About the team

In 2022, the ‘Nightingales’ won the Engagement Innovation Award as part of the inaugural Green Impact Awards at Griffith University. The Engagement Innovation Award recognises teams that think creatively in the way they engage staff, students and their local community in sustainability activities.

The ‘Nightingales’ team, named after Florence Nightingale, herself an innovator and reformer, drove positive impact within the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Here they engaged approximately 900 students, who saved 1.28 tonnes of medical waste from landfill by mid-2022. Students not only cleaned and reused syringes, lines, fluid bags and soft plastics in their nursing simulation labs, they were required to track the items that were reused. The Nightingale team identified that by tracking their sustainability actions visually with staff and students encouraged ongoing behavioural change.

Additionally, the Nightingales team also created a collaborative green space; the ‘Nightingales Sustainable Balcony Retreat’. This space provides a meeting place, that actively engages staff and students from across the university, with biodiversity and wellbeing actions. The Sustainable Balcony Retreat includes a vertical garden, with herbs that can be taken home for cooking, a cutting swap area, upcycled furniture that would otherwise end up in landfill. The team has even collated a mini-photography exhibition on the wall, taken of local wildfire from Toohey Forest by one of their own team members.

We call the balcony, the “Seed to Sustainability” because it started so humbly but has grown so much and has inspired so many people to join in and make similar environments at home. It is the perfect example of ‘just starting’, starting with something simple and a little idea, and just adding on top of it as you go to make it into something beautiful.

Maureen Connell

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