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What a year!

What a year it has been! Well, academic year anyway, and that is starting to come to a (scarily!) slow close as exams begin to creep over the horizon…

In September, we happily saw the launch of the Sustainability Hub at the Freshers’ Festival, and over 600 students came to see what was going on! We had loads of fun meeting new students, those that were returning for another year, as well as staff members that we curious to see what we were up to.

We have absolutely loved getting to know all of you that have popped into the Sustainability Hub over the last few months to pick up some free, good quality, second-hand items; get involved with the various upcycling workshops; learn more about cycling in a Scotland or even fix your own bikes; plant seeds and learn how to take care of your plants; or just have a good chat with us! So thanks for coming by J

We must say – none of this could have been done without every single one of our 37 wonderful volunteers. They have worked tirelessly to keep the shop looking presentable; write and translate articles or blogs; weigh and categorise all the kind donations that we received; welcome new students to the campus; help us run different projects, or cover us staff so that we can do our work and eat lunch! As a team, we have been able to do so much with their help and we have certainly enjoyed getting to know each one personally and seeing their skills develop.

To celebrate all of this, we would like to end these with a bang, bigger than the one that we started with!

SAUWS Environment will be hosting ‘Eco-Jam’ on Thursday 24th March 2015, from 5pm. Please come and join us!

This event has been completely organised by student volunteers, and will show case student bands from UWS and a DJ later in the evening. It will be fully catered and guest speakers will also offer their personal experiences of working with the Sustainability team.

If you have any questions, comments or stories that you would like to share, please email sustainability@sauws.org.uk.

We would love to see as many of you as possible and have the opportunity to thank you all for your support!

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Sustainable Travel by Florent Montoya

This December will see Paris host the COP21, the biggest conference yet, aimed at changing the regulation for environment and climate change. Today, due to globalisation, exchanges between countries are more and more important with people and merchandise having to travel more regularly.

As people travel to discover new countries and cultures and to create new business and partnerships, aeronautic industry tries to find new eco-friendly ways to fly. Airbus is a major actor in this field with the E-Fan project. Indeed the company created a plane which uses 100% electric power!

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This little plane is the first plan totally eco-friendly machine as it does not emit any harmful gases, such as CO2 in the atmosphere on account of it not being powered by fossil fuels. It flew for the first time in 2014, and in 2015 it crossed the English Channel to show the world that air travel is not dependent on petrol, and that electricity can provide enough energy to fly safely above the sea.

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Moreover, the benefits of travelling with an electric plane will also change the lives of thousands of people living next to airports. Indeed electrical engines are much quieter than what we are used to and creates less vibrations so these long white strips will tend to disappear of our blue sky.

As the E-Fan is a real success, Airbus is designing a 4-seat version and is developing more powerful engines to fly longer distances. The company hopes that they will be able to provide 100% electric passenger plans such as A321 or even the huge A380 by 2050.

So today everyone is doing something for environment, even YOU can do something. So if you want to travel, favour green means of transport such as the train or even your bike for shorter distances! And maybe in few years you will fly to another continent in a 100% electric and quiet plane such as the E-Fan!

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COP 21 by Florent Montoya

In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was signed in order to reduce gas emissions, such as CO2 in the atmosphere and fight the global warming of our planet. To limit the industrial pollution, some countries have implemented laws and taxes, when others proposed targets or maximum emissions.

climate-change_1509200cEven with this agreement and regulations on industry, global temperatures are still rising. It increased by one degree during the last century, and we are heading to one more this century. If the earth’s temperature gains another degree, it will be the limit for us to have a safe life, for a healthy environment and an efficient economy. Global warming, is contributing to the melting of the glaciers and rise of the sea level, to the destruction of ecosystems, to weather changing… and all of that impacts humankind. Villages are flooded, crops are destroyed and food doesn’t grow correctly, new diseases are appearing and finally, states are spending billions of dollars to try to fix these issues.
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Because of the “failure” of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce gas emissions, the COP21 conference will be held in Paris in December 2015 in order to find new ways to reduce pollution, and to regulate companies and industry; but this time, all countries will have to implement the same rules and laws. Governments will try to find solutions to fight over-consumption of energy and above all reject toxic gas emissions in the atmosphere. They will promote renewable green energies using the sun, water, wind or natural warmth.

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As a student, you can do something to save the planet as well. Indeed basic actions made by a lot of people can change the future. For example remember to turn off the light when leaving a room, and shut down your TV or computer when you’ve finished using them. Also recycling your waste is very important because making a can from recycled material uses 3 times less energy than creating a new one.

