Fair Food UniCycle and Growroom to launch in Student Precinct this month

August 17 / 196

An example of the IKEA SPACE Innovation Lab growroom
An example of the IKEA SPACE Innovation Lab growroom

Two student-led initiatives, the ‘Growroom’ and ‘Fair Food UniCycle’, will be officially launched in the New Student Precinct site on Wednesday 16 August.

These green activations are are part of the New Student Precinct development that will improve the student experience by concentrating student services and activities closer to the heart of the campus.

One of the initiatives, the Growroom, is an immersive, spherical garden structure is being constructed as part of a collaborative build by students. The 2.6m meter high, edible garden has interior seating, making it an ideal place for students to meet and unwind amid the foliage. Designed as part of IKEA’s SPACE 10 Innovation Lab, this open-sourced project will be a permanent fixture on the Parkville campus.

Communications and Engagement (Co-creation) Manager for the Student Precinct Project, Leah Hyland, says that, when complete, the Growroom will be a quiet green space the University community can use, and a point of interest as the Student Precinct begins to take shape.

“Over the next few years there’s going to be a lot happening in this corner of the campus bordered by Grattan and Swanston Streets, which will be exciting to see, but also chaotic at times, especially as the Metro Rail Tunnel construction really gets going. A nice green place in the heart of this part of campus will be a refuge from all that activity.

"In addition to the Growroom and UniCycle, an Outdoor Gallery was launched earlier this year to celebrate students' creativity and a suite of activations are planned moving forward, so there'll be plenty of ways students can engage with the space as it takes shape.”

The Fair Food UniCycle is a bike kitchen, designed to make fair and sustainable on-campus catering and cooking easier. The bike will be available for students to serve and prepare food at events, to develop food skills and educate the broader student community on sustainable food practices. 

Students Marie-Luise Schega, Sophie Jackson and Sophie Lamond have played leading roles in the development of these activations.

"The Fair Food Challenge was created to help universities make fairer, healthier and more sustainable food environments and co-create good food policy,” says PhD candidate Sophie Lamond who founded the Fair Food Challenge.

"Getting involved with development of the New Student Precinct and building a bike kitchen is a fun and engaging way to bring these ideas alive in our University community,” she says. “From research and teaching to sharing new skills with a student just out of home for the first time, with these projects we hope to test out ideas that can come to life as the new Precinct is built.”

Marie-Luise Schega says a friend sent her an article about the Growroom, and they both got involved.

“We thought, how cool would it be to build that!? Three months later and it's happening thanks to the relentless commitment of everyone involved. Our Growroom is a taste of what a more sustainable world needs: a shared vision, collective action and courage to do things differently."

Fair Food UniCycle Student Lead Sophie Jackson believes large institutions have the power to influence our food systems. 

“Universities are key to this, and the UniCycle is step one towards a future where comprehensive, dynamic and inclusive food policies are a key part of Australian university campuses,” she says.

Both initiatives are part of the Student Precinct Project program of activations and seek to encourage student engagement, place-making and interest in the Project more broadly. An opportunity to share ideas about the sustainability principles that will underpin the design and build of the New Student Precinct will also form part of the launch.

To be at the launch please register via this link. Refreshments will be provided. https://studentprecinct.typeform.com/to/S73Jok

To view the construction of the Growroom head to the North Eastern curved wall of the Frank Tate Building on Friday 4 August between 9am and 5pm. The build will also be captured digitally via time-lapse which will be available to view on the New Student Precinct webpage post the event.

You can also catch up with both projects on Open Day. 

Supported by our friends at Burnley Campus, Campus Services, MaxiPly, Pollinate Energy, Melbourne School of Design, Campus Services, Cosurround and Fair Food Challenge.

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