The Green Gown Awards Australasia are open to all Australian and New Zealand tertiary education institutions including universities, TAFE, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). The Awards are free and open to any institution type or size, apart from the Individual ACTS Award of Excellence which are only available for current ACTS members.

New and exciting changes this year!

  • New and revised categories – making the awards relevant for you
  • Simplified application process – making applying easier and quicker!

2018 Categories

Organisational categories:

  • Benefitting Society – REVISED
  • Campus Health, Food & Drink – NEW
  • Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change
  • Creating Impact
  • Learning, Teaching & Skills
  • Student Engagement
  • Sustainable Campus – NEW

Individual and Team categories:

  • Outstanding Leadership Team – NEW
  • ACTS Award of Excellence Staff
  • ACTS Award of Excellence Student

Generic Criteria

To make a strong application please provide facts and figures to support your application and meet all the criteria within your chosen category. You should also include the following generic criteria:

  • Demonstrate the impact of any measures taken and show documented outcomes.
  • Provide clear quantitative data to support claims being made.
  • If submitting under the Sustainable Campus category, you must include overall tonnes of CO2 saved. Include, where appropriate, metrics such as: carbon savings relative to output/activity. This might be tCO2/student or tCO2/staff member and/or cost of a project relative to the amount of carbon that has been saved, i.e. $/tCO2
  • Provide industry norm versus over and above requirements.
  • Applications need to go above and beyond standard practice.
  • Document mature projects which have been evaluated and monitored longitudinally. Note: for any building projects, the building must be completed and date of completion included within the application.
  • Explain clearly how the project includes academic staff and/or professional sector staff/support staff, students and include numbers of those involved. Where students and staff are involved, as well as numbers, include how they were involved and what impact/influence they had.
  • If a joint partnership or third parties are included please provide details on the roles of all parties and state who is the main driver.
  • Explain any KPI’s that are relevant to your application and any relevant costs/resources, inputs/outputs. For example: Before initiative: 10% of students were engaged. After initiative: 70% of students were engaged.

Organisational Awards

Benefitting Society REVISED

As anchors in their communities and cities, tertiary education institutions benefit society in many ways. This category captures the powerful and innovative ways education institutions are realising their purpose in today’s society to benefit the lives of individuals, communities and wider society. Examples will range from economic, social and environmental impacts with organisations and sectors outside the institution where innovative new approaches to bringing positive benefit can be found.

Although all applications will be considered on their merits, the judges will particularly be looking for innovative community engagement type of initiatives which have an element of proactive, new, community and social concern and positive impacts, rather than the very worthy and commendable ‘grass roots’ and ‘business as usual’ activities. Amongst others, examples might include how an institution applies and exchanges its student and academic knowledge with communities or partner organisations, how it uses its finances and investments, how it designs and manages its campus – all to demonstrate its values and the positive value it brings to society. A powerful example of such innovative and proactive engagement is the Living Lab approach: establishing projects that draw on students’ curricular work or academic research to address real sustainability challenges in stakeholder partnerships with community bodies.

Activities which have a substantial student element should be submitted to the Student Engagement category. This category replaces the former Community category.

The winning entry will automatically be put forward for the International Green Gown Award for Benefitting Society.

Campus Health, Food & Drink NEW

This category includes all food, drink and hospitality aspects of healthy, sustainable institutions. Applications are to be beyond good practice and that standard credentials, as examples of good practice, will usually be in place. It includes innovative campaigns across institutions that show creativity and consideration for how healthy food and drink is procured and served and ultimately how behaviour change and where appropriate, health and well-being, has been encouraged across staff, students and the broader community. In particular, judges will be looking for the whole life-cycle approach from concept to waste; promoting awareness (being informed); making informed choices (considering environmental and social issues); improving entire systems (by avoiding decisions that fix one problem but cause another) and informed selections (putting decisions in context with facts from all parts of the life-cycle).

