SRN achievements

SRN achievements

So much has been achieved through the active participation of our SRN members, in collaboration with their colleagues. These are just some of the initiatives we celebrate on behalf of our SRN members.

Risk Frontiers 

Wrap for love 

On the social sustainability front, experienced and new knitters from the Risk Frontiers team,  have banded together to knit squares to form a blanket as part of the Wrap for Love program where blankets are distribute to the needy in overseas countries.

Carbon jeopardy

SRN member, Lucinda Coates has initiated the production and distribution (via email) of a newsletter, titled "Carbon Jeopardy".  Every week or so, it provides a list of practical ideas and handy tips to lower one's environmental footprint both in the office and at home. Each issue focuses on a particular sustainability theme such as energy, water, waste, transport etc. The newsletter has been well received by colleagues.

Walk the talk

While still situated in the currently being refurbished E7A, a total of 18 Risk Frontiers staff from the 8th floor of the building enthusiastically participated in a 'stairs' vs 'lifts' challenge. Placing a chart beside the lifts, whereby staff could log whether they climbed stairs instead of using the lift, created a competitive and fun element amongst colleagues, according to SRN member Lucinda Coates.  Colleagues Delphine McAneney and James O'Brien started the initiative during the Departmental Sustainability Challenge.  James calculated that each 7-flight ascent or descent was just over 19m.  This meant that 144 trips were needed in order for the team to ascend Big Ben's Mawson Peak - the highest mountain in the Australian Territories (2,745m ASL).  Lucinda deemed this an appropriate peak to "climb" as it is a volcanic massif, dominating the geography of Heard Island, and 2011 is the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition which was led by Sir Douglas Mawson.  Having conquered this peak, staff are now turning their attention to Mt Kilimanjaro.  Dr Felipe de Oliveira, one of the scientists participating in the challenge, modelled CO2 savings and identified that, if one was to average two up-and-down stair climbs per working day, this would lead to a saving of 19.2kg of CO2 per year per staff member. It's fun, it's sustainable and it's healthy too: climbing stairs is a great way to burn calories and get some fitness into one's daily routine.

Dunmore Lang College

 Lightening up

The Dunmore Lang College (DLC) Board is making a considerable effort to lift the profile of sustainability to residents and to improve the environmental performance of the residential college. In 2010 the College addressed the ongoing problem of lights being continually left on by installing motion sensors in 18 bathrooms, 4 kitchenettes and the computer lab to reduce energy wastage and subsequent greenhouse emissions.

Refill not Landfill

With full support from the Sustainability Committee, DLC successfully phased out styrofoam cups in the dining hall and replaced them with ceramic mugs during September 2010. Styrofoam cups are environmentally unfriendly as they are a petroleum-based product which is not recyclable and non-biodegradable. This means they end up in landfill taking hundreds of years to break down. As a result of this initiative approximately 5250 styrofoam cups per week are now being diverted from landfill which is a fantastic sustainability achievement!

Getting the message out and about

During 2010 Dunmore Lang College appointed a student Sustainability Liaison to work with other residents in implementing environmental initiatives across DLC. The College's weekly News for You newsletter has a designated column on sustainability and is sent electronically to students in order to reduce printed copies. DLC welcomes suggestions from students regarding environmental initiatives, offering a voucher from Macquarie Centre for ideas implemented around the College.

Gumnut Cottage

Holistic approach to sustainability

Gumnut has implemented many sustainability initiatives, building on their firm belief in the importance of the natural environment for children's holistic development. The Centre recently won the "Best School Garden - Preschool" in the 2010 Ryde Garden Competition.

With the support of former SRN member Meredith Chan and the Gumnut staff team, there has been a significant effort to improve the Centre's environmental performance. Staff are reminded to turn off lights, computers and other appliances at night to reduce stand-by power consumption. Timers are installed on lights for fish tanks, which teach the children about the natural world. The dishwasher is only now used when completely full. Gumnut Cottage has also become more active in using natural ventilation to reduce air conditioner use. New curtains are backed to keep heat in (or out).

