Sustainable Futures has engaged in a wide range of community-based programs for the wider Western Sydney community, as well as our own staff and students. Many of these projects have also been fostered through the RCE Greater Western Sydney (opens in a new window) network. Our enaggement activities from ranges from school programs to citizen science projects, all focused around sustainability.
If you would like to engage with our team on a sustainability project, please contact Sustainable Futures
Current and Past Programs
Love Food Hate Waste
The University is an associated partner in the Love Food Hate Waste (opens in a new window) program from 10 years. Sustainable Futures ran community, student and staff workshops each year (2010 - 2015) to promote the issues of wasting food and tip to help you waste less food to benefit your wallet and our environment in partnership with the Hawkesbury EarthCare Centre and Henry Doubleday Associatation. Love Food Hate Waste aims to raise awareness about the impact of food waste in NSW and reduce how much 'good' food we waste. The program is continued to be taught to Intergrated Science students, as well as through school-based engagement programs such as Heart Beat.
Sustainability Futures, Student Support Services and a small band of student volunteers spent several weeks in the commercial kitchen in M10 on the Hawkesbury campus cooking, tasting, evaluating and photographing each and every dish to ensure that the recipes were easy to follow, tasty and accurate for the Western Sydney "Community Cookbook" in 2013. The cookbook was designed to assist both our students, especially those in our residences, and staff to eat and live healthier and more sustainable. In addition, there are a number of useful tips, serving suggestions, flavour variations, ideas on using leftovers and storage procedures from Love Food Hate Waste. Hard copies are available from Sustainability Futures.
The University occupies an historic 40 hectare holding of prime agricultural land on the bank of the Hawkesbury River - including 1 kilometre of river frontage gazetted in 1799. The farm complex is made up of a circa 1900's cottage, a series of timber framed farm buildings, silos and a historically significant water pumping tower. The space was refurbished in 2012 by TAFE pre-apprentices. The river banks has been revegetated by Western Sydney students as part of Education for Sustainability with support from Greening Australia with species commonly found in River Flat Eucalypt Forest, a listed Endangered Ecological Community. The space is now operated by Local Land Services used as their demonstration farm site.
Dreaming on the Riverfarm
Dreaming on the Riverfarm – Stories from the Hawkesbury is an oral history about the Hawkesbury Riverfarm. The stories cover Pre-European settlement through to the present day uses by the Western Sydney University up until 2012. The program was funded as part of the a 2011-12 "Your Community Heritage" grant from the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. You can request a copy of the chapters from Sustainability Futures.
A schools engagement partnership between Western Sydney University and Public Schools NSW using 'Dreaming on the Riverfarm' oral history in a project for education in sustainability using 21st Century learning pedagogies. The project involves consultants, teachers and Year 6 students from Lapstone Primary School and Year 7 students Blaxland High School utilising their own responses reasearch and investigattion skills into the history of the Riverfarm. As part of this program teacher Mrs Paula Buttenshaw and her Year 6 students from Lapstone Primary School created a number of stories and artworks that depict their personal perspectives of Darug life before European Settlement on the banks of the Deerubbin, now known as the Hawkesbury River. An e-book (PDF) is are available from Sustainability Futures.
Connecting the Cumberland
Connecting the Cumberland was an exhibition held in the Discovery Centre on Hawkesbury campus, launched on in May 2014 discussing the issues from the critically endangered Cumerbland Plain Woodland. It also featured artwork by local school students. Every student from Year 3 – 6 at Willmot Public School participated in learning about bush regeneration using native wild flowers with Greening Australia and produced artworks on the past, present and future of the Cumberland Plain Woodland. The exhibition launch and day of activities for Willmot Public School students, teachers and principles. The student artwork was also turned into a book, with funding provided from National Parks and Wildlife Services. An e-book (PDF) is are available from Sustainability Futures.
Remembering H.A.C ANZAC Centenary
The exhibition titled, “From the Farm to the Battlefield” was launched on Remembrance Day in 2015 for the 100 years of ANZAC. The exhibition showcased the Hawkesbury Agricultural College (H.A.C.) students, ex-students and staff who served in World War I and features the personal experiences of life at the battlefront via letters written to the College from serving soldiers and now with the H.W. Potts Collection at the Mitchell Library. Using real artefacts, artwork and photographs, this exhibition also showcased experiences and stories from the Great War. This project was jointly funded by the Australian Government, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Western Sydney University and was in partnership with Richmond High School.
PowerFUL Youth Ambassadors Program
The Powerful Youth Ambassador initiative aimed to educate, empower and engage high school students and their families around these key issues, promote sustainable consumption of resources, foster environmental stewardship and encourage youth leadership in their schools, households and local communities across Greater Western Sydney. Participating schools were able to apply for a small grants to help turn their ideas into reality around energy and resource efficiency. The project was held in May 2017 across 3 Local Government Areas involving more than 100 high school students and was funded by the Western Sydney Community Forum (WSCF) in partnership with Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) under the Blacktown Energy Initiative (opens in a new window). The program involved a number of collaborating organisations under the UN endorsed Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development - RCE Greater Western Sydney (RCE-GWS), including: Blacktown City Council, Campbelltown City Council, City of Paramatta Council, Longneck Lagoon Environmental Education Centre, Western Sydney Solar Car Team and industry support from Ndver Environmental (keynote speaker). Download and read the PowerFUL project report (PDF, 8394.28 KB) (opens in a new window).
Schools for Sustainability
Run by both Penrith City Council and Campbelltown City Council in partnership with Sustainable Futures, local high school students explored global and local environmental issues through a series of engaging activities and renowned speakers. It challenged students to identify issues in the region they are passionate about and develop ideas on how your school can take actual steps to address sustainability issues. Participating schools were able to apply for a small grants to help turn their ideas into reality, supported by Western Sydney University.
Bee Aware of Your Native Bees
Bee Aware was a experiential learning focused, environmental education program based across selected sites in Greater Western Sydney and Lithgow. The program aimed to promote the conservation of native bees by building awareness of their existence and importance as pollinators, assessing current distribution, diversity and habitat preference and increasing existing populations by the installation of artificial 'bee hotels'. A number of community based workshops were held to learn what they look like, where they live, how to encourage them into the garden and to learn more about citizen science. This project was funded by the Office of Environment and Heritage Environmental Trust Grant and was made possible thanks to Bees Business.
Our Place, Our Voice: A PhotoVoice Exhibition
The "Our Place Our Voice" photo exhibition features the environmental and sustainability initiatives from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities across Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and the Illawara. Each community group have told their story through their own photos and language. The project is the culmination of a collaboration between the Office of Environment and Heritage (opens in a new page), Sustainable Futures, Centre for Educational Research (opens in a new window) and the United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development - Greater Western Sydney (RCE-GWS).
Jewel Beetle ID Kits
Sustainable Futures with academics and techincal staff from the School of Science have partnered with the Australian Museum (opens in a new window) to prepare a Jewel Beetle Identification Kit for use in the critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland in Greater Western Sydney. Jewel or metallic wood-boring beetles (family Buprestidae) are among one of the most spectacular groups of beetles with unique stunningly iridescently colours and patterns. An e-booklet (PDF) and hard copies is are available from Sustainability Futures.
RCE-GWS is committed to our region. Watch the highlight clip to learn more.