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Above all, you have to teach other people how to do all of that, explain to them why they have to work for the planet and their future. Show them the benefits of their actions.

La gran apertura!

El Miércoles 16 de Septiembre, después de mucho trabajo e esfuerzos, SustainabilityHub ha abierto oficialmente sus puertas durante el Fresher’s Festival en Paisley, con Paul Martin, el vicepresidente de UWS, y Jack Douglas, el presidente de SAUWS.

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Fuimos sumergidos por el número de personas, el staff de la universidad como los estudiantes, con más de 500 visitantes que quisieron participar a las diferentes actividadesdurante todo el día. SAUWS Free Shop es una tienda donde puedes encontrar cosas de segunda mano GRATUITAMENTE con la idea de promover el reciclaje y dar un segundo uso a las cosas. La tienda funciona muy bien, en efecto ya hemos dado 216 artículos a estudiantes que los necesitaron en lugar de tirarlos en la basura. Entre estos artículos, puedes encontrar todo tipo de cosas, como utensilios de cocina, libros y ropa. Pero recuperamos también sus artículos, ¡y ya hemos recibido muchos! Si tienes ciertas cosas que quieres dar, contáctenos con correo electrónico: sustainability@sauws.org.uk.

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Tenemos también un Watt Bike en el Hub para que los estudiantes vean cuanto energía pueden producir en 6 secundas y que realicen cuanto cuantidad de energía necesitaría a un ser humano para hacer funcionar los diferentes electrodomésticos, como la tele o el Xbox. Los estudiantes y el staff competieron para ver quién pudo producir la mayor cuantidad de Watts. Amadou Kassarate, un estudiante en Ciencias del Deporte en el campus de Hamilton, ganó la competición con una producción de 1305W.

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Rags to Riches, una organización situada en Glasgow, estuve también en el Hub para proponer un taller de creación de joyas, como brazaletes, pendientes, collares y llaveros hechos con cámaras de aire de bici recicladas. Porque a los estudiantes los gustaron mucho estos talleres, ¡propondremos otros en el futuro! ¡Pues mantiene tu atención!

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A todo el equipo de SAUWS Environment le gustó estos intercambios con los estudiantes y explicarlos el plan para los próximos meses. Esperamos que para todo el mundo este día fue simpático, porque lo fue para nosotros. Es la mejora recompensa para nuestro trabajo…

Horarios de apertura del Hub : Lunes, Miércoles y Jueves, de las 10 a las 15.

¡Ven a vernos!

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La grande ouverture!

Mercredi 16 Septembre, après et beaucoup de travail et d’efforts, le Sustainability Hub a officiellement ouvert ses portes durant le Fresher’s Festival de Paisley, avec la présence de Paul Martin, vice-président de l’UWS, et Jack Douglas, le président du SAUWS.

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Nous étions submergés par l’afflux de personnes, aussi bien du personnel que des étudiants, avec plus de 500 visiteurs tout au long de la journée voulant s’essayer aux différentes activités. Le SAUWS Free Shop est une boutique GRATUITE où vous pouvez trouver des objets de seconde main et qui a pour but d’encourager le recyclage et la réutilisation. La boutique fonctionne extrêmement bien puisqu’au lieu de les jeter à la poubelle, 216 objets ont été donnés à des étudiants qui en avaient besoin. Parmi ces objets vous pouvez trouver tous types de choses, allant des ustensiles pour la cuisine aux livres, en passant par les vêtements. Nous récupérons aussi vos objets, et nous en avons déjà reçu beaucoup ! Si vous avez quoi que ce soit que vous souhaitez donner, contactez-nous à l’adresse suivante : sustainability@sauws.org.uk.

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Nous disposons aussi d’un Watt Bike au Hub afin que les étudiants voient quelle énergie ils peuvent produire en 6 secondes et qu’ils réalisent quelle quantité d’énergie il faudrait à un être humain pour faire fonctionner les différents appareils ménagers de la maison, comme la télé ou la Xbox. Les étudiants et le personnel universitaire se sont prêtés à la compétition que nous avions lancé afin de voir qui pouvait produire la plus grande quantité de Watts. Amadou Kassarate, un étudiant en Science du Sport au campus d’Hamilton, a été l’homme du jour avec une production de 1305W.

