TropEco Awards recognize sustainability achievements at JCU

James Cook University recently held the third annual TropEco Sustainability Awards in Cairns and Townsville to acknowledge the sustainability achievements of students and staff in 2013.

James Cook University
Study environmental science at JCU

Sixty-nine nominations were received across the five award categories.

“The response this year was phenomenal and the calibre of nominations was very high, which made judging extremely difficult,” said Adam Connell, JCU Environment Manager.

This year, student involvement was highly evident with students or student-led initiatives taking out four out of the five awards and another 10 receiving recognition as a highly commended.

“It’s great to see the students coming on board and championing sustainability initiatives on campus and in the community,” Adam commented. “These are our future leaders and it gives hope to see we are producing well-rounded graduates who understand and can tackle the global challenges we’re facing now and into the future.”

This year saw five awards presented, along with highly commended entries for both Cairns and Townsville in each category.

“This year the awards continued to focus on the four C’s that make up a sustainable institution: Campus, Curriculum, Culture and Community,” the James Cook University Environment Manager commented. “In each category we look at the impacts the nominees have had on the triple bottom line of social, environmental and economic sustainability.”

The fifth award presented on the night was the TropEco Excellence Award, which recognizes an individual who has had a major impact on improving the sustainability of JCU.

Annemarie Theuma, Vice President of the JCU Student Association took out the TropEco Excellence Award for her work in undertaking a sustainability audit on the Student Association’s operations and then implementing the Green Switch program, a series of initiatives that have vastly improved the sustainability of the Student Association in Cairns.

Annemarie and her colleague Shelley Smith also took out the Culture Award for their work with Green Switch.

“Receiving the award was unexpected and I am incredibly grateful for the recognition,” Annemarie commented. “To me, it means that my work is making a difference amongst students, and is creating a greater sense of responsibility towards creating a sustainable future on campus.”

About the TropEco program at James Cook University

The TropEco program at James Cook University aims to actively involve staff and students in sustainability-related activities with the objective of changing behaviours and culture within the university and wider community over the coming years. The program is focused on large-scale behavioral change by providing fun and engaging activities and programs for staff and students.
Some of the major points of focus for TropEco:
  • Energy and water consumption
  • Sustainable transport
  • Carbon management
  • Recycling and waste
  • Biodiversity and environment
  • Food sustainability and community gardens
  • Green Colleges
  • Sustainability Interns program
  • Green Reps – staff and students
  • Linking campus and curriculum
  • Sustainability Events
  • Development of a Sustainability Committee for JCU

    JCU programs of interest


    Master of Science (Protected Area Management) 
    Protected areas include marine and terrestrial national parks and World Heritage Areas. The protection of these areas is dependent upon their continued management. There are more than 120,000 protected areas worldwide, and their success depends on how well they are managed. This 1.5-year program provides specialist training for science graduates already working in this area (national parks and world heritage listed areas), or people wanting to work in this field.

    Master of Development Practice
    The Master of Development Practice is a two-year degree providing graduate-level students with the skills and knowledge to address the global development challenges of poverty alleviation, health, environmental conservation, climate change and agriculture. Students will benefit from a broad, multidisciplinary program that includes field experience in northern Australia and Indonesia with the possibility of additional field experience in other SE Asian countries. Students will be encouraged to work in teams to tackle real-world problems both through case studies on campus and through the field work in complex local contexts. The special challenges to sustainable development in tropical forest and coastal regions will be addressed through a focus on insular South East Asia and the Pacific. The Master of Development Practice is designed to produce a cohort of skilled development practitioners and effective advocates of sustainable development practice.


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