The University of Waikato has been selected as a finalist in the 2015 Green Gown Awards Australasia for "GoingGreen@Waikato". The programme is in the running for the Continuous Improvement-Institutional Change category.

University of Waikato Environmental and Sustainability Manager Rachael Goddard says the awards are recognition of the sustainability successes that universities and polytechnics have achieved.

"GoingGreen@Waikato has helped embed sustainability into all aspects of university activity," Goddard said.

Thousands of people in the university's community have been involved over the last four years to decease its environmental impact. Initiatives include decreasing waste going to landfill amd fleet carbon emissions while increasing recycling, participation and awareness.

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The initiatives have also been financially sustainable. Goddard says the university's savings and fundings have exceeded $200,000.

"The key to success has been the engaging and unique nature of the initiative, by-in from staff and students, and support from stakeholders," said Goddard.

The other finalists include: the Durack Institute of Technology in Geraldton, Australia for its potable scheme water reduction programme; TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute in Australia for its sustainability work and teaching practices including green buildings and Green Army conservation works on its Yallah Campus and consistent electricity and carbon reduction; and the University of Melbourne for its initiatives that span the university's community including increases in carbon savings, water savings and its furniture reuse program.

The Green Gown Awards were established in 2004 in the UK, and they are now in their fifth year in Australasia. The awards recognise sustainability practices. actions and initiatives within the tertiary education sector. They are run by Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability Incorporated Association, a non-profit member-based organisation representing higher education institutions within Australia and New Zealand.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on October 22 in Geelong, Australia.

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