MGA Sustainability

The MGA uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to guide our actions and help place sustainable practices and targets at the core of our organisation.

Sustainability is important to the MGA: it’s important to our graduate students, our staff and the broader University community. Sustainability is more than just preventing climate change: it’s also about equality, a fair world and creating a bright future for everyone. Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to guide our actions, MGA aims to leave behind services and events we’re proud of – not a carbon footprint.

Sustainability matters to our graduate students

The Research. According to the ‘Climate of the Nation 2021’ report (Quicke 2021), 87% of young Australians (aged 25-34; the average age of our grads) believe climate change is happening. Young Australians are supportive of emissions-reductions strategies and are increasingly saying they intend to adopt more sustainable behaviours (Quicke 2021; Kachaner et al. 2020). Additionally, climate change has been shown to be three times more concerning than COVID-19 to Australians (Ingle & Mikulewicz 2020), impacting mental health and causing ‘eco-anxiety’, which can impact academic performance (Bas 2021).

The first-hand experience. Now more than ever, grads want to be part of a sustainable future. They drink coffee in MGA reusable cups, attend classes via Zoom, and take public transport when they do come to their campus. They ask what we are doing to decrease our environmental impact and how we  aim to ensure there are equal opportunities for everyone.

Sustainability matters to our Executive Committee and staff

Each month, members of our Executive Committee and professional staff come together to discuss the MGA’s sustainability journey. We share our successes, discuss new initiatives and ideate on further improvements to the sustainable operations of our organisation. We’re also incorporating the UN SDG targets into our professional staff position descriptions and the Executive Committee is directing our operations to be more gender-equitable (50% female committee membership) and sustainable in its food choices (towards 100% vegetarian catering by 2023).

This year we have two office teams participating in the Australian/NZ Green Impact competition, making sustainable changes to our operations and raising awareness of sustainable practices.

MGA taking action on climate change

The MGA has undertaken an audit of the carbon emissions of our operations in 2021. Read the full report here.

Our emissions were similar to that of the professional services sector, and well below the average tertiary education sector emissions. To neutralise our 2021 emissions, the MGA purchased carbon offsets supporting the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor. We chose this project because it focusses on revegetation of deforested pasture land in Australia and has a strong emphasis on the employment and inclusion of the local Indigenous community.

Our Sustainable Practices

  • Food Vouchers as part of the MGA Welfare Assistance Program.
  • Regular free food events.
  • Free groceries for graduate students at our regular Pop-up Grocer.
  • Occasional free lunch initiative with Notting Hill Community Centre, local to Clayton Campus.
  • Collaboration with the Department of Psychology to tailor the Thrive portal to graduate students.
  • Participation in Mental Health week in May.
  • Fitness groups: Yoga and Badminton.
  • Free mini-massages and yoga during MGA Fuel Your Study Week.
  • Graduate student representative on the Athena SWAN Steering Committee.
  • Family-friendly spaces.
  • MGAEC female quota and dedicated Women’s Officer.
  • MGA office focus on reduce, reuse, recycle practices.
  • Focus on OHS practices in the office with a dedicated staff-elected OHS officer.
  • Equity positions on the MGAEC: Women’s’ Officer, Queer Officer.
  • Free social events for the queer graduate student community to connect.
  • Advocacy service for all types of student issues including discrimination and harassment.
  • Encouraging staff to ride-share and use transport where possible with office Myki cards and car-pooling between campuses.
  • Lobbying Monash University for extended shuttle bus services between campuses.
  • Lobbying the Victorian State Government for public transport concessions for graduate students.

Read more about the current issues we are lobbying for here.

  • Partnership with Farmer’s Pick for the MGA Pop-Up Grocer.
  • Engaging graduate students in MGA Sustainability Week – coming in October 2022.
  • Conscientious merchandise decisions: plastic-free pens, take-away containers and reusable bottles and cups.

How grads can get involved

  • Get your own MGA reusable cups, containers and bottles to use when on campus.
  • Bring your own bag and containers to our pop-up grocer or free lunch events.
  • Participate in an MGA event or service knowing that we are off-setting our emissions.
  • Participate in MGA Be the Change Week, 4 – 6 October 2022.
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The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

“The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.”