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Waikato uni students solve sustainability problems

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Students have been working to find solutions for sustainability problems posed by local organisations, and have shared their insights as part of the University of Waikato’s Impact Lab.

Impact Lab is part of the Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) papers at the University, providing an opportunity for students from all disciplines to collaborate and develop transferable skills.

Year three student teams presented their findings on topics such as Tauranga City Council Student Transport, Trees at The Meteor, and the University’s Community Herb Garden Project.

Bachelor of Business (BBus) students, Kyle Martin, Joel Liddle, Akshay Aolaskar, and Bayley Graham teamed up with Bachelor of Social Sciences (BSocSc) student Chloe Logan to create – one of the most exciting central city areas in New Zealand – on behalf of the Tauranga City Council.

The group investigated sustainable transport options for students in Tauranga, an area undergoing significant growth and development.

Bachelor of Business students, Joel Liddle, Kyle Martin and Akshay Aolaskar

Mentored by Priority One’s innovation manager Shane Stuart, the students valued the hands-on, real-world practical approach to learning.

“For a lot of us, it’s very hard to get work experience, especially in entry-level roles. Impact Lab provided a lot of opportunities to get hands-on experience and work on a project – it was very much a drawcard,” Kyle says.

Before Impact Lab there was no data on how students travel to and from the Tauranga campus.

Akshay says he specifically asked to be part of the Tauranga project, “because the whole idea of sustainability while supporting a community is key.”

Joel says he enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds and subject areas within the university and valued the chance to work with the community to share knowledge.

Another group looked at how The Meteor Theatre in Hamilton might reorganise and rejuvenate the Trees at the Meteor event, including accessibility improvements for the community, after Covid-19 and management changes impeded the event over the last two years.

It was made up of BSocSc students, Petra Williams and Melissa Jardine, BBus students Omar Abdullahi and Callum Johnstone, and Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours student Jacob Oak Archvarin.

The event, which normally raises around $20,000 each year for local charities, will use the student’s findings for future events.

WIL papers connect academic learning to the practical applications of the workplace. It’s a compulsory component of all undergraduate degrees and includes work placements and work-related projects.

As part of their study, students can spend up to 400 hours in the workforce acquiring and applying essential professional skills that prepare them for life after university.

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