Freshers’ Week 2016: A Guide to Green Events

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There are many many events going on this Freshers’ Week and whilst you are all probably going to be busy making new friends, settling into halls, attending events and trying out new societies do have a look and consider coming to these awesome events.

There’s more! Think food, bicycles, beach activities, colour fights, and other games, oh, and more food! There are just too many exciting events to talk about here so be sure to click the link at the bottom of this blog to find out about ALL the other Green Events we have going on this Freshers’ Week!

Monday 5th September

The Big Green Fair (St Katherine’s Lawn behind Library, 11am-3pm) is an outdoor festival celebrating the environment, with live music and great local food. Find out more about what our eco-friendly societies are up to this year and how to get involved in their activities and projects. The Environment Team (that’s us) will have a stand there too so be sure to pop by and say hi.

The Big Free Giveaway (Arts Lecture Theatre, 11am – 3pm) is an event where household items, kitchenware and stationery donated by previous students will be up for grabs! It’s a popular event so do make sure to arrive on time!

Tuesday 6th September

The St Andrews’ Veg Soc and Inklight Soc (Cockshaugh Park, 2pm – 4pm) are collaborating to bring you an exciting event filled with poems and smoothies! They will even have their own Smoothie Bike so you can make your own smoothie in a green way!

Wednesday 7th September

The Community Garden Sessions (Uni Community Garden, 2pm – 4pm) offers the opportunity for you to gain the knowledge and skills to grow your own food! With the University now having 10 food growing spaces that are open to students, staff and local people it’s also a very popular part of life here. Come along to learn more and enjoy some of the food from our gardens (a Transition event).

Transition St Andrews is part of a UK based initiative to reach out to academic and non-academic communities through events and training to help make communities more sustainable and aware of our impact on the world. Head down to East Sands to meet more of the team, learn about what is going on this year and have a fun and relaxing afternoon on the beach (Sea, Swim, BBQ)!

Thursday 8th September

The Wildlife and Conservation Society (WildSoc) are having a Scavenger Hunt (Rectors Café, 10am – 12pm) across St Andrews followed by a Pub Quiz (Drouthy Neebors, 7.30pm) at Drouthy Neebors. This one is not to be missed!  11313616_1642722232660940_2024001443_n

Want to meet some like-minded people and have a drink at the same time? Then come along to Green Drinks (St Andrews Brew Co, 5pm – 8pm) for the chance to meet people who are also interested in environmental issues and have a try of some local beer (or whatever takes your fancy).

Saturday 10th September

On Saturday join and meet the cycling community of St Andrews at St Andrews’ Bike Fest (Agnes Blackadder Hall, 11am – 2pm) where you can grab yourself a bargain ride, find out about training, maintenance and other bike help. There will be around 100 quality second hand bikes for sale plus many to rent through Bike Pool so make sure you arrive early as its going to be a popular event! This is the perfect opportunity to learn how to fix your bike and grab a bargain.

Sunday 11th September

Freshers’ Fayre is by far the biggest event of Freshers’ Week! On Sunday you will be able to discover all the different societies that you can get involved during your time in St Andrews. Be on the lookout for Transition, The Environment Team and Fairtrade St Andrews and all the other brilliant societies!

We look forward to welcoming you to the Green Bubble very soon. Have a great Freshers’ Week!

For more information on all other Green Events click here.

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Research Buzzing in the North Haugh

beesThe Environment and Grounds teams have collaborated on a project to build a research apiary in the North Haugh. Professor David Evans, School of Biology, how has recently joined the University of St Andrews said “this is an outstanding resource to underpin our research on the virus diseases of honeybees which are responsible for high levels of colony losses every year. Bees dislike rain and strong winds, so keeping hives under cover means the colonies are a lot less disturbed when opened during bad weather.” He went on to add that “our studies depend on having bees available for as much of the year as possible. The sheltered environment of the ‘bee shed’ will help keep colonies active in early Spring and late Autumn.” Further details are available from the research group website http://www.evanslab.org.uk/bees/

 

 

A sneak peek at Green Week

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With Green Week kicking off on 7th March, we’ve put together an easy guide to the week’s events, whether you’re into poetry or permaculture, ethical investment or eco-beer. Go get your green on!

If you want to…get your hands dirty

There are plenty of opportunities to get down and dirty during Green Week! Want to get into gardening but don’t know where to start? Uni Hall gardener, Charlotte Davis, will be running an “Introduction to Permaculture” session on Wednesday afternoon to get you all clued up. Or if you prefer sand to soil, get yourself down to next Sunday’s Beach Clean with the Marine Conservation Society to help keep West Sands beautiful.

