Going Green – Sussex pulls its environmental socks up
Monday 5 March marked the start of this year’s annual green week in which the students’ union organises 5 days of events, talks and activities all based around achieving a more sustainable ecological future for the university.
Highlights of this year’s green week included, ‘Trees for cities day’ on Monday, which involved the planting of 850 trees in Stammer Park.
The school of Global Studies hosted a ‘Global eco fashion show’ on Wednesday with a catwalk of sustainable clothing. A ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ cookery workshop taught students how to make tasty meals from leftovers on Thursday.
As well as aspiring to create long term changes in behaviour, a series of debates and talks were held aiming to widen thinking on the topic of environmentalism into other important issues such as feminism and religion.
The week came to a close on Friday afternoon with a campus treasure hunt starting in Library square.
Last year saw events ranging from an outdoor cinema run on solar power to direct action training from climate camp activists.
Over recent years, Sussex has gained a reputation for environmental awareness and activity; it was recently named top university for recycling by the Telegraph.
This was based on a study by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, which found that 97.9 percent of the university’s waste is recycled, gaining Sussex a higher recycling rate than any other university in the UK.
The Students’ Union in particular showed its eco-credentials when it became one of 27 students unions to achieve gold standard in the in the NUS Green Impact Award last year.
Those involved remain hopeful that this high recognition will be maintained and built upon in the future.
Operations officer, Becca Melhuish, stated: “We’re aiming for Gold again, and have a target to get to the top of the league tables (i.e. to be the greenest Union in the country) by 2014.”
Results of this year’s application are to be released in April.
This year, however, has seen a substantial setback for environmental sustainability in the university when, after 4 years, the eco-friendly bus service ‘The Big Lemon’ stopped running its popular campus route.
The friendly service ran entirely on used cooking oil and provided an affordable and sustainable form of transport for students.
A large focus of this year’s green week was on cycling as an alternative form of transport in and around campus.
Students had the opportunity to purchase second hand bikes and a workshop teaching cyclists repair and maintenance was be run by’ the free wheelers’.
The cycling club also ran various group rides to local areas such as Lewes and middle farm.
And there was a demonstration of bus blind-spots was given in an attempt to increase bike safety awareness.
For those interested in the broader issues of environmentalism, expert panel speakers will be debating the future of global climate politics on Wednesday 14 March in Fulton A.