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Sustainability coordinator joins the University of Waikato staff roster

Sustainability coordinator joins the University of Waikato staff roster

As far as universities go, the University of Waikato has been making a determined effort to adopt more sustainable measures. Last year its student centre became only the second educational building in New Zealand to receive a 5 Green Star rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council and now it has announced the appointment of a sustainability co-ordinator to help it “continue to develop as a leader and role model in regard to sustainability issues”. 

At the helm on the new role is Rachael Goddard who, with a background that involves running her own environmental consultancy firm specialising in project management, waste minimisation and education, looks to be a good fit for the position.

Goddard said people now seem to have a greater understanding of sustainability and more want to get involved. 

“Nowadays most people are willing to make changes because they can see the benefits. Ultimately I want sustainability to continue to be a driving force behind everyday behaviour at the university.” 

At home Goddard plays the sustainability role well. She has a worm farm, compost, chickens, and grows her own vegetables, and she used enviro-choice paints and recycled timber when renovating her cottage. But she knows sustainability isn’t at all plain sailing and admits to commuting to work from Raglan everyday. 

“I’m looking to make changes that are realistic and achievable,” she said.

“I hope to lead by example, but I’m quite pragmatic as well.” 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford said the move to create a more sustainable campus is a constant consideration behind any developments at the university, citing Goddard’s role as another step in that direction. 

“Sustainability is a key driver of this university,” he said. “Our new Student Centre is a physical manifestation of how we are applying our core values to benefit students, staff and the wider community. Our commitment to sustainability demonstrates how the university is investing in the future.”

As well as the $30 million student centre, in 2003 the university used a $400,000 loan from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority to fund an upgrade of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning control systems. Initial estimates suggested the investment could be recouped within five years and the university made $900,000 in energy savings.