Update – 23rd of September

Thank you so much to all of you who came to the hackathon workshops, the final feedback report we made from them can be found here.

We are now waiting for the plan to be passed through the Chancellory Executive on the 11th October, then the University Executive a week later, and finally the University Council on the 16th of November, so stay tuned!

As always, if you have any questions please email a.rogers@union.unimelb.edu.au

Hackathon Workshops are HERE !!!

You are invited to help directly co-design the University’s Sustainability Plan 2016-2020.  The University has recently been working to produce a holistic Sustainability Plan which aims to use the framework of the University’s Sustainability Charter to embed sustainability in all facets of the University’s work in Governance, Teaching and Learning, Engagement, Operations and Research.

Working groups have been set up by students and staff to help harness the collective power of our brains to co-design the Sustainability Plan directly with decision makers under the above target areas. We would like to acknowledge the considerable amount of work by student activist groups to form these working groups.

If you are interested in sharing any knowledge, experience, ideas, or hopes and dreams for the university in terms of sustainability, then we want you!

We will be running Hackathon-workshops with delicious food provided in weeks 4 and 5 which will provide a space for staff and students to collaborate directly with decision makers. The workshops and links to the events are listed below:

Sustainability Plan Hackathon Workshops

 (All workshops will be held on level 2 of Union House in Joe Nap A and B)

If you would like to attend or are interested in helping research/organise for these workshops then please send an email to:



Update 14th July:

The Sustainability Executive meeting on the 14th has seen more discussions and report backs of each of the different areas. The meeting began with a short presentation from Fossil Free MU about why divestment should be a part of the Sustainability Plan. It was very well received, and there was a short discussion on how divestment would look. Watch the Fossil Free facebook page for more information.

5 areas of the plan:

Teaching and Learning didn’t have much progress, those representing Research were not at the meeting, and those working on Governance admitted not much thought has been put in as of yet. Operations is continuing to develop and the plan so far is available here! Engagement is considering pulling together all of the examples of good sustainable practice from across the university.

Now that semester is starting again it is time for students to educate ourselves and get involved in the plan. The university is planning for the next five years, and we need to make sure as a community we can be as effective and powerful as possible in the fight against climate change and environmental degradation.

Facebook group.

I have created a facebook group to continue this conversation so please join! Click here!

New position!

The university have agreed to hire Angus Dowell to help with the promotion and consultation of the Plan! Angus has been working on the Plan since it began, and I am very excited to be working with him.


Update 14th June:

Progress of the Plan:

The Sustainability Executive have been meeting to discuss how the plan is progressing. A significant thing brought up in the last meeting was a lack of resources for each area to get underway with drafting their part of the plan. This has come up quite a few times, and I’m sure it will continue to be discussed in terms of how the university hopes to be a leader in Sustainability without assigning significant resources. There have still been no resources assigned to help the UMSU working groups, but Im hoping either the Chancellery or UMSU can help with this!

The way the plan will continue is that the members of the Sustainability Executive responsible for each area will name people responsible for taking on the actual writing up of the plan. This includes people like Pro-Vice Chancellors, Academic Board, etc. These people will then go and talk to specific people in the university depending on the area, and put together a draft of the plan, which will then be further consulted on in the last three weeks of August. I will be updated with how each area is going and be able to report back to students and staff. I am also asking for information specific to each area, for example current policies, to make available to students and staff who want to get involved in the process. A consulting firm, ACCSR, has been contracted to record the input of stakeholders, including students, and will be in contact with me to hear what students are concerned about most.

I have been working on the UMSU website to make sure that people have access to the resources they need to have informed input on the plan, and make sure that information gets out there! I am also having discussions within UMSU about the best ways to attempt to engage with students. If anyone has any ideas please let me know! And please direct people to the website if they have questions

Forums/working days for each area:

A couple of students have been talking about having some working days for each of the five areas early next semester, to allow people to present ideas and discuss them with the people involved in writing the plan, as well as people experienced in the university. If anyone would like to be involved in helping to organise these events please let me know!

Investments Forum:

This is planned for the 9th of August in the evening. Speakers will include Don Henry, a member of Fossil Free MU and potentially others, MCed by Maxime McKew. We are hoping to have more information released relating to the university’s relationship with the Fossil Fuel sector before the forum.


Sustainability plan working groups.


* Provide an active way for people to get involved in the plan.

* Educate and empower students, staff and the wider university community to be in the room when decisions on the plan are being decided.

* Engage the university community in issues of sustainability so that there is more action from the grassroots, and also to allow the implementation of the plan to be taken on by as much of the university community as possible.

* Help sustainability executive members and those writing the plan to gather information.

* Create a report submission of all of the ideas documented to be submitted to the sustainability executive.


What we have done so far:

So far we have had three meetings/information sessions, see the minutes here. These meetings include going through the Call for engagement from the sustainability executive, talking about why we are all here and what we want to see, and then breaking into working groups for the five different areas of the plan (teaching and learning, research, operations, engagement and governance).

We are planning forum-like events for each of these areas in which people with experience in these areas can get together with the wider university community to get down to business in terms of what will be present in each of these areas.

Have a look in our google drive at all our notes and minutes from previous meeting.


Want to get involved?

1. Email environment@union.unimelb.edu.au

2. Read the Sustainability Report 2016 to see what is currently happening in the university. Click here.

If you are interested in Operations:

Go to the Sustainable Campus website, and email them for further information.

If you are interested in Engagement read:

This previous report from the last sustainability survey in 2014.

If you are interested in Teaching and Learning read:

Melbourne Uni specific:

Aspirations for the Melbourne Graduate

An article here written by Kath Williams the director of the Office of Environmental Programs about Sustainability in Teaching and Learning.

Wider than UniMelb:

National L&T standards for environment and sustainability

National action plan: Education for Sustainability 2009

There is a report done for Education for Sustainability in Victoria a couple of years ago. And one from MIT

3. Join the conversation on Facebook – facebook group.

4. Write down any ideas you have and bring them to a meeting, email them to the Environment Office or the Sustainability Executive or add them to the conversation on slack.

5. Talk to people you know from the university community and see what they want to see in the Sustainability Plan.


Investments Working Group:

Due to pressure from Fossil Free Melbourne Uni and the wider community, the university has formed an Investment Working Group to look at the relationship between the university and the fossil fuel sector and provide recommendations to the Vice Chancellor and the University Council.

Exert from the university’s Sustainability Report 2015 (page 13):

The University is undertaking a stakeholder mapping project to understand our relationships with the fossil fuel sector in delivering our core activities of research, teaching, engagement and operations. This includes looking at a number of areas like our research collaborations, research and scholarship funding, graduate and alumni employment, and governing body memberships.

Understanding our broader involvement with this sector will inform a future strategy for effective action. It will enable us to develop a holistic approach that shows sustainability leadership by decarbonising our operations and working with industry and governments to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The Sustainability Plan will set priority actions for how to engage with the sector to advance sustainability.

As Anisa, one of the Environment Officers, sits on this working group, she is publishing summaries from each meeting. To read them please press here.

Anisa would love to hear your ideas about what should be discussed in this working group so email her at a.rogers@union.unimelb.edu.au