The current state of our planet is a cause of concern for most of us and we’re all trying to do our part to help it improve. But as money and time-poor students, it can be hard to find ways to contribute towards sustainability that actually feel impactful.
Luckily for us, the University of Newcastle has a heap of cool initiatives which students can get involved in to have a positive impact on our planet. We put together a plan for students to increase sustainability throughout their day at uni.
Travel sustainably (and make some new friends!)
It’s well known that driving is one of the biggest contributors towards our carbon footprint. But what you might not know is that the University has many options for students to reduce the amount of time they spend in the car. As well as bike hubs with showers, lockers and storage for over 200 bikes and the free NUspace shuttle service, the University has introduced RideShare, an initiative which connects students to each other to organise carpooling. Not only is this really good for the environment, you also get access to exclusive free parking spots and might even make a new friend or two!
Grab a coffee in a Keep Cup and have a snack with reusable cutlery
One of the easiest ways for students to contribute to sustainability on campus for free is to bring cups and cutlery from home. A University study found that disposable coffee cups make up 3% of the general waste on campus, so bringing your own reusable cup for your morning caffeine hit is a super effective way to reduce waste. While you’re at in, chuck in some reusable cutlery for that lunchtime feed!
While the best way to limit waste on campus is bringing items from home, we know sometimes busy students can forget or are unable to bring their own cups or cutlery. For these times, the University has partnered with Simply Cups to recycle disposable coffee cups which are then used to make the ‘rCup’ a “world first reusable coffee cup made from recycled cups, as well as a range of other products”. Make sure to put your cup in the correct bins, which have been freshly labelled to avoid confusion!
In terms of cutlery, food retailers at Callaghan campus now have bamboo cutlery which is also recyclable.
Visit the Community Garden
One of the coolest things to get involved in at Uni if you’re interested in sustainability is the Community Garden. Not only is it a sustainable way to get some quality produce but it is also heaps of fun, creates social connections and has physical and mental health benefits!
The garden is located behind Oval 4 near the Wollotuka Institute and grows a range of seasonal produce. Community Garden events are held throughout the semester and give students the opportunity to assist with planting and harvesting a range of fruit, vegetables and herbs, some of which they even get to take home. Sustainability is ensured in the Community Garden with the use of two water tanks, a compost bin, solar pump and six raised beds.
If you want to find out more about ways to be sustainable on campus, check out the Sustainability Initiatives page on the University website.