Leave a lasting legacy in St Andrews by coming along to one of our tree planting sessions – taking place on Monday at DRA, on Tuesday in the Community Garden, and on Wednesday at Albany Park. If you prefer to eat the things you plant, help plant fruit trees as part of an edible walkway in Guardbridge, celebrate the creation of a new Edible Campus garden at Agnes Blackadder Hall, and get stuck into some vegetable seed sowing at Andrew Melville Hall. Full details of times and locations are available here.

If you want to…try something new

Get yourself along to Sunday’s Skillshare Extravaganza – try your hand at everything from photography to cooking, hen keeping to bike maintenance, and much, much more! All the sessions are completely free (including the tasty lunch!), and will be running from 10.30-4.30pm in the Cosmos Centre.

If you want to…shape a sustainable future for the University

Tuesday’s Transition Open Forum is the place for you to share your big ideas for our small town, creating a sustainable vision for the future of St Andrews.  If you’re curious to find out how the University’s money is managed, come along to meet the fund managers at “Investing for a better future” on Wednesday and find out how our £48 million of endowed gifts have been invested.

If you want to…work up a sweat

Sign your sports club up to Cycletricity – the most competitive event of Green Week! Watch as the teams battle it out to produce the most bicycle-powered electricity in 20 minutes. Not part of a sports club? No problem! There will be a give-it-a-go session between 12-1pm so anyone can hop on a bike and feel the burn!

If you want to…get creative

Feeling crafty? Beat the 5p bag charge, and upcycle a boring bag or decorate a 100% Fairtrade cotton tote bag with the help of CraftSoc this Saturday. Alternatively, head along to one of StAnza’s climate change themed poetry readings, or explore folklore stories in the surrounds of the Botanic Garden with environmental writer Mandy Haggith on Monday.

If you want to…get sustainably sloshed

Reward yourself after a hard day’s tree planting! Cosy up with a glass of wine on Monday night at Topping & Co to celebrate the launch of Joanna Blythman’s latest book “Swallow This”, an expose on the food processing industry. If the Brew Pub is more your scene, sample a socially responsible tipple (or two!) at our biodynamic and organic tasting on Tuesday, or join Transition from some green chat over local brews on Thursday.

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Don’t forget to check out the Green Week website, Facebook, and Twitter (@GreenWeekStA) for the full event lineup and latest updates!

Student Sustainability Blogs

In the Environment Team we do our best to bring you interesting and relevant content about environmental issues…but we’re not the only ones! There are a number of student bloggers sharing their thoughts and ideas on sustainability, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce you to a few of them…

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weedsandwelliesWeeds and Wellies

First up is Weeds and Wellies, run by the Uni Hall’s Head Gardener, Charlotte. Her blog is a record of all the activity that takes place in the Uni Hall Community Garden, providing updates on what she has planned for each weekly garden session, which food is ready to be harvested, and tips for maintaining your own garden. Her posts are all accompanied by beautiful photographs of the progress at the Uni Hall plot which is sure to get you inspired! Charlotte also picks a “Gardener of the Week”, which we think is a fantastic way to encourage people to get involved – head on down to Uni Hall at 2pm on Wednesdays to help out and join in the fun…who knows, maybe the next “Gardener of the Week” will be you!

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theconsciousstudentThe Conscious Student

Up next we have The Conscious Student, written by flatmates Anna and Kasia. This blog aims to help you “tread lightly on the Earth and be kind to your wallet“. Frustrated at the lack of resources for leading an ethical and environmentally friendly lifestyle on a budget, The Conscious Student was born to share their ideas for socially conscious and affordable choices. The blog has a great variety of content, from thought-provoking articles, product recommendations, informative tips and guides, DIY activities, and a whole host of different recipes, there really is something for everyone!

Check out The Conscious Student on Facebook and Instagram to help you stay up to date with the blog!

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lifewithoutplasticNo Plastic Please

No Plastic Please documents one student’s challenge to live for two months without producing any plastic waste. Alexis was shocked at the amount of plastic that we use in our everyday lives and decided to challenge herself to see how much plastic she could cut out, to show to others that it can be done and that plastic-free habits are easily adopted! She has curated a fantastic list of resources for more information, as well as an A-Z Plastic-Free Guide which highlights some fantastic plastic-free alternatives, including shampoo and toothpaste which comes in recyclable cardboard packaging instead of plastic bottles and tubes – we’re intrigued!

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standrewslarderSt Andrews Larder

St Andrews Larder is a food blog run by Victoria, a champion of wholesome, home-cooked meals. Her blog features a variety of different recipes that are sure to get your mouth watering, as well as reviews, recommendations, and interviews with local restaurateurs. A strong supporter of buying good, local ingredients, Victoria highlights where you can get these ingredients from retailers and producers in St Andrews. On top of that, every post is accompanied by beautiful photography sure to get you itching to get into the kitchen and whipping up your own culinary creations!