Examples could include new and innovative ways of promoting food and/or health, the sourcing and provenance of food served on site, health and wellness focus across menu creation and provision or the design/layout of the hospitality space at large to cater for well-being and other needs. It could cover reduction in food waste, packaging or a drive to educate and grow awareness of a specific key challenge within the institution.

Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change

This category recognises sustained and successful activities to improve the sustainability performance of tertiary education institutions, faculties and buildings, via a whole of institution approach, over a number of years. To improve social responsibility and environmental performance through a whole of institution approach, strategic sustainability activities through four main areas must be achieved:

  • Leadership and Governance
  • Facilities and Operations
  • Learning, Teaching and Research
  • Partnerships and Engagement

Applications are only likely to be successful if they provide considerable quantitative evidence on the nature of the improvements made and also demonstrate a causal relationship between activities undertaken and improvements achieved based on the four key areas. Economic cost savings, where appropriate and if available would also be welcome. Initiatives must have been running for at least two years.

Judges will be looking for specific areas where it is felt that the institution is distinctive compared to its peers, and provide supporting evidence of holistic improvement. Tangible evidence of high level commitment, and its incorporation into management procedures, will also carry great weight with the judges.

NOTE: Judges have the discretion to award a small and large institution winner for this category only. (A small institution is defined as having less than 15,000 full time equivalent (FTE) enrolled students). The awarding of two winners is not mandatory and will only be awarded based on applications of a high quality.

The winning entry will automatically be put forward for the International Green Gown Award for Sustainability Institution of the Year (formerly Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change).

Creating Impact

This category recognises institutions that have achieved significant sustainability-related outcomes, on campus or within their community, using minimal and/or limited resources. Initiatives need to demonstrate the relationship/link between the number of resources used (for example staffing, budget, time) and the level of impact achieved (for example quantifiable changes in behaviours and/or reportable metrics). Initiatives could include: those which can demonstrate significant sustainability achievements (such as sustainable products, processes or learnings) in a relatively short period and/or with a restricted budget, and/or with a small staff base e.g. good progress from a low base. Projects that raise the broader profile of sustainability will be particularly favoured.

Applications must show how learning from others has been implemented and for the greater chance of success go beyond legal compliance. Initiatives can cover a single aspect of sustainability or have multiple foci, including but not limited to: facilities & operations; learning & teaching, research; leadership and governance; community; procurement, and; engagement. However, regardless of the topical focus, the primary aim of this category is to demonstrate how institutions can still achieve creative and high impact outcomes with limited resources.

Learning, Teaching & Skills

This category recognises achievement in the development of academic courses, skills and capabilities relevant to sustainability. These can be vocational, undergraduate or postgraduate courses or related to wider purposes such as community involvement, global or environmental awareness or to support lifestyle changes.

Examples of possible application topics include:

  • Effective integration of sustainability principles and/or practices within and across disciplines and existing courses, especially those not traditionally engaged with sustainability;
  • The development of new courses focused on sustainability issues;
  • Use of practical sustainability-related projects or other practical activities within courses including work-based learning initiatives.
  • Training for apprenticeships;
  • Continuing professional development (CPD) activities;
  • Skill-focused courses leading to professional or vocational qualifications;
  • Adult & community learning, and short courses for practitioners and;
  • Demonstrating/implementing sustainability practices in the workplace.

Applications can be made for activities connected with undergraduate or other academic courses if there is a practical focus on the development of specific skills which goes beyond the normal activities of the disciplinary curriculum, e.g. running community-based projects which give students considerable autonomy and develop their communication, management abilities etc.

Student Engagement

This category recognises initiatives which have been developed and/or substantially influenced by students. Activities aimed at raising awareness and changing the behaviour of student groups, staff or communities are favoured. However the relationship between staff and students to ensure maximum understanding and engagement across an institution is essential.

Applications need to reflect that often students and staff work together to achieve these goals using “top-down method” and “grass roots method” to achieve maximum understanding and engagement across an institution. This in turn aids student progress and allows for opportunities to gain transferable employability skills. Activities should demonstrate the student input and the staff commitment and the relationship between the two.

