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Go Green Week: a full range of campaigns

Fossil Free Sussex staged a protest urging the university to make good on its promise to divest.

The University committed to divest in April 2015 but no further action has been taken on the issue.

Members of Fossil Free Sussex last week took over Library Square, chanting and staging a ‘die-in’ to protest the university.

The People & Planet University League 2016 states that Sussex University has invested £30,233 in Shell, £14,908 in BP and £10,443 in Rio Tinto.

It also estimates that the University received £5,000 in donations from the fossil fuel industry between 2009 and 2014.

This action took place to coincide with Go Green Week, held by Sussex Students’ Union between 13 and 17 February.

Sussex is seeing a spate of events focused on ethical and environmental issues, with the fossil free demo only one amongst many.

In a similar range of concerns, the Students’ Union will also be holding a referendum on Fairtrade clothing.

The referendum question reads: ‘Should the Students’ Union commit to sourcing 100% Fairtrade clothing by 2021 by implementing a Fairtrade Clothing Policy?’.

The Students Union website says: ‘Go Green Week is a student-led initiative designed to showcase the University of Sussex and Students’ Union’s commitment to the environment and sustainability on and off campus.”.

Go Green Week transcended Students’ Union referenda and saw a wide variety of events take place on campus.

One such event was the ‘clothes swap’ where students exchanged their old clothes. The organisers argue that buying used clothes could reduce the vast amount of waste and damage produced by the fashion industry during production.

“Amazingly, it can take 2,700 litres to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt.” writes the World Wide Fund for Nature, better known as WWF.

Unwanted clothes are thrown away in vast quantities, with high street retailer H&M saying: “As much as 95% of clothes thrown away could have been re-worn or recycled.”.

In a parallel action to that taken by Sussex students, H&M started a garment recycling scheme in 2013.

Go Green Week also included ‘Meat-Free Monday’. This saw Students’ Union bars and cafes taking meat out of their menu for one day.

It was argued that reducing meat consumption could reduce the impact of farming on the environment, and posters around the Students’ Union building in Falmer House offered students more information.

In addition, attention was drawn to the existence of reusable coffee cups sold in Students’ Union food venues year-round. Those using any reusable mug will be given a 10p discount on their drinks.

This move is paralleled in chain cafes in Brighton, where Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero offer a 25p discount for customers bringing their own mugs.

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