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Rags to Riches, une organisation situé à Glasgow, était aussi de la partie pour proposer un atelier de création de bijoux, tels que des bracelets, des boucles d’oreilles, des colliers, des porte-clefs faits de chambres à air de vélo recyclées. Les étudiants ayant vraiment apprécié l’atelier, nous en proposerons d’autres au cours de l’année ! Alors restez à l’écoute !

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Toute l’équipe du SAUWS Environment a vraiment apprécié ces échanges avec les étudiants ainsi que leur expliquer ce qui sera prévu au cours des prochains mois. Nous espérons que tout le monde a aimé cette journée comme nous l’avons aimé !C’est la meilleure récompense pour le travail que nous faisons…

Heures d’ouverture du Hub : Lundi, Mercredi et Jeudi, de 10h à 15h.

Venez nous voir !

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A Truly Grand Opening!

On Wednesday 16th September, after loads of hard work and commitment, the Sustainability Hub was officially opened by Paul Martin, Deputy Principle at UWS, and Jack Douglas, SAUWS President, at the Fresher’s Festival in Paisley.

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We were overwhelmed by the response that we had from staff and students with well over 500 visitors on the day, getting involved in a variety of activities. The SAUWS Free Shop is a FREE second-hand shop that encourages recycling and reuse, and it was completely overrun and 216 items were given away to students that want them, rather than them being thrown to landfill. This includes all sorts of items, such as kitchen equipment, book and clothes. We also collect items and they have already started coming in! Contact sustainability@sauws.org.uk if you have anything you would like to donate.

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We also had the Watt Bikes in the hub which let students see how much power they can produce in 6 seconds and realise how much human energy it takes to power different appliance around the home, such as a washing machine, TV or Xbox. Students and staff alike were keen to get involved with the competition that we ran to see who could produce the greatest amount of Watts. Amadou Kassarate, a Sports Science student from the Hamilton campus, proved the man to beat on the day, producing 1305 W of power!

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Glasgow based upcycling charity, Rags to Riches, were also part of the fun as they came and held a jewellery workshop making earrings, bracelets, necklaces and key rings out of upcycled bicycle inner tubes. Students said they thoroughly enjoyed the workshop so we will definitely be putting more workshops on in the future! Keep your eyes peeled!!

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The entire SAUWS Environment team really enjoyed being able to interact with the students and tell them what we will be up to in the coming months. We hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did! With hard work comes great reward….!

We are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10am – 3pm, come and see us!

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SAUWS wins awards for sustainability!

The Student’s Association of the University of the West of Scotland (SAUWS) has won two awards at the National Union of Students (NUS) ceremony which was held in Bolton on 8th July 2015.

SAUWS won the prestigious NUS Green Impact Gold Award in recognition of the staff and students’ dedication to positive environmental action and the environmental performance in the university over the last year.  This betters the achievement of a bronze Green Impact award from the previous year.

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The main focus of this project is to increase awareness of sustainability practises within the work place amongst staff working in the Union. In addition, Projects that helped to achieve this gold award included the UWS Community Gardens situated in Paisley, Hamilton and Ayr, that encourage biodiversity and aim to get staff and students involved in sustainable food production; and the SAUWS Free Shop which takes on good quality used items and then gives them away to UWS students, staff and the wider community. Starter packs are also set up for students and the wider community for the more vulnerable groups such as those living in refuge or social housing.

Jack Douglas, President of the Students’ Association, said “I’m incredibly proud that the Students’ Association has been able to rise all the way to the NUS Green Impact Gold Award in such a short space of time. This wouldn’t have been possible without our staff in the sustainability team and for the many students who took up the opportunity to get involved in our activities.”

The second award that was presented to SAUWS congratulated the Association for coming first place in the NUS “Snap it Off!” campaign, winning £500. Snap it Off! Involved getting students to take pictures of areas around their universities where energy was being used unnecessarily, and then sending them into the Snap it Off! website. NUS would then contact staff at the university so that the energy waste could be resolved. The student who sent in the most photos from UWS, final year Civil Engineering student Chukwumela Okoroma, won a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

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Jack Douglas, President of SAUWS commented “This wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of our staff in the sustainability team and the many students that took up the opportunity to get involved in carbon saving activities. UWS students have a strong belief that we should be working towards a sustainable future and we are seeing an amount of students that want to get involved and make a difference. At SAUWS, we look forward to build on this year’s work as we start to prepare for the next academic year.”

Glastonbury – A tent is for life not just for a festival

So that’s it from Glastonbury for another year. With the controversy of Kanye West headlining Saturday night and stating that he is “the greatest living rock star on the planet”, to the debut of Lee-zus (aka Lee Nelson) gate crashing Kanye’s set and the roaring reception of Lionel Richie we can definitely say this one will be remembered for a while.

