Formal collaboration amongst four tertiary education institutions to advance environmental sustainability.
There is increasing awareness in the tertiary education sector in Australia and New Zealand that many of its activities are not environmentally sustainable and need to be changed. In most cases tertiary educational institutions (TEI) are working individually to address environmental sustainability (ES) while taking advantage of a range of information sources and networks, such as Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) to help them achieve their ES aims. In the Canterbury region of New Zealand the four major TEIs have formed an official joint working group to address environmental sustainability on all their campuses. The Environmental Sustainability Working Group (ESWG) started in late 2003 as a grass roots network of staff and students who were interested in ES from the four institutions. The vision was to provide a forum for mutual support, sharing knowledge, information and experience, thereby resulting in faster implementation of ES initiatives at the member institutions. To give the group sufficient ‘authority’ to achieve its aims it was considered vital that the group be officially recognised by the institutions and have the support of senior management. This was achieved under the ‘umbrella’ organisation the Canterbury Tertiary Alliance (CTA) (www.cta.ac.nz). The CTA is a formal alliance between the University of Canterbury (UC), Lincoln University (LU), the Christchurch College of Education (CCE) and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) and was formed in 2001. The aim of the CTA is “to ensure that Christchurch's four major providers develop tertiary education choices in Canterbury in a complementary way. This ensures cooperation in best practice, cost efficiencies, collegiality and ultimately benefits our students” (www.cta.ac.nz/news/cta1.pdf , examples of other CTA activities are joint purchasing initiatives for information technologies and libraries and reciprocal library borrowing rights). Terms of reference for the Environmental Sustainability Working Group (Figure 1) were endorsed by the CTA executive in June 2004. The CTA executive consists of the Vice Chancellors, Principal and Chief Executive of the member institutions and other senior managers. With this authority the ESWG moved on to develop it first major project: waste minimisation.... [Show full abstract]