Tag Archives: lifestyle

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.

Glastonbury Festival, Britain - 27 Jun 2015  

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!

garden container

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