Trinity College is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and creating a sustainable and healthy environment for our students and staff, now and into the future.

Recognising Trinity College's environmental impact and its responsibility to shape a better world through education and its own actions, the College developed a Sustainability Strategy, which set a number of targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water usage, as well as recycling. The Strategy has three distinct but related themes.

Theme 1: Taking Responsibility for a Sustainable College

The College will operate in a sustainable manner by reducing its carbon footprint improving water management, recycling and waste management practices and use of green transport and implementing a sustainable purchasing policy. 

Theme 2: Educating and Inspiring Our Community to Lead

To help the wider College community realise their capacity to create a more sustainable planet the College will provide information, disseminate knowledge through a variety of forums and further integrate sustainability into the curriculum.

Theme 3: Partnering with Others

The College will work within the broader community of universities, schools, government and community organisations, industry partners and church groups to further support sustainability with like-minded groups.

Our Response

The Sustainability Strategy has a number of targets based on the base year (2009) environmental assessment for the College to achieve by 2022, the College’s sesquicentennial year: 

  1. Reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2022
  2. Reduce water usage by 15%
  3. Increase the recycling rate to 65% 
  4. Create a sustainable purchasing policy and incorporate this into the College practices. 

Since the development of the Strategic Plan, the College has undertaken a number of initiatives and projects to help deliver on the targets set for 2022 in reducing its carbon emissions.

Major initiatives undertaken to date:

  • Installing an 800,000 litres underground water tank system beneath the Bulpadock, which harvest rainwater off the major College buildings and uses the water to irrigate the gardens and grounds
  • Incorporating ecologically sustainable design features into the Theological School redevelopment
  • Installing sensor lights as part of the Cowan amenities refurbishment
  • Community gardens for Foundation Studies and the Residential College
  • Resurfacing the Bulpadock, the new Theological School lawn and Summer House lawn with drought tolerant grass
  • Introducing a GAIA system to process waste, primarily in the College Kitchen
  • ‘Green Practice’ rebates - a contribution towards travel costs for those staff who travel by public transport, cycle or walk to work
  • ‘Sustainability Project Funding’ for sustainability projects relevant to the College’s sustainability agenda.

Carbon Audit 2016

The 2016 Carbon Audit, prepared by Pangolin Associates, showed that while absolute gross emissions have increased since the launch of the Strategy in 2009/2010, emissions per square metre, per student and per staff headcount have reduced, albeit not to the extent required in the Sustainability Strategy (2010) in order to meet its 2022 targets. A project titled ' Roadmap to 2022' has been initiated to determine what the College needs to do to achieve the targets, or whether the targets or timeframe need to be revisited.

The results for 2017 will soon be made available with a number of infographics accompanying this information.

Behavioural Changes

Resident students can purchase carbon offsets to help reduce their environmental impact and emissions while living at College. Since its introduction, around 10% of resident students have offset their carbon emissions. The current project is related to forestry preservation in Tasmania. The link to the project is

Staff parking on campus is subject to a parking fee. These fees are then used to fund Green Grants and for staff to apply to reimbursements to cover transport costs, bikes etc. 

In 2012, we welcomed our first student interns in sustainability, to champion and lead the College's programs to establish and maintain an environmentally sustainable campus, and contribute to educational initiatives, research activities and the shaping of policy.  

Education initiatives include the introduction of an environmental activism tutorial in the Residential College, an increased focus on sustainability as part of orientation programs and literature delivered across the College.

Sustainability Report 2017

Keeping Trinity functioning sustainably is an ongoing challenge. Developing student awareness of this has been our primary focus as sustainability interns for 2017.  
This year, the committee members have helped us spread information about Trinity’s sustainable features and the choices all students can make to be more sustainable.  Posters reminding students to reduce water and energy consumption in showers and laundries were well received.  Many students also enjoyed participating in our annual events such as Clean Up Australia Day and a tree planting day at Royal Park 
Engaging Pangolin Associates to conduct an analysis of Trinity’s environmental impact has been a valuable experience.  However, we strongly believe that while technology, infrastructure and other large-scale changes have helped and will help Trinity greatly reduce its impact on the environment, behavioural change will be crucial to seeing Trinity succeed in the long term. 

James Jarrous and Tansy Pereira

Over my time as Sustainability Intern at Trinity, I gained a deeper insight into the environmental challenges of the College going forward into the future. It was an amazing opportunity to analyse the College's resources and investigate how we can minimise our impact in small and meaningful ways.

James Jarrous, Sustainability Intern

The Sustainability Internship has been a fantastic experience. Working with students and staff to design ways to reduce our College’s impact on the environment, I’ve been inspired by how much of a difference a community like Trinity can make.

Tansy Pereira, Sustainability Intern


The College participates in the Sustainability Festival, Earth Hour, and hosts a carbon tax forum. Students from the Residential College also team up with Foundation Studies students and students from Ormond College to participate in Clean Up Australia Day.

Trinity works with a range of educational and community organisations, such as the University of Melbourne, the Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS), the Victorian Association for Environmental Education (VAEE), the Sustainable Living Festival, and our large Trinity alumni network which involves environmental debate leaders such as Ross Garnaut. 

Read more about the College's Sustainability Plan.

Support planitgreen.

Trinity College Environmental Assessment Audit Report.