UQ presents first Sustainability Award

7 November 2022

UQ presented its first Sustainability Award to fourth-year student Jayana last week, recognising her 100 hours of volunteered sustainability service, both at the University and in the wider community. 

Launched at the end of 2021, the program is an accredited supplementary activity towards the UQ Employability Award, which recognises personal and professional development in addition to the academic curriculum.

The Sustainability Award is designed to encourage practical learning across a broad spectrum of sustainability-related opportunities, which individual participants can tailor to their interests. Options include completing the UQ Carbon Literacy Program, joining a sustainability-related Ventures program, or implementing a project through the UQ Green Fund.

Inaugural award recipient, Jayana, says the program has expanded her skills and shaped her knowledge and understanding of sustainability far beyond the classroom environment.

“The award has also been a great motivation to continue my sustainability journey at UQ and further afield.
“The volunteering experiences have all taught me so much, from the technicalities of wildlife research and solar farm operations, through to recycling and student engagement. 

“Setting up UQ's first UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth Hub, with the support of UQ Sustainability and the Green Ambassador Program, has been a highlight of my sustainability volunteering.”

Diverse sustainability achievements

As the first person to receive the Sustainability Award, Jayana has shown outstanding commitment to sustainability volunteering at UQ. Not just during her past year completing the award program, but throughout her entire time at the University.

Jayana was a founding member of the student-led Green Ambassador Program (GAP), and spent two years on the student executive committee. As GAP social media manager in 2020, Jayana played a key role in growing initial membership of the group, particularly in the Covid-induced digital environment. In 2022, she held the role of Sustainable Development Goal Manager, helping to establish GAP as a Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth Hub. This hub now increases networking opportunities for GAP student member and solidifies connections between GAP and the sustainable development goals.

Jayana also participated in, and helped organise, various events, including several Clean Up Australia Days, local bush care events, Warwick Solar Farm open days, and Sustainability Week sessions.

She has been involved in a number of interesting projects, including a Student-Staff Partnership related to increasing awareness of alternative options for sustainable menstrual hygiene, as well as attempting to destigmatise these choices. The project, called ‘Flowing Green’, aimed to educate the UQ community on the impacts of their choices, with videos and articles created and distributed across campus and on social media.

An engaged student committee representative within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES), Jayana has consistently worked to ensure sustainability is integrated into school activities. A key project she is working on currently is having school administration install 10c containers for change bins throughout all SEES buildings to reduce waste going to landfill and raise money for SEES staff and students.