For the group project which consisted of an open brief regarding food waste and management, all group members concluded that we would like to explore the importance of sound education to raise awareness and value with this issue.
Thus our main objective was to:
Promote Waste Management Education through ‘For Purpose’ initiative and in an event store
- That is able to flexibly integrate and work with existing UTS events/initiative/expos
- That educates UTS student body and faculty about food waste segregation and management through games, apps, booth activities.
We agreed that a lack of understanding of the UTS waste system discourages the student body to participate and be educated in better practices surrounding waste segregation. This observation was majorly based on a series of investigations such as personal interviews, literature reviews, student surveys, boundary mapping and STEEP Analysis.
Interview #1: Seb Crawford (UTS Green, Sustainability Coordinator)
From the interviews conducted with Seb Crawford we wanted to explore the initiatives that UTS had taken upon in regard to education and awareness of food waste management. From this, we were informed that “most of the education happened during the rollout of the food waste stream under the branding of “UTS Cleans Up.” The waste stream is a 2015 initiative that introduces food wastes bins to be collected separately and hand sorted, which is then processed in a piloted composting machine on campus, Building 10.
Although improvements in waste management have occurred, single handed observation as a student body have agreed that there were still mixed wastes and lack of active participation of the students. This further led to the question of the student’s personal awareness of food management affecting their engagement and behaviour. Thus, a general student survey was conducted around the campus.
A general survey asked a small group of the student body (46 respondees) about their level of understanding of the food waste management at UTS, and how much they know about the realised composting process that occurs at UTS. 80% indicated a poor knowledge of their understanding of food waste management, and 92% commented that although they were aware of the organic bins around campus, they did not know a lot of the process and how to work properly with the bin system.
Interview #2: Simone Soeters (Batyr@UTS)
Batyr@UTS is a non for profit organisation aimed at raising mental health awareness within the campus through Batyr Student Executive who act as Batyr student ambassadors on campus, (who allow) positive conversations about mental health (to be) encouraged. They also run numerous events on campus to get more students involved and also manage online mental health awareness campaigns. It held similar attributes to our main objectives of personal education in raising awareness, especially as they believe that “engaging in ‘direct personal contact’ with individuals” demonstrates an effective way to accomplish their mission. Their 2016 Impact Report for UTS indicates that around 80% of responders are satisfied with their program and have a great level of student engagement with their initiatives.
- “Waste Education and Awareness Strategy” Procedia- Social and Behavioural Sciences
- “Empowering Education” Shor, I.
Both reviewed articles explored were to further understand the importance of education in imprinting a change in societal values and beliefs. Both articles supported the importance of earlier intervention to promote a greater effect. This is particularly summarised in the following statements confidently suggesting “that a carefully through-out waste education and awareness strategy should be developed in order to change students’ habits and behaviour and traditions.” (Waste Education and Awareness Strategy (Procedia); thus resolving that “Empowering education is oriented to self-transformation and social change” (Shor 1992, p. 188)
STEEP Analysis and Mapping
Broader forms of research method included the STEEP analysis to discuss the impact of the project brief on multiple systems (Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, Political). Mapping was also implemented to realise the different boundaries of the project brief in the context of the university, as well as the hierarchical structure and possible stakeholders that would express interest in the initiative of waste management through education and marketing.
- Overview | University of Technology Sydney. 2017. Overview | University of Technology Sydney. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.uts.edu.au/staff/cleans-up/overview. [Accessed 08 June 2017].
- Waste Education and Awareness Strategy: Towards Solid Waste Management (SWM) Program at UKM – ScienceDirect. 2017. Waste Education and Awareness Strategy: Towards Solid Waste Management (SWM) Program at UKM – ScienceDirect. [ONLINE] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.244. [Accessed 08 June 2017].
- Shor, I, 2012. Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change. 1. University of Chicago Press.