The University of Waikato has appointed a sustainability co-ordinator to help the university continue to develop as a leader and role model in regard to sustainability issues, says Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford.
Before working for the University of Waikato, the new sustainability co-ordinator Rachael Goddard ran her own environmental consultancy firm specialising in project management, waste minimisation and education. She has also published scientific papers and articles on waste, recycling behaviour, landfills and water quality, and wrote a regular column on environmental issues.
“I think people have a greater understanding of sustainability now and are more willing to get on board,” says Ms Goddard. “Nowadays most people are willing to make changes because they can see the benefits. Ultimately I want sustainability to continue to be a driving force behind everyday behaviour at the university.”
Professor Crawford says the move to creating a more sustainable campus is a constant consideration behind any developments at the University of Waikato, and Ms Goddard’s role is another step in that direction.
“Sustainability is a key driver of this university,” he says. “Our new Student Centre is a physical manifestation of how we are applying our core values to benefit students, staff and the wider community. Our commitment to sustainability demonstrates how the university is investing in the future.”
In August last year the New Zealand Green Building Council awarded the university a five green star rating for the environmental and sustainable features of the new $30 million Student Centre. It was the first building in the region to receive the Five Green Star Award.
In 2003 the university used a $400,000 loan from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority to fund an upgrade of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning control systems. Initial estimates suggested the investment could be recouped within five years and the university made $900,000 in energy savings.
Professor Crawford says the university will continue to demonstrate its commitment by moving towards a more sustainable campus with input from across all the faculties and divisions.
“With this new role I’m being realistic,” says Ms Goddard. “I hope to lead by example, but I’m quite pragmatic as well. At home I’ve got a worm farm, compost, chickens, grow my own vegetables and recycle, I used enviro-choice paints and recycled timber when renovating my cottage, but I still commute to work from Raglan everyday so I’m looking to make changes that are realistic and achievable.”