Glasshouse Reduction in Single-Use Plastics
Following from Phil Dowlers (Vice-President Surrey 2017-18) campaign for the reduction of plastic in Catering outlets which resulted in many positive changes in waste reduction (keep scrolling to find out more!), UCA agreed to the amazing step of switching from single-use plastic cups to re-usable cups in the Glasshouse bar on the Farnham campus. This change saves around 41,000 single use cups going to landfill every academic year!
‘Is My Curriculum Inclusive?’ Campaign
Led by Simone (Vice-President Surrey), this social justice campaign aimed a researching inclusivity and diversity within education at UCA. The campaign drew on topics of Education for Sustainable Development and Simone held workshops and consultations with staff and students. The results and feedback were used to feedback into future planning of course content and future campaigns within the Students’ Union.
Simone: “I organised two sets of discussions, one set of four discussions for students and another set of four discussions for staff, to discuss the current state of the curricula, whether it is inclusive to the diverse student population and what we can do to improve this for current and future students… I did research on how minority students feel about their curriculum. After looking at the statistics, which shows that many students do not believe their curricula is not inclusive. Prior to launching the campaign, I had done my research on other unions who had launched similar campaigns and initiatives to improve the diversity within the curriculum and what they have done to decolonise it. The purpose is to speak to students and staff about the current state of the curriculum and come up with a solution that will change the way the curricula is shaped, making it more inclusive for students”
Sanitary Products Campaigns
Led in collaboration between Marta (SU President) and Riley (Vice-President Kent), the campaign aimed to fundraise money by designing/decorating your own eco-friendly tote bag. The funds were used to purchase sanitary products which would be free for students who needed them.
The sanitary bags could be found in the toilets across campus and students were encouraged to take items if needed and donate items so others could use in their time of need.
An incredibly important part of our sustainability effort is campaigning. This year our two Vice-Presidents Phill Dowler and Riley Clowes have been working on green campaigns aimed at improving the UCA’s environmental impact.
This section is all about these campaigns and how you can even get involved with them in the future.
100 DAYS OF VEGANISM CHALLENGE – RILEY CLOWES, VICE-PRESIDENT OF KENT
“I decided to run this campaign after a failed attempt of going vegan during my time at UCA, I found the options of cold sandwiches with limited option fillings or one hot meal which normally consisted of curry spread across a couple of days. With the rise in popularity of veganism I continued to see a gap where UCA wasn’t meeting basic requirements for Vegan students. Veganism is a movement that is important for so many different reasons. Veganism is good for lowering emissions, understanding a basic concept of where food comes from and how the meat industry runs and general health reasons. The Union plays a massive part in this campaign due to its supportive nature of Union staff and with officers running active campaigns the union helps play its role in advertising our campaigns and educating and highlighting the issues to the student body. The influence of this campaign is to be able to talk about my experience of being Vegan to give myself credibility in these discussions.”
Throughout the 100 days Riley documented his experience and challenges in our blog. Using this experience, he has been working with the University to improve the food quality and options in the canteens.
From his initial thoughts to vegan recipes…check out his journey and tips!
LESS IS MORE – PHILL DOWLER, VICE-PRESIDENT OF SURREY
“The name and idea for this campaign has come from looking at the waste produced by UCA and UCASU, whether this is through packaging, single-use items of paper usage as a whole. By using less as a whole and collectively working on things together, we can have more of an impact environmentally. General waste is an issue currently at UCA and UCASU. In 6 months of myself being in post as an officer of UCASU, my printing credit was in excess of £500 from all the papers needed for boards and committees within both UCA and UCASU. From one meeting I had to print over 50 papers ranging from one page to 70+ pages. If we look at the UCA Glasshouse bar in Farnham, it goes through around 31,000 half pints and 10,000 full pints of clear, single use plastic cups in one academic year. The aim for this campaign is for the overall waste to be reduced. Less paper wasted for papers, less cup waste etc. While we will be rolling these things out either from March or through March we will be able to see how much of a difference things are making through less waste.”
Since starting his campaign, Phill has been working with Glasshouse and Catering staff to reduce the number of straws and has successfully managed to negotiate a switch over to bio-degradable straws.