Live campus taking root

Otago Polytechnic associate professor of information technology Samuel Mann is leading the way in...
Otago Polytechnic associate professor of information technology Samuel Mann is leading the way in creating a Living Campus at the polytechnic.
They say good things take time, and Otago Polytechnic's Living Campus is no exception.

Otago Polytechnic associate professor of information technology Samuel Mann, who is the coordinator of the polytechnic's sustainability education programme, is overseeing the project.

The concept was launched less then a year ago to reinvent the polytechnic's non-sustainable outdoor environment into an open-aired interactive environment.

The polytechnic applied for funding for the Living Campus from the Government's Sustainable Management Fund, but had its application rejected.

‘‘They said it was a fantastic project, but wouldn't give us any money because we didn't qualify as a community organisation or as a business,'' Prof Mann said.

‘‘Thankfully, Phil Ker [Otago Polytechnic's chief executive] is 100 per cent committed to the project so we are very lucky to have him.''

The Living Campus will feature permaculture gardens, heritage European plants, kai Maori plants and medicinal herbs, and will be fully wheelchairaccessible. Prof Mann is adamant the Living Campus is for everyone in the community.

‘‘If all the lettuces disappear, then for me, that's a positive outcome.''

The Living Campus is the first of its kind in Australia and New Zealand and Otago Polytechnic has set itself the goal to make every one of their graduates think and act like a sustainable practitioner.

‘‘We are determined to make this normal practice,'' Prof Mann said.

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