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With 177,550 attendees at Worthy Farm each year there will be a significant level of litter generated at the festival. So we decided to investigate HOW GREEN IS GLASTONBURY?

In 2014 the festival recycled; 114 tonnes of composted organise waste, 400 tonnes of chipped wood, 23 tonnes of glass, 85 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles, 41 tonnes of cardboard,11.2 tonnes of clothing, tents and sleeping bags. Overall 983 tonnes of waste was collected with 54% of it being recycled.

With the images of what has been left from Glastonbury this year is it possible they can do the same or even better than the previous year?

Glastonbury is trying to highlight the importance of recycling by promoting the phrases “Love the farm, leave no trace” as well as “Reduce, reuse and recycle”. Even with the introduction of these mottos it is still costing the festival around £780,000 to dispose of all the rubbish that is left at the festival. They have 15,000 bins and have 1,300 recycling crew volunteers as well as Small Steps Project who are a team of volunteers who do their bit to clean the site.

On a more cheerful note Glastonbury has managed to do things to improve and help the festival to become more environmentally sustainable. All of the tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate sold on site are all Fairtrade; they also run a Green Traveller Scheme to encourage travel by public transport, offering prizes and free food vouchers for those who participate. Reducing the Festival’s CO2 emissions is a top priority for the organisers of the festival.

Personal items such as tents and wellington boots are often left behind. Since 2011 Festival Reboot has worked with Glastonbury recycling any wellies that have been left, in their first year they collected 4000. Using the top half of the welly they are able to make and sell bracelets, drinks holders and notepads. From the money raised they then can send the lower section of the welly over to Kenya where they will be used for general footwear. They are also looking into making bean bag chairs filled with the off cuts of wellington boots which will result in nearly 100% recycling achievement. http://www.festivalreboot.co.uk/

If you are attending a festival this year and still haven’t bought a tent yet have a look at Green Tent Company; they are the first company in the world to design and manufacture tents that are solely made of polyester which means they can be recycled. They also offer a ‘Purchase and Collect’ service at festivals as well as a drop off point when you are finished. http://www.thegreententcompany.co.uk/

ReTent is another service which provides an incentive for campers for to repeatedly reuse their tents. The company believe that there is a lack of connection between festival-goers and their tent. To improve this ReTent will spray a stamp onto the tent to recognise that they have been to that festival; the more festivals people go to with the same tent the more stamps they will get. This will hopefully give people the motivation to reuse their tents as it will become memorabilia of their time at the festivals.  http://www.thegreententcompany.co.uk/

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Glastonbury has been a huge contributor to the local environment around the farm and charities. Since 2000, 10,000 native trees and hedge plants have been planted near to the site and £1 million has been donated to international and local charities each year. It is the single biggest donor to Greenpeace and also supports its official partners WaterAid and Oxfam.

Next up for us T in the Park 2015!

We Just Can’t Contain Ourselves: Container planting project coming alive at the community gardens

Gardening in Containers: A Quick Guide

It is widely agreed that gardening brings many benefits, both physical and emotional. One simple but highly effective way in which more people can get these benefits is by growing plants in containers. As part of their container planting project, SAUWS Environment have available a number of windowsill troughs. They are available free of charge to interested staff and students- so why not consider applying for one (details below). All you need to do is come along to one of our sessions in the community garden on your campus, make up your container with our help and take it away, for FREE!

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There are many reasons why you might want to consider starting a container garden. For example, it enables:

  • Plants to be brought indoors- such as workplaces and residencies.
  • People who do not have a garden to enjoy gardening.
  • People with restricted mobility to participate in gardening.
  • People who are housebound (through mental or physical ill health) can benefit from looking at and tending to plants.

You can grow a range of plants in containers- including vegetables for use the kitchen. Many types of containers can be used to grow plants in. Containers can be placed anywhere- but will thrive on bright, warm window ledges.

Here are some tips to help you get started with a container garden:

  • Choose a roomy container.
  • Don’t use containers made from treated wood.
  • Make sure the container has drainage holes in it.
  • Be careful with watering. Make sure water reaches all of the soil in the container (allow the water to run through the container and out of the drainage holes at the bottom).
  • Keep an eye on the water content of the soil in the container and don’t let them get too much rain. Top Tip: soil should be moist (test this using your finger).
  • Cover containers (and the plants) in the winter months.
  • Add your preferred fertiliser to the soil. Follow with more liquid fertiliser as growing continues.
  • Make sure tall plants are well supported in the pot.
  • Carry out planting at the same time you would for plants growing in the ground.
  • Remember to weed the plants as required- and look out for insects or other types of pests.

