As the winner of the ResourceSmart School of the Decade Award, St Louis de Montfort's Primary School sets the benchmark for sustainability in Victorian schools.
Julie Wynne, Sustainability Leader at St Louis de Montfort's, explains the school’s dedication to sustainability is second to none.
“At St Louis we have a whole-school approach to sustainability. The school lives and breathes it. The ResourceSmart School program has provided the school with a foundation to improve sustainable practices on the school campus,” she says.
“The program provides the opportunity for the school to be awarded for its commitment to educating students and our community in best sustainable practices.”.
When you walk on to the campus, the focus on sustainability practices at St Louis de Montfort's is clear. A display of ‘walk- and ride-to-school’ performance data greets you upon entry. There are compost and recycling bins outside classrooms; as well as temperature thermometers for lighting and air-conditioning systems; and buckets under taps to catch leaks. The school has declared themselves a national forest with a ‘take-in take-out’ rubbish policy.
That’s all before you enter the acclaimed 'sustainability precinct', which is filled with gardens, a kitchen built from a shipping container, recycling systems and compost systems.
The team at the school see the concept of sustainability as fundamental in helping students understand the ways environmental, social and economic systems interact to support and maintain human life. The school annually renews their School Environmental Management Plan, which includes strategies to address ResourceSmart Schools modules and a whole-school approach to sustainability.
The St Louis de Montford's school community is very proud of the school’s sustainable practices and its involvement in ResourceSmart Schools, as they go hand-in-hand towards building a sustainable community. Working through the ResourceSmart Schools modules has led to the school receiving a 5Star sustainability certification.
“ResourceSmart Schools provides a framework where you can monitor what you are doing, what you have achieved and how you can make it better. The program also supports our school focus on student leadership and developing student voice through opportunities to present and attend sustainability events and workshops. Research clearly shows the strong connection between sustainability and wellbeing,” says Julie.
“St Louis believes that we need to continue to lead by example. Therefore, we will continue to focus on our whole-school sustainability approach, our renewal of modules, reduction of energy, waste and water and increasing our biodiversity on the school site. We will also continue to support schools in the local and wider community on their sustainable journeys through running workshops, sustainability events and school tours.”
St Louis de Montfort's top three sustainability tips for schools
- Strong leadership.
- Have a plan.
- Build partnerships. With local, council, ResourceSmart Schools and other like-minded individuals. Be on the ResourceSmart Schools journey. Develop as many partnerships as you can.