Examples may include:

  • Awareness and communication campaigns
  • Procurement actions
  • Volunteering activities organised by unions, societies and similar organisations within institutions
  • Social media projects
  • Community Initiatives
  • Sustainability reporting and websites

Applications must include the numbers of students and staff involved, how they are involved and what impact/influence they have had. Applications are welcomed from institutions and student bodies.

The winning entry will automatically be put forward for the International Green Gown Award for Student Engagement.

Sustainable Campus NEW

Building on the previous Carbon Reduction category, this category recognises pathfinding campus and learning innovation. Traditional campus and learning processes are challenged and advances in internet connectivity, artificial intelligence and augmented reality have scope to transform campuses and learning into more immersive and more sustainable experiences. Similarly, the digital revolution is driving smart buildings, intelligent campuses and step-change advances in carbon reduction across all aspects of an institution.

Next-generation campuses are championing climate adaptation, biodiversity, student well-being, waste reduction, better procurement, sustainable travel, cross-discipline and social space design. Others are pioneering solid linkage with the local community in supporting embedded energy supply and grid reduction through a joined-up approach for example in local ‘smart grid’ infrastructure. The possibilities are endless, and judges will particularly look for a whole–institution mix of carbon reduction and enhancement of learning and wider student and community outcomes.

Applications are only likely to be successful if they provide quantitative evidence on the nature of the improvements made and demonstrate a causal relationship between activities undertaken and improvements achieved.

This category replaces the former Carbon Reduction and Facilities and Services categories.

Individual and Team Awards

ACTS Award of Excellence Staff

The Individual Staff Award is open to all staff members, at any level, within an ACTS member institution, who deserve recognition for continued and on-going effort to improve sustainability performance. The individual will have worked hard to implement sustainability initiatives that have had a positive impact on the sustainability achievements of an institution or beyond. This could be through the leadership of students or peers, greening of campuses, the sharing of knowledge and/or resources and behaviour change, internally within the community or wider sector and internationally.
Nominations must demonstrate a range of sustainability achievements, over and above normal job requirements, including extra-curricular activities, outside the allocated department/workplace. Applications should provide evidence of scale and impact, and of good leadership/championing practice in engaging and inspiring others.

NOTE: Individuals can complete the application form but cannot apply themselves. The submission must be nominated by a manager or peer within or outside the sector. Winners for this category will be decided by an independent judging panel.

ACTS Award of Excellence Student

The Individual Student Award is open to any student within an ACTS member institution, who deserves recognition for sustainability-related activities undertaken. The individual will have worked hard to be involved in implementing sustainability initiatives that have had a positive impact on their peers, local community or institution. Activities may include campaigning, inspiring and motivating others or championing a cause on campus or outside. If studying a sustainability-related topic, activities over and above normal course requirements will be favoured. Initiatives or campaigns through an organised group or union are eligible, with judges favouring those that can demonstrate significant personal involvement or leadership.

NOTE: Individuals can complete the application form but cannot apply themselves. The submission must be nominated by a manager or peer within or outside the sector. Winners for this category will be decided by an independent judging panel.

Outstanding Leadership Team NEW

As sustainability mainstreams across an institution, leadership for sustainability is often distributed widely –  embracing both staff and students. This new category recognises the pioneering and innovative cross institution approaches education institutions are taking to deliver sustainability through whole-institution strategies and new organisational structures.

Judges will be looking for evidence of a clear high-level strategic approach – firstly how stakeholders at all levels are engaged in powerful strategic conversations, secondly how a truly integrated plan is constructed and communicated and thirdly the leadership of change and innovation to turn ideas into action. Outstanding applications must illustrate how the following groups impact and influence the team:

  • Governance and the Executive team
  • Deans and Directors
  • Sustainability delivery team
  • Champions
  • Students

This category reflects the innovation and leadership that institutions are taking in organising their staff and student structures to take a whole institution approach. This category is not just for a sustainability team or specific individuals but for the wider institution team approach.

NOTE: Applicants are to use the Individual/Team Application Form but the Award will be made to the institution. This category replaces the former Leadership category.