Learn more about the Sustainability Prize, and how to enter.

Introducing the GSA Sustainability Prize

The GSA Sustainability Prize is a new competition and exhibition for graduate students.

A crucial (but often overlooked) aspect of sustainability is biodiversity. And that's what this competition is all about: it's a chance for you to showcase your ability to capture biodiversity with your smartphone. Just take a picture of some native Australian flora and/or fauna on campus!

The winner will be chosen by popular vote online, and the top submissions will be exhibited for all to see at our awards ceremony on Thursday 18 May.

Prizes for 2017

1st prize $1000 cash Free pass to Ecocity World Summit
2nd prize $200 cash Free pass to Ecocity World Summit
10 runners-up $200 cash  


  • Entrants must be enrolled graduate students of the University of Melbourne.
  • Entrants must affirm that they are the original source of the photograph, within the past 12 months.

Deadlines for 2017

Submissions open Friday 7 April
Submissions close Friday 5 May (5pm)
Voting period Wednesday 10 May to Monday 15 May (5pm)
Exhibition and award ceremony Thursday 18 May (4pm–6pm)


  • Photographs must include native Australian flora and/or fauna, located on any of the seven University of Melbourne campuses.
  • A maximum of five images may be submitted per person.
  • Most modern smartphones have high quality cameras, and we cannot list all possible technical details here. Send the best quality photos you can, and make sure not to accidentally compress it into a smaller size!
  • Anything below 2200x1500 pixels will be rejected, and larger is preferred.
  • Image files must be no larger than 30MB.

What's biodiversity all about?

Victoria has around 100,000 different native plant and animal species. Many are threatened or endangered – 21% of bird species, 18% of mammals, 39% of frogs and 21% of plants are listed as threatened in Victoria, and are on the downhill slide towards extinction. 

This is staggering.  Even common species like Kookaburras, Willy wagtails and River Red Gums are not as common as they used to be. The problem is they are losing their habitat, or these areas are shrinking, as urban areas develop and expand.

Healthy ecosystems and rich biodiversity are vital for the liveability of our university community and city. Protecting and enhancing biodiversity will support the health and wellbeing of our community and contribute to effective climate change adaptation actions.

By considering University of Melbourne as an ecosystem, we will actively foster connections between people, plants, animals and the landscape – to create the legacy of a resilient, balanced and healthy urban environment.

Entries open Friday 7 April

  • Entries must be submitted online.
  • Students must complete a 2017 Sustainability Prize Entry Form.
  • Students must agree to the Terms and Conditions to be eligible.
Terms and conditions ENTRIES NOW CLOSED

Tips for submitting a great entry

  • When filling out the entry form, you'll be asked to write a statement outlining what was sighted, where, when and why this species captured your attention. Remember the details when you take the photo!
  • You aren't expected to be a professional photographer, but try your best to get good lighting and a steady shot.
  • Take multiple photographs, but only send in your best ones – to a maximum of five.

Viewing and voting

Submissions can be viewed in our Gallery and Facebook album. Look for each photo's lot number, and you'll be able to vote for your favourites. Winners will be determined by an aggregate voting score.

The deadline for casting your vote is 5pm on Monday 15 May.


How do I recognise native Australian flora and fauna?

There are lots of ways to learn about Australian flora and fauna. Knowing is half the battle! Try some of the following:



Still have questions?

Email sustainability@gsa.unimelb.edu.au