As we approach the final week of the project 2013/15, we here at SAUWS Environment feel it is a fitting time to do a little reflection over the past 18 months and celebrate just how far we have come. This is by no means the end but only the beginning for something new here at the University as we enter the new chapter of the project on April 1st.
It is with a sense of joy and pride we have culminated our top 10 highlights of the project this far into a list. Where possible, we have provided some pictures, videos and a little information surrounding these landmarks.
Freshers Fair 2013 & 2014
Freshers 2013 was where it all really began for SAUWS Environment. It was at this stage we were still young, innocent and finding our feet. This offered the team its first chance to engage with the students of UWS and spread the word of what the project was going to offer over the next 18 months. On the day we were lucky enough to be joined by Peachy Keen, who provided fantastic entertainment with their bicycle powered scalectrix challenge. I think we actually lost count of the number of students taking part that day but one that sticks in mind was the Universities very own Principal.
Freshers 2014 was our second opportunity to make new friends and make new friends we did. This time around St Andrews University were kind enough to let us borrow their bicycle powered scalectrix equipment. Other features on this day included the SAUWS Free Shop and Home Energy Scotland’s Fuel Good Driving simulator. One of the main highlights was without doubt the SAUWS Environment Guess the Cress competition. Our lucky winner Tasha picked up some handy shopping vouchers for Morrisons after the team had undertaken the painstaking task of counting that cress.
Go Green Week 2014 & 2015
For the team, Go Green Week stands out as our annual biggie. With Go Green Week being a national weeklong event focused on combating climate change, this is always the event where we want to pull out all the stops. Over the past two years we enjoyed great success taking Go Green Week across three of the UWS campuses, connecting with a massive amount of students.
Both years involved an action packed line up which included activities such as the Rags to Riches Up-cycle workshops, Glasgow Bike Station’s Dr Bike, SAUWS very own Free Shop, Home Energy Scotland’s Fuel Good Driving simulator, Love Food Hate Waste Workshops and project themed film nights. Having all these great activities is only half the success of the event though, the most important part of all was the engagement of the staff and students at UWS. Without doubt it was this that made these events so special each year.
SRUC Students Designing Ayr Garden
Way back in the early days of the project, the UWS community garden teamed up with a group of SRUC students to run a competition for designing the Ayr community garden. This engagement between the project and the students has always been the true essence of what the Community Gardens are all about. A selection of carefully crafted designs were submitted and even though competition was tough, the combined efforts of Kathryn Trinder and Louise Wakeling eventually went on to be developed as what is today, the Riverside Community garden on Ayr Campus.
UWS Community Gardens and launch parties
The past 18 months have seen the three UWS Community gardens grow from seedlings to thriving harvest. Thanks to student and staff engagement, these plots have taken shape and are without doubt heading towards the self sustaining legacy we had always hoped for. While we have enjoyed the harvests of delicious vegetables our three garden launch parties in 2014 stick in the mind as glorious occasions.
On April 22nd we brought the party to the Ayr Garden, with Transitions staff member Chris Forster creating a wonderful spread that included handmade bread and cakes and a fantastic homemade soup. On a beautiful spring day students and staff joined together and enjoyed lunch while taking part in a garden session.
May 1st saw the garden party move to the Paisley Campus, this time we threw the event within the Students’ Union, with live music from Losing Ground and Danny Neo. This event also celebrated and said goodbye to what was a successful Transitions project and enjoyed a fantastic buffet provided by local ethical supplier Locavore.
The final party took place May 16th on the Hamilton Campus in a similar fashion to that of the Ayr celebration previous. Again students and staff joined together to take part in garden activities and enjoyed another fine spread of food provided by Locavore.
While the garden continues to grow we hope to continue to hold similar events in the near future, it is these get togethers that make the project feel even more worthwhile.
Our Relationship with the Glasgow Bike Station
Over the past 18 months we have had an ever increasing relationship with the Glasgow Bike Station. Without these guys we would have had no chance of running events and activities anywhere near the standard we have up until now. With active travel as one of the main elements of our project we have run a series of events in connection with the Glasgow bike station. These have included Dr Bike, an open bike maintenance session where students and staff can bring along their bike for a tune up or repair. Dr Bike workshops, where students and staff get the opportunity to learn the skills required to fix their own bikes. We also organised the SAUWS bike run in October 2014 using bikes from the Glasgow Bike Station, this event proved a success amongst the student community and is something that will certainly be taking place again in the new project.
Bicycle Powered Film Nights
Over the course of the project we ran a selection of film nights across the campuses, showing movies that ran with the theme of the project. When the opportunity came to provide something that bit more special we jumped at the chance to organise the bicycle powered film nights. At these events we would provide the movie and the snacks, but in return the students took their turn to provide the power by pedalling the specially designed bikes that run the projector. While a lot of sweat was shed in the process, the novelty of the bicycle powered cinema was a real success and just another one of the great memories of the project this past year.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2014
Fairtrade Fortnight 2014 was certainly one to remember. SAUWS Environment ran the “Stick with Foncho” campaign on Paisley Campus collecting a multitude of signatures for the worldwide petition supporting the sale of Fairtrade bananas in our supermarkets. Highlights were members of staff dressed as giant bananas and the stall set up in the D Block concourse providing participating staff and students with free Fairtrade tea, coffee, bananas and homemade bakery items. A blog post detailing the events of this event can be found here…..
SAUWS Free Shop
Without doubt one of the biggest successes of the project over the past 18 months has been the SAUWS Free Shop. This pop us shop has takenplace on each of the UWS campuses on a regular basis. The idea behind this venture is based on the principle that students donate their unwanted items to us, and then in turn we run a pop up shop offering these same items to fellow students for FREE. Two successfully organised collections at the halls of residence provided a massive amount of items including kitchenware, clothing, stationary, books and much more which has since been re-circulated amongst the students’ community. This has been such a success that over the course of the new project we aim to develop an online version of the Free Shop, making items more readily available in an online space.
SAUWS has run the Green Impact programme with university staff during the academic years 2011-12, 2012 – 2013, 2013 – 2014 and 2014 – 2015. Green Impact is an environmental accreditation scheme where university departments compete to complete the highest number of environmentally-friendly actions in their workplace. During this project, 16 departmental teams signed up with a departmental reach of 246 staff members. It is this engagement between staff, students and the Green Impact project that creates a real shift towards change, reducing CO2e within the university. It is a team effort and every contributor is equally as important as the last.
In June 2014 the team celebrated at the annual Green Impact awards on Paisley campus. We look forward to presenting the same ceremony this year, rewarding those involved for their hard work.
The Conformation of New Funding!!
While so much was achieved throughout the project, the conformation of funding to run SAUWS Environment for another year was by far one of the best moments for the project as a whole. This allowed us to plan for the future, developing new ideas for events, activities and campaigns. So much hard work went into this process from now departed team member Melanie Hall and UWS staff member Claire Roxburgh. It is from here we want to fulfil the faith placed upon us and deliver the best possible work over the coming year and we want all at UWS to be involved.
We hope that you have enjoyed our whistle stop tour of the past 18 months with us within this blog post. While the team members have changed over the duration, the same positive ethos remains. The current team would like to thank the hard work of Elizabeth Dirth, Melanie Hall and Kristina Nitsolova who set the foundations and ground work for the past and future success of the project.
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