With global warming seemingly occurring at an unprecedented rate and with organisations (the Students’ Union included) declaring climate emergencies, as a student at university or anyone going about their day to day life it can all seem a bit overwhelming.
What can you do and what impact can an individual really have? Well society, JustLove Sussex looked to encourage climate change conscious students to make some changes at their Fresher’s week Ethical Workshop; challenging perspectives on consumerism by demonstrating how you can effectively and easily make day-to-day essentials instead of buying pre-packaged supermarket goods.
What can you make?
Stalls at the event, which ran from 2-4pm in Falmer Common room on Thursday of Freshers week, included a plant potting station, bliss ball ethical snack demonstration and a toothpaste and deodorant making workshop.
Yeah, that’s right, although the Bliss balls were delicious and the plant potting offered an opportunity to have a constant reminder of your efforts in your room, one of the most interesting things about the whole ‘ethical workshop’ was the toothpaste and deodorant stall.
The recipe used for the toothpaste saw the combining of 1tbsp of coconut oil, 1tbsp of baking soda and 15- 20 drops of essential oil and well… that was it. It was so quick and easy that it almost seemed as though it would be more effort to go and buy a premade tube.
This realisation is something that the Co-President of the society, Susie Collins said she hoped would resonate with the people at the workshop, adding: “It’s great that there are physical things that people can take away from this workshop but having that plant on the windowsill might make them go ‘oh I can grow my own herbs or make my own cosmetics’- it’s actually easier and cheaper than you realise”
When asked whether individual ethical acts would really be significant in the bubble that is uni life and culture, she noted: ‘I think universities in general are quite a bubble and we are really lucky for that. We have to make the most of it. We are the people that are going to make change; we are living in this world at the moment and we are inspired by ethical issues personal or wider but actually, in a few years , we are going to be dotted all around the world and are going to be taking some of this stuff on with us. It’s not just for our uni life, it’s for our whole life.”
Although JustLove Sussex primarily seeks to encourage Christian students to pursue the biblical call to social justice, this is not an exclusive aim and, with attendees who noted that they weren’t of any particular faith but were still striven to live ethically, it was clear that the messages from the workshop carried an importance that transcends religious boundaries.
Every attendee was gifted a bag with handwritten recipes on to help them to replicate their discoveries at home as well as free samples from all of the stalls.
Brighton was championed by the society’s members for all of its different places that you can shop ethically. A map was distributed with a few highlighted outlets including ethical clothing brand Lucy & Yak- who recently chose Brighton as the place they wanted to set up their first shop after their success online.
Supermarket HISBE Food was also featured; an anagram for ‘How It Should Be’ this Brighton based operation is challenging convention with their waste limiting, ethically sourced approach which sees them mainly stock local produce.
JustLove Sussex are national organisation and the Sussex team are one of their many student run university centres dotted across the UK. The group hold regular breakfast meetups in the Debating Chamber, Falmer House, 8:00 AM, where they pray about daily issues, pertinent at the time.
Their fresher’s week initiative didn’t stop with this event as they tied up the week on the Friday with a food-waste feast where they introduced the society and what they stand for. This was a take on their monthly JustLunch that they hold, where they aim to get conversations going between all in attendance.
For more information on how to live sustainably as a university student here in Sussex, check out the University’s sustainability guide, available online.