12 Apr 2022
CoI-Sustain.Eng is a grassroots initiative. It’s driven by the University of Auckland’s passionate staff and students, who want to make the Faculty of Engineering, the University, and New Zealand a more sustainable place to live.
Why have staff and students formed the Community of Interest on Sustainability in Faculty of Engineering (CoI-Sustain.Eng)?
CoI-Sustain.Eng is a grassroots initiative. It’s driven by motivated staff and students, who want to make the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Auckland a more sustainable place.
For example, we want to assist in evaluating the carbon footprint of the Faculty and developing a strategy for effective waste management by identifying areas of over-consumption.
We collaborate with other interest groups at the University of Auckland, including the student group “The Sustainable Future Collective” and other faculties’ sustainability groups. We also collaborate with outside groups such as tree planting initiatives and New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA).
We’re proud to have initiated the formation of the Faculty Sustainability Committee. The committee will be fully established this year with the goal of aligning the Faculty with the University and the New Zealand Government’s sustainability commitments.
Who is involved in CoI-Sustain.Eng?
As a grass-roots initiative, we are open to all passionate individuals who want the Faculty, the University, and New Zealand to be a better place to live – this includes both staff and students.
Because the background of our members is so diverse, our collective knowledge spans all engineering disciplines, from life cycle analyses to sustainable buildings and electric cars. Together we can achieve even more because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
What's the best thing about CoI-Sustain.Eng?
Our members are incredibly passionate and energetic —the CoI-Sustain.Eng provides them with a forum to exchange ideas and a team to work together towards positive change. Many of them also find their direct impact to be very rewarding.
For example, we recently handed out almost 1,800 free ShopPacks (practical canvas backpacks made sustainably and ethically) sent to us from an EECA initiative called GenLess. Many of our members joined forces to organise and manage the storage and distribution of the 1,800 ShopPacks on short notice.
What are some of the programmes or events that CoI-Sustain.Eng have run in the past?
We’ve already done several events and activities. For example, we organised a Swap Shop in one of the common areas of the Faculty where staff and students swapped unwanted items they were looking to get rid of rather than throw them out – like a garage sale but without payment.
We also organised a cycling tour with a picnic. Another time, we planted native trees in Waitawa Regional Park.
Although Covid has slowed us down, it also has given us the time to think about what we want to do next to sustain engagement among our members, create positive change in our community and encourage more people to join us. We just put together a poll to explore our options. As engineers, we are keen on setting ourselves SMART goals!