Published on 19 June 2013
The University of the Sunshine Coast has been formally recognised as a Queensland leader in sustainability after being named a finalist in the 2013 Premier’s Sustainability Awards.
USC was one of three finalists from 42 nominees in the “Leadership in Sustainability” category of the awards, announced at a gala event hosted by Premier Campbell Newman and Environment Minister Andrew Powell in Brisbane on Friday 14 June.
The other finalists were Bundaberg Regional Council and Mackay Regional Council, with Bundaberg winning the category for its waste minimisation efforts during recovery from severe flooding in January.
At the awards event, USC was praised for its long-term approach to sustainability, which has involved making the environment a primary consideration at every stage of its development.
A crowd of almost 500 people heard how USC had maintained its grounds as a flora and fauna reserve and instilled a philosophy of sustainable operations through its Master Plan to minimise the University’s impact on the adjacent Mooloolah River National Park.
“All buildings on campus focus on environmentally sustainable design to suit the sub-tropical climate of the Sunshine Coast,” the awards citation said.
“These include passive lighting and natural ventilation to minimise the use of non-renewable energy, extensive use of screens, sun shelters and tree planting to reduce direct sunlight on buildings, and locating buildings to take advantage of prevailing breezes.
“The buildings on campus have received more than 30 awards for planning, architecture and construction.”
USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill, who attended the awards celebration, said he was proud of the University’s environmental record.
“We take a holistic approach to sustainability. So it’s our buildings, the way we run the place, and our teaching and research. It’s the whole package,” he said.
“We are a regional university and have a close relationship with the local community. When the community says it wants to be the most sustainable region in Australia, the stakes are very high, and we’re happy to do our bit.”
USC was the only university in Queensland to nominate in the “Leadership in Sustainability” award category this year.
Premier Newman congratulated all nominees across nine categories of the awards for improving environmental performance and encouraging sustainable practices and behaviour.
“Every awards nomination showcases a different approach to reducing our impact on the environment and protecting our unique Queensland lifestyle,” he said.
“But they all have something in common – a recognition that it is possible to balance long-term economic development with responsible environmental practices and management of our natural resources.”
— Terry Walsh