Students part of sustainable flatting neighbourhood research

The garden at the University of Otago’s "sustainable neighbourhood" does not yet exist, but Jessie Barron is looking forward to making it happen.

She is one of 20 students who will try to exemplify an environmentally friendly lifestyle in units in Dunedin’s Great King St designated for the purpose.

Miss Barron was raised on a drystock farm in Taranaki and she always had a vegetable garden there with her parents.

She did her best to get into gardening in Dunedin but shifting her efforts when she moved flats was a challenging exercise.

This time, she is set to start from scratch.

Miss Barron (21) heard about the sustainability neighbourhood from her best friend, Aleida Powell, who was told about it by a lecturer, and who also will be part of the initiative.

Jessie Barron has been selected to be one of the students who will live in a University of Otago...
Jessie Barron has been selected to be one of the students who will live in a University of Otago sustainable neighbourhood next year. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Students submitted video applications to be in the pilot project.

Miss Barron has met her future flatmates and said they seemed nice.

As well as seeking to live in energy-efficient and sustainable ways, the students will be part of university research about how they get on.

Miss Barron, a third-year microbiology and medical laboratory science student, will move in during January.

"Sustainability is definitely the way of the future," she said.

"If everyone plays a role, it really helps."

University of Otago sustainability office head Ray O’Brien said the scheme would be in three neighbouring buildings which shared two lawns all owned by the university.

The students would be supported to grow food, compost, recycle, be energy efficient, and lead active and healthy lives.

"We expect what we learn in the neighbourhood will have an effect on the student flatting scene as a whole," Mr O’Brien said.

The students may also enjoy relaxing in the sun.

Miss Barron said she wanted to hang a hammock in trees next to the garden.

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