Environment and sustainability enthusiasts will revel in the upcoming ‘Green Week’ commencing in week four of this semester.
Organised by the University’s Environment Subcommittee, Green Week is a collaborative project involving a broad range of societies, from Edible Campus to the Socialist Society. Transition, the University’s leading group of sustainability pioneers, will play a large role in the week’s events.
The Environment Subcommittee explains the aims of Green Week on their blog from the 2016 week as ‘seek(ing) to promote and raise awareness of important issues including climate change through fun and engaging events and activities…we want to show how the environment is crucial to all areas of our lives…’. For Lauren Davis, Environment Officer and head of the Subcommittee for this academic year, ‘community engagement’ is another key aim.
‘(Green Week is) really a community effort’ says Davis. ‘We (the Subcommittee) hold a lot of meetings to make sure everything gets done but it’s up to the other societies and people to make it fun.’
It indeed seems there will be no shortage of fun. The week will officially commence with a launch event on Monday to raise awareness of ‘Earth Year’, to be held in St Mary’s Quad. The University Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone, will also be present.
The week will close on Sunday night with a bonfire organized by the Oxfam society.
Events lined up for the week are arranged according to the different themes attributed to each day by the Environment Subcommittee. Friday is ‘Food for Thought’ day; those interested can attend events organized by the Fine Food and Dining society, Edible Campus, or even enjoy a film screening in Sandys Bar courtesy of Green Film Festival. Thursday’s focus will be energy; Saturday’s, environmental economics.
All events are open to wider residents of St Andrews, as well as students and staff of the University. The vast majority of events are also free to attend. The full lineup can be found on the Green Week Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/107398280177842/?notif_t=event_calendar_create¬if_id=1538663647851530
Professor Sally Mapstone will not be the only special guest gracing the week’s events. Amongst the University’s academics who have raised a hand to participate in Green Week is Professor Will Creswell from the School of Biology, who will be delivering his talk on Wednesday. Saturday’s schedule will feature a public lecture by Sustainability Analyst Miika Korja of Affirmative Investment Management (AIM). His address will ‘be focused more on policy making and environmental conservation rather than just economics’, as detailed by the Facebook event for the talk.
The Environment Subcommittee plan to further their involvement in the week by setting themselves personal challenges that serve to reduce their own ecological footprints. Davis has pledged to pursue a vegan diet for the week and intends to journal each day about her experience. She also plans to ask committee members to do the same for their challenges and to publish their recounts, in which they would be asked to state ‘what they’ll do going forward from what they’ve learned from the week.’
This challenge is open to public participation, too. Throughout the week members of the community will be photographed with their ‘pledges’ to be more sustainable.
St Andrews is no stranger to environmentally friendly initiatives. Green Week is a long-time project of the Environment Subcommittee and just one of their many projects to be undertaken this year. World Car Free Day on the 22nd of September is another example of the initiatives they bring to fruition.
But Davis has a long-term vision for the university’s ecological footprint, too. She would like to see University societies becoming more conscious of sustainability in the future, particularly in relation to materials they use and the events they hold. ‘It’s a really easy thing to implement – we’re just trying to think of ways to get (sustainability) more ingrained in everyday activities’, she says. Green Week appears to be doing exactly that.
Green Week at the University of St Andrews will run from 8th to 14th October.