Breadcrumbs

Scholarship helps recipient spark change for the environment

13 December 2022

gavin-walsh
Gavin Walsh is conducting research that aims to help the construction industry move to a circular economy.

A donor-funded Master of Management Studies project at the University of Waikato is set to make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s circular economy, and so is its recipient Gavin Walsh.

The masters scholarship sits within Āmiomio Aotearoa, a Waikato-led, trans-disciplinary research project weaving together concepts of Mātauranga Māori, materials and design, and people, business and policy. It aims to help move society to a place where waste, pollution and greenhouse gases are designed out of our industries, materials are kept in circulation, and natural systems are regenerated.

Scholarship recipient Gavin Walsh is passionate about sparking change in this area through developing ecosystems for circular economies, looking at how they can exist beyond a singular entity through building relationships and understanding the perspectives of small businesses, large institutions, policy makers, and the average person/consumer.

With a focus on the construction industry in particular, Gavin is looking at how some of the materials and products associated with construction can have their life extended and renewed through these relationships – ultimately helping prevent construction waste going to landfill.

He says while such change can be tough, it is necessary. “We can’t keep going the way we have been, the environment can no longer support it. We’ve got to this stage where everything we buy and consume has to be new, and what we really need is a total shift in thinking and a return to things we used to value – like frugality and thriftiness.

“That’s why the Āmiomio project is so important, it’s about connecting and integrating the different research communities – the scientific and the social – to achieve widespread and sustainable change. It’s an issue not just for our government, or people writing policies, or company CEOs – it’s an issue for everyone, and it’s going to take enormous people power to turn the tide.”

Penny White is a Waikato alumna with a personal interest in sustainability and environmental protection. She had been searching for an area of sustainability to donate to, and as a graduate of the University was keen to give back to her alma mater.

“In particular I wanted to support research into replacing plastics or re-using materials that have a long lifespan into something else of value.  I saw the University was doing some great work with circular economies, so funding the masters scholarship made sense,” she says.

“As a society we’re all about buy more, consume, consume, consume – but we’ve now reached this tipping point that we need to come back from. We need to re-use and recycle, and in this way the circular economy just makes sense. It’s a slow movement but it’s where we need to be, and it’s going to take a massive change in mindset, from the individual level right up to the corporate and governance level. I’m excited to watch Gavin’s progress.”


Latest stories

Related stories

Scholarship recipient

Ashleigh Ngow receives Dr Andrew Smith Medal for Academic Excellence

Protecting the environment has always been important to Maketū-raised Ashleigh Ngow who completed the Bachelor…

Huy Vu

Scholarship established to remember alumnus and colleague Huy Vu

A scholarship has been established at the University of Waikato to remember alumnus and highly…

Madeleine Pierard

Inaugural recipients selected for Te Pae Kōkako

Six promising opera students have been selected for the University of Waikato’s immersive Master of…

Prime Minister’s Scholarship students getting ready to fly

While most of us are winding down to a relaxing holiday season, a number of…

neil-quigley-appeal-2022

University launches Annual Appeal for 2022

The 2022 Annual Appeal is focused on supporting student scholarships, nursing graduates, and opera.

craigs-IP-scholarship

New scholarship for women studying business

Leading investment specialists Craigs Investment Partners (Craigs) is committing to the next generation of women…

Strategic passion leads to Norway

A competitive spirit and a passion for strategic management has landed University of Waikato Business…

New Tauranga scholarships look to the future

Two new scholarships for first year engineering and environmental science students in Tauranga aim to…

endace-scholarship-2022

The future is female: New women in tech scholarship launched

A new scholarship set to support women in computer science and software engineering has been…

Strategic moooves: Management students advise Fonterra in 50th WMS Case Competition

The iconic 50th Waikato Management School Case Competition held on 19 October saw four finalist…

Alumni Scholarship winners

Scholarship draws alumnae back to study at Waikato

Being awarded the alumni scholarship helped solidified alumnae Jessica Harvey and Tiari Killeen-Townsen decision to…

NFT - Not a Fair Trade?

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have become part of the common lexicon. Twitter, Instagram, and even…