Getting on track for sustainability in education: observations from the Unitec Environmental Sustainability Programme

Authored by Caleb Clarke, Lucy Preston, David Phillips and Leon Fourie. Prepared for 2010 NZSSES Paper.


New Zealand is facing the requirement to adapt to global forces such as population growth and climate change. Across the country, plans are being made in order to respond to the challenges that they carry. The long term aim is based on leading a high quality of life while maintaining a healthy environment for future generations. Education for sustainable development strives to embed sustainability in everyday lives.

Unitec Institute of Technology (Auckland, New Zealand) has embarked on implementation of a comprehensive environmental sustainability strategy. They plan to act as advocates of practical sustainability across four key strategic areas within the institute - Teaching, Research, Advanced Practice and Campus (TRAC). 'Teaching' focuses on the need to incorporate sustainability in to the curriculum and use existing staff members and talent to offer a sustainability focus in every degree. 'Research' is based on developing Unitec's research ability relating to sustainable technologies from design to build with a trans-disciplinary focus. 'Advanced Practice' advocacy aims to provide leadership and make Unitec a centre of public information for community, staff members and student sustainability education. It also focuses on collaboration links with other best practice organisations locally, nationally and internationally. 'Campus' refers to the intention to manage the Unitec campus to become a living example of sustainable best practice, in all aspects of the organisation's function.

This paper explores the journey that Unitec is taking towards becoming a sustainable tertiary education institute.

Jennifer Howe

Digital Content Manager