Exchange students help with ANU sustainability

24 August 2014

Two students from overseas universities have completed a special exchange program at ANU that enables them to provide input into sustainability on campus, while gaining practical experience that will count towards their degrees.

Cambridge University student Eleanor Hobson and National Singapore University student Yin Yue finished a six-week exchange program on campus as part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) summer exchange program.

The exchange program was set up in 2007 between ANU and 10 other universities that make up IARU. The aim of the program is to collaborate and share best-practice strategies for environmental management.

Hobson, 20, was tasked with examining the flow rates of taps and toilets around campus, while 21 year old Yin Yue, or Amelie, helped update the University’s database on the more than 900 light posts on campus, and the types of lights involved.

“You have a unique point, being a student, because you can work with the energy and environment section but you understand the position of undergraduates more,” Hobson said.

Both she and Amelie stayed at Bruce Hall during their six week stay.

Hobson says water usage on campus is important, especially when trying to reduce excess usage.

“The University, in 2012, used 420 megalitres of water between the residential halls and the departments,” she said.

“I think that’s about 420 Olympic 50 metre swimming pools. So it’s an enormous amount of water and about 60 per cent of that is used in bathrooms, toilets, sinks, amenities. So there’s a massive potential for savings with some very quick, easy changes.”

The Cambridge student, who is in her second year of a three year course in Land Economy, says she was even affectionately nicknamed Tap Girl by students at Bruce Hall, and says her friends would joke that if they ever needed to know where the nearest bathroom was, she could help them.

“It’s actually been so much fun – we’ve been living at Bruce,” she said, adding that the social aspects of her time here - including going to the Bruce Hall Ball and attending academic dinners - have helped them both students settle into life at ANU.

“ANU Green have also been amazing. They have brought us a constant supply of Tim Tams which we don’t have in the UK as well as lamington cakes.”

Amelie, 21, is in her third year of studying a Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the National University of Singapore. She says she would love to come back.

“In Singapore I also live in a hall but there is not much bonding there. But here, I love Bruce Hall very much,” Amelie says.
Australians in general are friendly people, she says.

“You don’t actually need to ask for help, they just offer help on the street.”

Hobson recommends ANU students apply for future exchange programs with IARU.

“You’re on the other side of the world, you won’t have to pay for anything. Money isn’t something you have to worry about, which is so nice when you’re a student. Everyone is so friendly, you’re living with other students, you’re getting their opinion, you’re experiencing another type of university.”

More information on the IARU student exchange program can be found on the Sustainability website.