CARING FOR OUR COMMON HOME
By Jason Scanlon, Head of Rozelle Campus, St Aloysius’ College Milsons Point
One of our key achievements is the reduction of our carbon footprint through various initiatives. Our newly refurbished Campus provides energy-efficient lighting systems, significantly reducing energy consumption.
Additionally, our Contemplatives in Action (CIA) Sustainability class is exploring with Inner West Council the possibility of future installation of solar panels on the Campus that will not only generate clean energy but also serve as an educational tool for students who are interested in renewable energy technologies.
At the Rozelle Campus, we are promoting waste reduction and proper waste management practices. Recycling bins are strategically placed throughout the campus, making it easy for everyone to dispose of paper, plastic and glass items responsibly. Our composting program has also gained momentum, turning organic waste into nutrient-rich soil for our new gardens.
Our Campus boasts native plant gardens that attract local wildlife and contribute to a healthier ecosystem. Students have taken an active role in maintaining these spaces, learning about the importance of preserving and nurturing biodiversity.
Sustainability education is at the core of our mission, especially as articulated by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’. We have integrated sustainability concepts into our CIA class, ensuring that students are equipped with the knowledge and tools to become environmental stewards. We have partnered with our neighbours at Sydney Community College, learning about their Indigenous community garden located on Gordon Street. Guest lectures, workshops, and field trips provide hands-on learning experiences that inspire our students to think critically about environmental issues.
In a bid to reduce single-use plastics, we continue to encourage awareness about the preferred use of biodegradable and reusable containers. Water refill stations have been strategically placed around campus, encouraging students and staff to use refillable water bottles instead of disposable ones. This simple change has had a profound impact on reducing plastic waste.
As we reflect on our beginnings, we also recognise the importance of continuously striving for improvement. Our goal is to establish a sustainability action plan led by our CIA class, which is partnering with our Binsey Group, comprising students and teachers, to brainstorm innovative ideas and ensure that sustainability remains a central focus of our Campus ethos.
Together, we know we can make a difference. Our sustainable Campus serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when a community comes together with a shared vision for a better, greener future. We are all focused on highlighting sustainability in every aspect of our lives.
One of our students, Joshua Soo, recently wrote: “With the ongoing disasters caused by climate change, it is important to highlight the need for more sustainability within society. Introducing the CIA Sustainability course encourages sustainable practices and promotes sustainability within our Rozelle community. In the CIA Sustainability group, we strive to establish a sustainable focus at Rozelle, benefiting our community here and more to come.
“Through the CIA Sustainability course, our team has introduced many steps to achieve this. These include:
- The worm farm: By setting up a worm farm, we are killing two birds with one stone. Not only does it help our garden, but it reduces the food waste produced by the community.
- Compost: Like a worm farm, compost is also beneficial to our garden and reduces waste.
- Garden: A garden promotes sustainability whilst providing the community with fresh produce.
“The CIA Sustainability group is really proud of these achievements and hopes their legacy has an impact on future Year 9 cohorts to come.”
Joseph Histon, another student, wrote: “At the onset of the academic year, we embarked on a mission to not only cultivate plants but also to sow the seeds of sustainability throughout our campus. The journey commenced with a collective decision-making process where we deliberated on the types of plants, vegetables, and herbs that would thrive in our local environment, as well as maximum space optimisation for our campus.
“However, the path to a flourishing garden wasn’t devoid of hurdles. Our attempts to establish a community garden at O’Connor Reserve hit a roadblock due to local land ownership issues. This setback only served to reinforce our determination. Through multiple visits to Bunnings and numerous discussions, we acquired (materials for) garden beds, as well as essential tools and our signature Bunnings hats, to pursue our commitment to this green initiative.
“With the physical groundwork complete, it was time to welcome life into our garden beds. An assortment of seeds and seedlings including lettuce, tomatoes, kale, beans, beetroot, carrots, strawberries and an array of herbs and spices were carefully planted. Each act of planting was a lesson in patience and anticipation, as we nurtured these delicate lives while tending to our compost bin and worm farm.
“Today, as we reflect on our journey, we find ourselves at a point of transition. Our efforts have borne fruit – quite literally. Luscious green leaves and vibrant blossoms now grace our Campus, testament to our dedication. Looking forward, we are in the midst of planning a future wall garden, an innovative step that will not only expand our horizons, but also provide a home for more plants and ideas. Our Gardening CIA elective has been more than just about cultivating crops; it’s about cultivating a sense of responsibility.”