St Monica’s College in Melbourne’s north has developed a highly interactive approach for maintaining sustainability across two campuses. Both campuses are based in Epping (Dalton Road and Davisson Street) and have saved a combined total of over $232,000 through their participation in the ResourceSmart Schools program.
Rachel Zammit, Sustainability Coordinator at the school, says the benefit of having two campuses is the schools have individual student teams called EnviroFriends work on similar issues at their respective campus.
“Our junior students have a hands-on approach to EnviroFriends as they help look after the animals, veggie gardens and wetlands,’ she says. “Our senior students focus more on how environmental issues affect the wider community and they promote awareness to our college community about what we can do to reduce negative impacts. We see senior students acting as mentors to junior students in the activities they do together like Environmental Event Days and projects.”
Across both campuses, the EnviroFriends groups oversee veggie gardens, composting, worm farms, wetlands, animal rooms and chickens, as well as completing necessary audits, hosting workshops and planning group activities like Earth Hour Concerts and Clean Up Australia Day.
“On campus, there’s a lot more awareness about the environment and sustainability due to the ResourceSmart Schools program. Through this program, we have goals and targets set to reduce our resource usage,” Rachel says.
“Our community reacts really positively to our sustainability initiatives, and the ResourceSmart Schools program has increased community engagement and networking with other teachers and schools,” she adds. “We hope to introduce a rotation of parents working with our animals, and in the veggie gardens in the next year.”
Rachel says all schools would benefit from becoming part of the ResourceSmart Schools program. “The program enables your school to be more sustainable. The modules act as a checklist to implement new initiatives at your school. It’s a great networking opportunity to work alongside other schools and to complete your sustainability journey together with like-minded people. ResourceSmart Schools and their facilitators offer a great amount of support to help you achieve your sustainability goals.”
St Monica’s College's top three sustainability tips for schools
- Introduce a student-lead active team.
- Embed sustainability into the curriculum.
- Promote awareness to get the entire school community on board.