For information on the best types of plants (including vegetables) to grow in containers:

You can find general information on growing plants in containers at:

If you would like to find out more about obtaining a free window-still trough, contact Natalie.McCall@SAUWS.org.uk with the heading CONTAINER PROJECT

Garden sessions run:

Sessions will run:

Hamilton Campus – Tues 12-3pm

Ayr Campus – Thurs 11-4pm

Paisley Campus – Wed & Fri 12-2

Spring Forward, Cycle Back: Find out why you should get back in the saddle this Spring

Are you tired of having to drive everywhere in your car, or having to wait for what feels like an eternity on the bus that always seems to be running late when you’re in a hurry? Got a bike rusting away in the shed that you bought years ago as part of a bungled new year’s resolution to keep fit and/or get in shape?

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Well it’s never too late to act on that resolution, and while we’re at it there’s a solution to your travel problems. That solution is of course cycling (why else would I mention a bike). In the following piece I’m going to list four reasons why, if you are cycling, to keep it up, and if you don’t why you really should do as the benefits are rewarding to yourself and to the rest of the world.

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  1. It’s good for your physical health

Let’s start with an easy reason; cycling is good for you. Are you after that summer beach body? Perhaps just wanting to get a little fitter? Cycling exercises all the important muscles and joints in your body, but it is less strenuous than running and allows for the body to have a pleasant experience while loosening up your body and making it much stronger. Cycling can in the long term prevent the future suffering of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure or heart attack, so it will ultimately help you to live a healthy long lasting life, and isn’t what we all strive for.

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  1. It’s good for your mental health

Asides from being good for the body, cycling is also a great way of maintaining the strength of the mind. Had a stressful week and feel that the world is falling in on you? Well get on your bike. Cycling can be a useful way of reducing stress and alleviating feelings associated with anxiety and depression, this can be due in part to the exercise our body is experiencing and allowing for our mind to focus on the task at hand. Let us not forget also, the act of cycling is generally an enjoyable experience so it allows us to feel a sense of pleasure free from pesky stressful feelings.

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  1. It’s good for your wallet and the economy

Let’s start this by saying that while buying a bike may be a costly purchase, the long term benefits to your wallet will be most beneficial. Aren’t we all tired of spending a small fortune on the costs of petrol for our cars and fares for public transport? Well if we took up cycling then you would save hundreds or possibly thousands of pounds a year.

Not only is cycling kind towards your bank balance, it’s been found to be helpful for the economy.  Cycling and the sales of cycling related goods made around  £3 billion for the British economy in 2010 alone, and cycling ultimately saves the UK economy almost £83 Million a year owing to the fewer sick days that cyclists take than their car driving colleges .  So as we can see, cycling is good for the wallet and ultimately it helps the country’s economy grow and save money at the same time. Isn’t it about time we heard some economic news that was positive for a change?

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  1. It’s good for the environment

Of course it is common knowledge that petrol powered cars and public transport have contributed to the gradual environmental decline that the world has been going through for decades. So why not ditch the car and take up the bike? If we take up cycling we are saving the planet and our own money! We can preserve the environment that we still have and prevent any further erosion. What’s the point in cycling if we didn’t have some nice scenery to enjoy while we did it, so let’s cycle to preserve the world’ natural beauty.

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  1. It’s good fun

Last but certainly not least, this point really shouldn’t need an explanation. Cycling is good for many things, the economy, the environment and the health of people both physically and mentally. While all this is amazing there is a far cleaner cut reason for doing it. It is downright good fun! Whether you are cutting down a mountain trail at 30 mph or making your way across the city to meet friends, getting out in that fresh air is an awesome experience. If you are not doing it for any of the reasons above, just do it for the fun of it. You won’t be disappointed!

We hope that this week’s blog post has inspired some of you to get yourselves back in the saddle this spring, as you can see there are plenty of reason why you should certainly think about it at least. A major part in SAUWS Environment’s newly funded project will focus on active travel over the coming year and there will be a load of opportunities for students and staff to get involved. Amongst the planned activities are group bike runs and Maintenance workshops providing in depth training on how you can maintain your own bike.

If this sounds like it may be up your street contact us at sustainability@sauws.org.uk to be added to our mailing list. Also you can catch us on Facebook and Twitter.