Green signal

Student-led initiatives will guide the progress of Xavier College,
which has signed up to a significant Sustainability Victoria program.

 CARING FOR OUR COMMON HOME 

By Catherine Holmes 
Humanities and Sustainability Leader at Xavier College, Kew 

Xavier College has joined the Victorian Government’s ResourceSmart Schools program. This award-winning program, led by Sustainability Victoria, assists schools in embedding sustainability in everything they do. The ResourceSmart Schools program started in 2008 and provides practical support to schools to reduce resources and costs by integrating sustainability into the curriculum and share learnings beyond the school gate.   

The program includes five different modules, Core, Energy, Waste, Water and Biodiversity, with a star awarded on the completion of each module. As explained in the Star Progression Page on the program’s website: “Stars are obtained through completion of modules and by meeting benchmarks for resource use. The stars are valid for four years. Schools receive their first star once their Core Module is certified by Sustainability Victoria. Schools can progress from the one-star level up to five stars and move towards becoming a Leadership School. Each of the five stars has specific requirements for completion. Schools are required to complete additional actions in the modules and to meet and maintain resource benchmarks.” 

Achieving 5 Star Certification is the pinnacle of the ResourceSmart Schools initiative, awarded to schools that have fully embedded sustainability in everything they do, with ongoing and proven results. Our goal is to become such a school. The Sustainability Team and Environment Club will be completing actions towards certification over the coming years, ensuring that the decisions made along the journey are student-led.  

Along with ResourceSmart Schools, the College will also work towards Catholic Earthcare Schools accreditation. This program links closely with ResourceSmart Schools and particularly celebrates the connection between sustainability and caring for our common home. This supports the premise behind Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical about caring for our common home and hearing and responding to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. These accreditation programs will guide our sustainability journey over the coming years.  

Sustainability, Planning and Building Board Committee 

The Board will also work with the broader school community on these and other sustainability initiatives, particularly through a name change to its Planning and Building Committee, which is now known as the Sustainability, Planning and Building Committee. The intention behind this name change is to highlight the importance of sustainability as a key driver behind our various planning and building projects. The Kostka Building is an example of how we can elevate sustainability in such building initiatives. 

Student events  

In 2024, students will be involved in a number of events to raise awareness of environmental issues and undertake initiatives that will support the sustainability of our College. In Environment Club, students will discuss environmental issues, plan awareness events and participate in some upcycling projects. Students are currently using old and worn red jumpers from the Early Years students to create poppies that will be sold on Remembrance Day to raise money for Legacy. This will be an ongoing activity where students can reduce our impact on the environment and prevent old uniforms ending up as waste. The Senior Campus also participated in Earth Hour on 22 March, where all lights were switched off around the school for one hour to raise awareness of our impact on the Earth. 

Students represented Xavier College at the Melbourne Girls’ College Pedal Cinema on 23 February. Ten students from Years 10 to 12 pedalled exercise bikes to help generate energy for the electricity needs of the cinema event. In a 35-minute timeslot they generated 129 watt hours of electricity! They also ran a stall that showcased some of our student-led initiatives at the College. Members of the Environment Club and broader student body will continue to represent our College in similar events throughout the year. The students are very excited to be involved this year and look forward to running events, including during Environment Week this term.  

The original version of this article was published in ‘Xavier News’. 

Banner image by Siri Wannapat, Canva