. We are currently working with event organisers to ensure that they are informed about the need to increase recycling at their events and have access to recycling bins for their event planning.

Run Events

  • Every year early-Semester 1, the Environment Department runs EnviroFest. It’s a blowout carnival for all things sustainability and the environment. In the past we’ve had dingoes, lightbulb-terrariums, bike doctors, real doctors (who care about the environment), and much, much more!
  • Eco-Kickoff is an event held early in semester that aims to connect students to Enviro clubs and the Environment Department. It is a first point of contact for students new to the Enviro Movement where they can see all on offer and figure out what they are interested in.
  • As an incentive for people to ride their bikes into uni, the Environment Department hosted a free breakfast for students who cycled to uni! We also had a bike sausage sizzle, where sausages were free only to students with bikes.

Green Our Campus (and beyond)

  • The Guild Urban Orchard was created in 2014 and is located right in the middle of Guild Village. This orchard gives students the opportunity to both engage with the idea of growing vegetables and herbs and also participate in the process itself! We hold harvesting events where students can help collect the fruits of their labour and bring them home to feature in a yummy home-cooked meal.
  • Swan Estuary Reserves Action Group (SERAG) is a community group that performs rehabilitation work along the Swan River Estuary, with Pelican Point being one of their areas of interest due to its importance for migratory birds in the Swan River area. Through a joint effort between the Environment Department and Guild Volunteering, UWA students are now frequently recruited to support SERAG’s conservation efforts in the Pelican Point area.
  • In conjunction with Guild Volunteering, the Environment Department offers students a chance to get out their thumbs and help make their campus good looking and green! Recently our volunteers got down and dirty at the ALVA campus cafe–and more planting is set to continue in 2016!
  • This year will see the expansion of the Urban Orchard within Guild Village as well as other locations on campus! Sound good? Get involved!

Manage Waste

  • In 2013 & 2014, the Environment Department successfully reused over 3 tonnes of coffee grounds sourced from the Guild cafes for soils on campus and off-campus farms. Not only did this divert these coffee ground from landfill, but it also reduced the Guild cafes’ waste costs.
  • Late-2015 saw co-mingled recycling (finally) brought in across all guild buildings–from Cameron Hall to the Guild offices and even to the infamous Pelican writer’s room!
  • Recycling everyday common objects like bottles, cans and paper is becoming easier and easier via recycling bins. However light bulbs, printer cartridges, phones and batteries are harder to recycle as they can’t be put into normal recycling and if they go to landfill, they cause negative environmental impacts via the chemicals in them. Thankfully, the Environment Department has put in a Recycling Station for these items which can be found near the Guild Centre!
  • 2015 saw the introduction of co-mingled recycling stations at all our guild catering outlets. Moving forward we want to make sure those stations look good and collect as much material as possible.
  • There are many areas of campus that still have no recycling (e.g. lecture theatres, libraries), so the Environment Department is working to identify these recycling blackspots and roll out recycling bins to these areas. In 2014 a roll-out of 100+ new bins helped to address these issues.

Run Campaigns & Engage with Students

  • In 2015 the Environment Department ran the extremely successful “UWA says NO to Bjorn Lomborg” campaign. This campaign, beginning with the department, eventually led to large numbers of academic staff speaking out against Mr. Lomborg, preventing his $5 million dollar consensus centre –sponsored by the Federal Government–from coming on to the UWA campus.
  • The 2015, the Bring 1 Get 1 Tree campaign (run in conjunction with the City of Subiaco and WMRC) encouraged students to use their KeepCups by advertising that for every use, a tree would be planted. The campaign was extremely successful, with 434 paper cups diverted from landfill leading to 434 trees being planted.
  • The Guild Sustainability Plan was originally created in 2013 as a high-level document to organise the Guild’s environmental efforts, and to formally recognise its commitment to sustainability. Updated in 2015, the Plan demonstrates the Guild’s continuing role as a leader on environmental issues within the Perth community.
  • In 2015 the UWA Guild Enviro Collective was created to give students a place to come together around sustainability issues online. Boasting over 200 members, the group has successfully become the major forum for UWA-based discuss environmental issues and share ideas.

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