Green Week Review: Showcasing Sustainability at Lancaster

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Last term, the whole campus fell under a green aura during ‘Green Week’, an event designed not only to ‘promote Green Lancaster and what we do!’ but also ‘to make sure that people are familiar with our activities and maybe inspire them with a passion for sustainability.’

Green Lancaster staff members Sam and Victorio were present at the stands in Alex Square on Monday, where the first event of the week, the ‘Green Carnival’, was taking place. Stands included free plant giveaways, a showcase of the donated items to Exodus, and an ornate outdoor studio, letting anyone and everyone reveal their inner vogue-farmer look, where the best selfie-taker would win free tickets to the Sugarhouse that Friday!

Exploring the stalls, I found myself speaking to members of the Exodus project, who told me that in ‘this past year, we collected 35 tonnes of unwanted items…which get sent off to various charities in the area. What we’re hoping to do with it in the future is save as much of the reusable stuff as possible and sell it back to students as freshers.’ However, they pointed out that ‘we can’t take anything out of the bin…we can only take donations, so what we need to do is make it so that everybody knows we are there.’ Their marketing seems to work however, as they concluded by telling me that since ‘the first year it was active 2010/2011, [there] has been 5 times as much donated!’

Tuesday marked Green Lancaster’s Travel and Innovation talk, which concluded in a campus breakfast at Bowland Bar. Alongside the breakfast (which showcased the University’s Food for Life and Fairtrade standards) and a free Dr Bike service, the day concluded the college sustainability competition, which saw Bowland take the crown. Each college came forward with sustainability project proposals, which were set before a panel of judges. Energy saving competitions, short-term cycle hire and sustainable food initiatives were covered during the day, in a bid to encourage students to consider ways of reducing human impact on a day-to-day basis.

With their usual volunteer action day being punctuated by the “Grow it, Eat it, Live it!” lunch at the Ecohub, Wednesday marked the tastier event of the week! I strayed into the smell of baked potatoes and a smoking outdoor oven before helping with an army of volunteers in the task of de-weeding and shifting compost around the hub. The Ecohub welcomed visitors from international universities onto the site, who were all very keen to assist (of course after many an obligatory wheelbarrow ride)!

Thursday heralded the arrival of Mark Edwards, the curator of the Whole Earth exhibition, who talked about important role that students play in ensuring that sustainability and environmentalism stay on the agenda of popular discourse. Furthermore, a Fairtrade promotional stand was erected in the main square, which included a banana eating competition; the champion reigned at 7 seconds!

Finally, to conclude the festive week, on Friday Green Lancaster’s ‘Green-Sugar’ night at the Sugarhouse went forth, an event designed to highlight how the environmental impact of the student nightclub is mitigated by policies such as reusable drinking vessels, rigorous recycling of cans and bottles, low energy lighting, as well as the ‘Sugar-bus’ that shepherds students to and from the University! Green Lancaster felt it was important to highlight the work that goes into making sure that the venue is as environmentally friendly as possible.

With an ever-increasing plethora of events and campus activities, Green Lancaster is and will remain a prominent part of Lancaster University for many years to come!

The author would like to thank Green Lancaster for being forthcoming about event information, and providing informative assistance with the event.

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