Paper use has been greatly reduced. Newsletters, parent notices and bill statements are emailed to families. Printing is set to double-sided by default. Rather than purchase new paper, Gumnut is fortunate to receive paper from many businesses. After use, paper in each room is recycled.

Furthermore, Gumnut's location within Macquarie University Campus enriches the early childhood programme. Children are able to participate in many experiences across Campus and enjoy the many resources available. Since 2010 preschool children have participated in annual tree-planting with members of the Sustainability Team.

Community men's shed partnership

Gumnut Cottage works closely with the Arrunga Community Men's Shed in Ermington. The Centre's equipment and toys are repaired by a group of men who volunteer their time and skills at the Men's Shed. This helps to prolong the shelf-life of the equipment/toys. Once every few months, the Director of Gumnut takes wooden toys that require fixing or puzzles with missing pieces/knobs to the Men's Shed to have them repaired by the helpful group of men. This is a great community partnership which contributes to sustaining the children's play by having their familiar toys repaired.

Faculty of Human Sciences  

(Administration office) Waste not want not

With the support of the Executive Dean, Professor Janet Greeley, and fellow staff, SRN member Suzane Azzi has been involved in numerous sustainability initiatives within the Faculty. A recent Faculty wide initiative has involved an office stationary drive whereby Faculty staff were encouraged to 'declutter' their office and donate unwanted and never used office stationery items for the establishment of a new Faculty stationery reuse system.

Students from the Student Sustainability Network (SSN) assisted with the project by volunteering their time to collect donated items and do a stock-take of what was contributed in preparation for the new on-line system. This initiative has successfully got office items back in circulation again and has been a great partnership project between staff and students!

(Administration office and the department of Linguistics) E-waste recycling

In the Human Sciences Faculty of Administration Office, SRN champion Suzane Azzi has encouraged staff members to recycle their e-waste by placing a box in the lunch room for small electronic items such as mobile phones, hard drives, audiotapes, video tapes, computer diskettes etc. The items are collected by Macquarie University Property for recycling. SRN representative, Hiranya Anderson has followed suit and introduced the initiative for staff in the Department of Linguistics and has found it to be a very worthwhile and successful initiative.

Fan switch

In taking out the title of Most Sustainable Faculty for the 2010 Department Sustainability Challenge, the Faculty of Human Sciences were presented a prize of $200 as part of their award, to go towards a Christmas party or sustainability initiative. Department representatives decided that the money be used to purchase fans for the Education and Psychology Departments located in building C3A (Level 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9).  Some of the fans will replace very old and inefficient air conditioners.

Access Macquarie 

$100,000 in savings

In 2010 SRN member Pavle Jeric focused on the issue of the significant amounts of paper being used for course materials for the Centre for Macquarie English which is operated by Access Macquarie. Through redesigning the course booklets and reducing the Arial font from 12 to 10, a 30% reduction in paper usage was achieved. Pavle worked to further reduce the size of course notes and successfully reduced them by an additional 20% by October, resulting in the course notes being half the size of what they were at the beginning of the year in terms of page numbers. This has led to a saving of approximately $100,000 per year in printing costs which is an outstanding budgetary benefit.

Other initiatives implemented to conserve paper include placing publicity materials which change frequently on the Access MQ website rather than producing printed copies which become out of date quickly; encouraging teachers to scan instead of photocopying records; introducing a pin-code system on the photocopier to monitor usage; and replacing the paper based registration for International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test with an on-line system.

Campus Experience (Retail)

S.A.L.T program

SALT: Seek Justice - Alleviate Hunger - Lift the Burden Today - Transforming Lives

Campus Experience's S.A.L.T program is a student driven initiative involving retail outlets on campus who donate leftover food items to the Salvation Army. The food is collected by Campus Experience student employees and taken to disadvantaged residents of Ivanhoe Place, in the City of Ryde. Interested in being a volunteer with this community focused program? Contact Leigh Skene at Campus Experience on 9850 6582 or by email

Human Resources

Recycle for sight

SRN members Claire Phelps and Susan Wallace from Human Resources joined forces to introduce an eyeglass recycling initiative in their Department. Unwanted sight and reading glasses are collected and donated to the Lions Club for their 'Recycle for Sight' program. The Lions Club have volunteers who clean, sort by prescription strength and package the donated glasses which are distributed to people in need in developing countries where they will have the greatest impact.


