2021 WAHPSA Networking Breakfast – Sustainability in Schools
On Wednesday 3rd November we held our Annual Networking Breakfast at the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre. This year’s theme was Sustainability in Schools.
WAHPSA was fortunate to secure two brilliant speakers, Rachael Roberts, sustainability teacher and coordinator of EnviroHouse and Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of Plastic Free July.
Rebecca shared the story of how Plastic Free July all started when she wanted to change her own behaviour after visiting a recycling facilitating and bearing witness to the immense amount of household waste and energy demanded to recycle it. Plastic Free July started with a small team in local government in Western Australia and is now a movement that sees millions of participants across more than 150 countries worldwide engaged in reducing their use of single-use plastics.
Rachael Roberts gave a brilliant overview of what sustainability at Hillcrest Primary School looks like and how it has been systematically embraced. Their sustainability initiatives include securing a Your Move grant for new bike and scooter racks, conducting waste audits, banning fruit juice boxes, building a frog pond, embracing Containers for Change, installing solar panels, learning how to read water meters, composting food waste, building a habitat for native bees and using vegetables from their school garden. The list goes on!
The problem of plastic pollution along with dire predictions about the future of our environment can seem overwhelming. Both Rebecca’s and Rachael’s presentations served as a powerful reminder that our everyday individual actions are significant and that we can have a collective impact.
WAHPSA’s Executive Committee all pitched in to make a delicious healthy breakfast which was appreciated by attendees. We faced some challenges as we paid special attention to being mindful of reducing waste – paper plates, napkins and coffee cups were off the table with participants being encouraged to bring their own keep cup for hot beverages and their own water bottles. It was fantastic to see everyone embracing the theme. Even though we may have over catered, it was great to see Zoe from Second Bite making sure that none of the leftover food went into landfill – but instead went to those in need.
The opportunity to network with like-minded professionals and the quality of the speakers were the main topics of appreciation expressed via our feedback form when asked “What did you enjoy most about today’s event?”
“The networking! This was my first time attending the WAHPSA meetings and I had so many great conversations with other professionals working in this space.”
“Food, networking, both guest speakers.”
“Enjoyed the speakers (both of them) and food and networking with others.”
We also really appreciated the constructive suggestions as to how we might improve future events. Ideas included providing an outline of the event so participants knew the order of the day; providing more purposeful networking opportunities by linking people with similar interest areas and to keep inviting a range of different agencies, both government funded and NGO’s.
Overall, the feedback was extremely positive: “Great event, loved the thoughtful breakfast and the presentations were fantastic. Thank you.”
We look forward to seeing you all again next year.