2014 International Green Gown Awards - Presented at the Australasia Green Gown Awards Ceremony

The International Green Gown Awards were announced on 6th November 2014 at the ACTS Conference in Tasmania, Australia. Tertiary education institutions from Australasia, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg went head to head to win coveted International Awards.

RMIT University (Australia) was awarded the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change Award for their vision of shaping sustainable cities. Hull College (UK) won the Social Responsibility Award for their inspiring project to transform derelict properties and Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) won the Student Engagement Award for their passionate student-led food network.

The winners were announced at a prestigious Awards evening at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart, featuring the national Green Gown Awards Australasia ceremony. The Awards, presented by Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens, was a night for celebrating the extraordinary sustainability achievements across our campuses.

The International Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by further and higher education institutions. The Awards cover all aspects of institutional activities – from their teaching and research, leadership, buildings and food to how students can benefit from the quality of life in the communities around them. The Awards are judged by an esteemed panel of sector representatives and experts in their own field. The judging criteria is based on the sustainability projects as a whole with the deciding factor being the project with the largest scale of impact.

The Green Gown Awards are delivered regionally with the winners from each of the regions going head-to-head for the coveted International titles. A snapshot of the international Winners follows:

Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change – RMIT University (Australia) – with “Shaping sustainable cities”. RMIT’s vision is to be urban in orientation and creativity, shaping sustainable cities and drawing inspiration from the challenges and opportunities they provide.

Social Responsibility – Hull College (UK) with “East Hull Voids transform lives”. The project supports families in-need by transforming run-down and derelict properties into modern and affordable homes in the community.

Student Engagement – Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) with “MetMUnch”. A student-led food network with a passion for food! Capturing a zeitgeist for ‘popup’ sustainable food events, it brings affordable, nutritional, local and sustainable food to student communities and beyond.

The Australasia Awards are now in their 5th year. Delivered by Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS), President Leanne Denby says,”The success and reach of the International Green Gown Awards continues to go from strength to strength. As always, ACTS is delighted to be a part of this fabulous mechanism for recognising and rewarding the excellent work of institutions from across Australia, New Zealand, the UK and now French-speaking Europe. Recognising the ongoing and impactful efforts of institutions in the sector is so important, as it shows that tertiary education is committed to sustainability and the place we have in changing unsustainable paradigms and thinking.”

The UK Awards are delivered by EAUC. Now in their 10th year, the national winners were recently announced at The University of Manchester, England on Monday 3 November. Chief Executive, Iain Patton, describes the importance of the International Green Gown Awards, “The ethos of the Green Gown Awards has always been to ensure that we learn from each other and help our universities and colleges improve but most importantly we seek to engage and enthuse our students in searching for solutions to the problems we as citizens of a small shared planet have created. The International Green Gown Awards share the great practice that is taking place across the globe.”

2014 has seen the Green Gown Awards go truly global. With the launch of the inaugural French- speaking Green Gown Awards, which are open to all French speaking universities and colleges, schools and specialised institutes in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg, Pauline Pingusson from Campus Responsables, delivery partner for the French-speaking Green Gown Awards, says “We are very happy to offer French-speaking campuses the opportunity to be part of this great event and to promote actions led by French-speaking campuses, on a national, but also European and international scale. We are convinced that sharing experiences and best practices is the key to making tertiary education more sustainable.”

Building on this momentum, saw the signing of a unique agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The partnership with UNEP will expand the International Green Gown Awards further across the globe with an emphasis on profiling and learning from the Southern Hemisphere. This exciting partnership will put universities and colleges as leaders in sustainability as well as being able to continue their learning from global leaders.