Moving forward

Since the move of the Cochlear headquarters onto campus in August 2010, SRN member Felicity Crombach has made a concerted effort to get 'sustainability' on the agenda again. Felicity joined the SRN to gain encouragement, access resources and to share ideas regarding sustainability. Felicity has endeavoured to reinvigorate Cochlear's internal sustainability team, called 'greenFEVER' and, with the assistance of Claire James, organised a staff morning tea in August to promote carpooling amongst staff. Around 400 manufacturing staff will be moving across to campus from the old premises late in 2012, which presents a timely opportunity to encourage carpooling as a sustainable transport option, given limited parking available for staff.  The thriving cycling group led by Sharon McKechnie enjoyed the Ride to Work Day and breakfast at MQ.  Sharon has also joined the greenFEVER group, adding further enthusiasm to the team.

Department of Media, Music, Critical Cultural Studies

Refill not landfill

A reusable cup service for hot beverages has been set up for the use of visitors by the Department of Media, Music, Critical Cultural Studies (MMCCS) at the Y3A café to reduce the usage of disposable cups. Ceramic cups and accompanying equipment for the initiative were sourced from the Furniture and Electronic Reuse and Recycling Scheme managed by Macquarie University Property. At the café, signage is displayed to promote to visitors that this is a sustainability initiative and that visitors can also gain a 50 cent discount if they use a reusable mug when purchasing their coffee. Visitors are requested to place the mugs in a plastic container once finished and at the end of each day MMCCS administration staff collect the cups for cleaning and use the following day. This initiative is a simple yet effective example of the universities commitment to sustainability.

Macquarie Law School

Paper cuts

Lara Hardy, formerly an SRN rep for the Macquarie Law School, enthusiastically introduced a number of sustainability initiatives . Concerned with the substantial increase in paper consumption within the Law School, Lara emailed eco-tips to staff and students on how they can reduce paper use. Lara placed three department fax numbers on the Government's 'Do Not Call' register to eliminate incoming junk mail and initiated the introduction of an electronic fax management system to significantly reduce the amount of printed faxes. In relation to sustainable procurement, Lara proactively replaced the orders for less sustainable office stationery with more eco-friendly options and has championed for OfficeMax to provide office supplies in reusable containers. With the support of the Dean and other staff in the Law School, 100% vegetarian food is now provided at Law School events. Lara Hardy is now representing the Faculty of Business & Economics as an SRN member.

Faculty of Business & Economics

Technology solutions for sustainability 

SRN representative, James Hazelton chairs the Faculty of Business & Economics Sustainability Committee which is responsible for identifying opportunities and solutions for improved sustainability performance in the Faculty. Through the committee, a workshop was organised this year to focus on how technology could be used to enhance sustainability within the domains of teaching, research and administration/development. As an outcome of the workshop the Committee will be focusing on enhancing staff IT literacy via drop-in workshops prior to the commencement of teaching in 2012 and leveraging the new University document management system to improve both academic and professional staff productivity.

Macquarie University Property

Chocolate rewards

Sally Northover, in her role as an SRN member has come up with a sweet way to encourage Macquarie University Property staff to be energy wise in their workplace. Chocolates are placed on the desks of colleagues who turn their computers off overnight, to recognise their energy efficient efforts! What a great incentive to cut emissions.


Paper cuts and dollar savings

Paper reduction was a priority sustainability initiative identified by SRN members, Andy McNeill and Annabel Voysey in their sustainability action plan for PICT. With support from fellow staff they have made a huge impact in this area. PICT is now producing course materials on a CD for students rather than providing printed course readers. This has led to a massive saving of 2,028,000* sheets of paper being printed annually (4056 reams of paper), not to mention the dollar savings! In terms of greenhouse emissions, this initiative has resulted in 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) being emitted into the atmosphere. Congratulations to PICT for such a great outcome. (Assumptions based on current student enrolments, average course load and average number of pages in course readers).

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