> The initiative
Tētēkura – Student-driven positive impact
Our Sustainability Office employs six Tētēkura (Student Leads) for four hours every week to work with office staff to support and improve our University’s culture of sustainability. The Te Reo Māori name gifted to these roles refers to the carved figurehead on the prow of a canoe (waka). That figurehead leads the way on challenging voyages. Each of the six roles has a different way of leading the way:
- Marketing, content creation, and social media delivery
- Sustainability Neighbourhood and whakawhanaungatanga (relationships) management
- Green Your Scene team support
- Data analysis and goals reporting
- Events coordination
- Campaigns and generating ideas for initiatives
These roles increase University-wide engagement through a range of activities and initiatives designed to grow staff, student, and wider community involvement in sustainability. The Student Leads’ work outputs are guided by the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGS) and our Sustainability Strategic Framework, all while aiming to challenge the norm, think outside the box and work collaboratively with our Sustainability Office team.
An example of their key projects is Toitū Te Whenua, Sustainability Week.
In 2020 Sustainability week captured the reset after our country’s pandemic lockdown so encouraged our staff and students to “Reboot”. The week offered 19 events in five days, focusing on a range of solutions and alternatives that could help people live sustainably. During this week, we collaborated with 22 groups, organisations, and businesses, engaged with more than 500 students, and reached 200 staff.
In 2021 this annual week-long campaign hosted a range of events that encompassed sustainable education, awareness, and solutions. As always, almost every event included either one key collaborator or multiple partners. Our Tētēkura’s ideas are incorporated in the programme, they provide vital help running events, they enable wider engagement just through their presence, and they have a unique ability to talk peer-to-peer with students. This helps ensure sustainable action is seen as a collective effort and helps to share the space with others doing great things.
Key events included a skip diversion day, submission writing workshops, a Sustainability Market, bike grab, sustainability pub quiz, Recycling Centre garage sale, social media takeovers, Lorax movie night and connections to funding for good ideas.
Sustainability Week’s launch was a hit, with our social media promotion reaching about 7,200 people.
Skip Diversion Day took place at a huge scale with six tonnes of glass, two skips of cardboard skips and eight loads of cans being removed throughout the day as students were encouraged to sort waste from their flats to avoid it ending up in landfill.
There was an SDG theme where we d encouraged our community to ‘Be a Legend’, which we captured in a video (see link below). During the week, we collaborated with 38 groups, organisations, and businesses, engaged with more than 500 staff and students, and sold out our Planet D Drag Show in five days, bringing 140 people into the room to learn how wellbeing, gender equality and equity connect to sustainability through the SDGs (SDG’s 3, 5 & 10)
The key events included meat-free campus, Planet D Drag Show, a Sustainability Market, well-being events, social media takeovers, sustainable living workshops, a bike grab, and connections to funding for good ideas.
Sustainability Week’s 16 events in seven days enabled staff and students to be involved at the highest levels we have seen, especially with our social media promotion reaching about 7,950 people.
We wanted to ensure the Drag Show’s impact reached further than our campus so gave all profits from ticket sales to Dunedin Pride. This resulted in a $1,488 donation that will go towards continuing the success of programmes like Alphabet Soup Dunedin and Rainbow Leaders, and supporting our LGBTQIA+ youth to feel empowered and connected right here in Ōtepoti (Dunedin). Facebook Event Link Undergrad Magazine