ACU Libary Grows Greener

Published: Monday 26th May 2014

ACU is committed to responsible care of the environment - and has made significant progress in recent years to reduce the University’s impact on its surroundings.
Improving the University’s environmental sustainability was identified as an area for improvement in feedback from ACU staff during the 2011 myVoice survey.

Following this feedback, improving sustainability practice was taken forward as a University-wide priority and embedded in the 2012-2014 ACU Strategic Plan.

A number of structural changes were implemented across the University from 2012 to reduce the consumption of energy and water, and to reduce waste production.  Improvements continue to be made, as new structural arrangements are also supported by individual projects running within organisational units, such as the ‘ACU Library|Growing. Greener’ initiative.

Senior Librarian – Electronic Services, Kate Bunker, suggested the campaign in 2013 to promote awareness among students and staff of how everyday actions impact on the environment.

“Sustainability really cuts across so many areas of what we do as a university,” she said. “We do have a commitment to our environment and this campaign is also about modelling behaviour.”

Kate said ACU Library had collaborated with ACU Sustainability to improve their knowledge of energy usage and waste production across campuses by looking at data collected in a university-wide audit.

“Although ACU Library was already using some good practices, such as video-conferencing and having a preference for sourcing eBooks for our library collection rather than printed books, we also wanted to make some changes… so we had an external consultant who specialises in sustainable procurement come and talk to us about making decisions when we buy supplies.”  

ACU Library then implemented a number of improvements including new technology which allows students to scan and check-out their own books; moving to printing on more environmentally-friendly paper;  looking into what printed resources could be made available online instead; and launching ‘Overdrive’ – a collection of ebooks for recreational reading, available online.

 “We used Twitter, Facebook and our blog to do things like publish tips for saving water. We also ran a few competitions, such as encouraging students in Library to print nothing for a week,” Kate said.

“The campaign is about being mindful about these things, and sometimes it’s not until you’re actually challenged to do something for a week, that you actually think about it a bit.”

The campaign continues to drive changes through cross-unit collaboration. By working with IT and ACU Sustainability, ACU Library was successful in implementing double-sided printing as the default for all of its printers at the start of this year.