Innovation Day puts our smallest scientists to the test

Published 3 June 2021
Students collaborated on sustainability ideas for the future city of Lismore using Lego.

Can a robotic chicken work like a tractor… only better? How can we get rid of mozzies around our school, or stop the paths from flooding every time it rains? What about an aquaculture farm that re-uses waste as plant nutrients? These were just some of the questions our youngest scientists and thinkers were tackling this week at the Southern Cross University Lismore campus.

The Southern Cross University Innovation Day drew teams of students from local primary schools and high schools to workshop their ideas, test out their prototype solutions and receive guidance from expert mentors.

String, playdoh and cardboard brought to life some of the imaginative solutions to local problems with a strong focus on new ways of living in a circular economy.

Eco campaigner Arlian Ecker, also known as Plastic Free Boy, talked to the students about sustainability and eliminating plastic waste with creative ideas. “Noone is too young to make a difference. They have come up with some really cool stuff. I love seeing this!” he said.

The Innovation Day is an integral part of the Green Innovation Awards, a challenge developed in partnership with the University to encourage primary and high school students to develop solutions to the environmental challenges of the future.

Apart from prototyping and testing their own ideas, students also worked together to build the future sustainable city of Lismore with Lego in a ‘Future Cities’ challenge created by Lego Master Andrew Tuppen.

Vice President (Engagement) Mr Ben Roche said the University played an integral part in developing science activities for local schools and in providing avenues to pursue science careers. “We are introducing school students to the idea that universities are the ultimate playground.

“We are thinking all the time about how to solve the challenges of the future, testing out our ideas, collaborating with each other to create the best solutions and to move them from theory into practice. As we can see from the amazing and imaginative concepts these students have presented, you’re never too young to engage with that process,” he said.

The Green Innovation Awards finale will be held at the Lismore campus on 25 August where finalists will present their ideas to a panel of experts and an audience of students, teachers and parents. 

Learn more about the Green Innovation Awards.

Media contact: Content team,