In the early 1990s, the possibility of an environmental education centre on the Nathan campus was proposed with a clear focus from the beginning for the centre to foster engagement between the University and the community. This would be done by playing a role in the education of both school children and the broader community.
In May, 1994, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Roy Webb, appointed Professor Calvin Rose (the inaugural Dean of the School) to chair a Task Force with the purpose of raising funds and further developing the concept of such a Centre. The Task Force included Griffith University staff and representatives from commerce, industry, government and community groups, showing a commitment to community engagement from the outset.
During 1995, the name of the proposed environmental education centre became the Griffith University EcoCentre. The name reflected a desire to be seen as not simply an environmental education centre but rather as a centre that recognised the complex dimensions of “the environment” – not only its physical and biophysical components but also its social, cultural, economic, and political components. The name also reflected a shift in the field of environmental education itself to a concern with education for sustainability as well as the holistic and interdisciplinary approach taken to environmental sciences within the University.
In January 2000 the construction of the EcoCentre began with the building completed in October. The EcoCentre was officially opened on June 5th 2001.