The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has won the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change Award at the Green Gown Awards Australasia on November 2. The award recognises excellence in sustainability within the tertiary education sector.

USQ will now progress to the international Green Gown Awards, representing Australasia in the UK next year.

Vice-Chancellor of USQ Professor Geraldine Mackenzie congratulated the USQ Environmental Office and USQ Campus Services on netting the national award for excellence.

“The win in many ways recognises the significant and important initiatives implemented by staff and students at USQ towards ‘being green’,” Professor Mackenzie said.

USQ Campus Services Executive Director Dr Dave Povey said they had adopted a holistic, enterprise wide approach to sustainability.

“It’s truly embedded in all facets of the University – from integrating sustainability into strategic planning, policy and procedures, to significant renewable energy, energy efficiency, furniture reuse, waste reduction and water retention and conservation solutions,” said Dr Povey.

“These efforts have resulted in positive outcomes such as a 32 percent reduction in waste; 25 percent increase in recycling and resource recovery; 84 percent reduction in bore water; and a 15 percent decrease in vehicle emissions.

“In 2016, our flagship building at USQ Springfield achieved a 6 Star Green Star rating for sustainable construction from the Green Building Council of Australia.

“And, of course, we continue to roll out our Sustainable Energy Solution Project, a $6 million two megawatt solar project across all of the University’s campuses which will reduce our carbon footprint by 20 per cent,” Dr Povey said.

USQ Environmental Manager Mrs Alicia Logan said the University remained dedicated to environmental sustainability and reducing any adverse impact of its activities on the environment.

“In addition to these central initiatives, we wholeheartedly believe that by making a few small changes to everyday work habits, everyone at USQ can contribute to a greener campus,” she said.

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