Dunedin students in sustainable living experiment

Dunedin students are being offered the opportunity to ditch takeaways and two-minute noodles in favour of growing vegetables and composting waste.

In a new flatting initiative, 20 students will form a ‘living lab’ where researchers can monitor the students’ success as they learn about sustainable living.

The University of Otago hopes the research will show how students can make an environmental impact while flatting.

The university’s sustainability office head Ray O’Brien said participants’ commitment was imperative.

“We need to create more positive stories about how students can live sustainably, therefore, other students will follow. I’m starting to get feedback from students that they want to do all of these things.”

He said the students would stay in three university flats with a communal garden.

“They are living in the accommodation, they should be enjoying the Dunedin flatting experience as well as living sustainably. It’s not big brother. There will be data gathered on how they use energy, how successful they are with the food they grow, with the composting they create.

“There’s an onus on the residents to come up with some new ideas. This is a pilot and we want them to have an influence as well.”

The students will pay rent just like everyone else and they will not be evicted if they don’t follow on with the experiment.