You can keep up with the St Andrews Larder on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Happy reading! If you know of any other student sustainability blogs we’d love to hear about them!

Guest Blog: “Creating a Green Space: The New Community Garden”

 This week we have a rather special blog post coming to you from the Head Gardener of the University Hall Community Garden, Charlotte Davis.  

Our garden, around the back of University Hall, is still under a year old! Inspired by photographs dating from 1916 of a vegetable garden fit to supply the residents of the Hall, in the depths of last winter, we decided to recreate that green space of production, learning and relaxation.

With help from Transition and the blessing of the Hall Managers and Estates, this student led project has had a rollercoaster of a first year and has produced a huge amount of enjoyment and food for all the volunteers who helped out.

DSC05514Some delicious potatoes harvested from the garden.

From the tentative motley crew I tried to persuade to get excited about what was then just a 5×5 patch of turf, we now have a strong core team of volunteers who come once, or even twice a week to do odd jobs around the expanding and beautiful garden. A great mixture of people have come down to give me a hand, from biologists, to total novices, hall residents and non-hall residents. We are well placed to draw interest, sitting alongside the well-worn track towards the sports centre.

1779699_507326946045057_886765850_nOld or young, big or small, all are welcome to help out!

A little out of my depth having fallen into the role of project leader, I found myself up until the early hours researching all sorts of methods of propagation, companion planting, stacking appropriate for the Fife climate to make the space as interesting, productive and sustainable as possible. My job has without a doubt become much easier with some experience, a Permaculture Design Course and the unrelenting support I’ve received from Taylor, University Hall’s Senior Student.

Getting to grips with permaculture design.

From beans to herb spirals, cabbages to raspberries, purple sprouting broccoli, potatoes, rhubarb and a biodiversity tower, last year was a great success. This year we are thinking a bit differently. Some basic infrastructure will assert the garden properly on the space; a shed for the tools (and tea cups!) and a fence. Equally, the ornamental cherry tree (Prunus ‘Kazan’), under which we will put a bench, will cement the permanent intention of the garden. By gently applying permaculture principles to the plot and listening to what the volunteers want from what is essentially their garden, this year proves to be productive and a huge amount of fun for everyone who wants to get outside, get their hands dirty and learn a bit more about gardening in a beautiful place.

A surprise visitor to the garden!

I am determined that this garden not be a flash in the pan. Though it needs constant maintenance, I am confident that with enough support from students and local residents this garden can sustain as a place for learning, relaxation, appreciation of nature and, of course, eating fruit and vegetables!

If you want to get involved in the University Hall Community Garden, find them on Tumblr, Facebook, or by contacting Charlotte on: ced9@st-andrews.ac.uk

Green Societies Guide

10458859_693481564069381_2113089142360349256_nIf you missed all the fun of the (Big Green) Fair on Monday, then don’t worry – there are still plenty of opportunities to meet the green societies and groups based in St Andrews. Check out our previous blog post for the full Freshers’ event line-up, or keep reading for our run-down of the different groups St Andrews has to offer – there really is something for everyone!

Animal Welfare Society

524962_147884018691164_2139361533_nThe Animal Welfare Society (AWSoc) are dedicated to the wellbeing and fair treatment of all animal kind. The society  campaigns against cruelty to animals and supports animal-friendly alternatives. The society also volunteers and fundraises for local shelters, and host regular documentary nights.

Check out their website and Facebook page to get involved.

Bike Pool Group

fd3c2f_8542d1b388d71c462639b8017a265d28.png_srz_1800_1200_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srzThe Bike Pool are a community Group with a three-part program:
1. To operate as a skill share, primarily of bike repair and maintenance skills
2. To refurbish abandoned/donated bicycles so they can be put back into circulation in the local community
3. To promote cycling within our community as a healthy and sustainable form of transportation

Join their Facebook group to find out more information about the group and upcoming maintenance sessions.

Carbon Conversations

coffee-cup-image-300x212Carbon Conversations are a unique and inspiring series of 6 group discussions, and are cited as one of the top solutions to climate change. The sessions involve group activities, knowledge-building, idea-sharing and reflections, where participants will have the opportunity to explore climate change both practically and emotionally.

Sign up for a series of sessions here.

Edible Campus

1969157_366580283485024_996722225_nThe Edible Campus project aims to reinvigorate our skills, knowledge and interest in eating more locally whilst increasing the amount of food growing within the University grounds for the benefit of students, staff and the wider community. There are over 10 different Edible Campus food growing spaces across town, and everyone is welcome to get involved – whether you’re a keen gardener or have never planted anything before!

Check out the Edible Campus webpage, like their Facebook page or join the Facebook group for more info!

Environment Team (that’s us!)

1465925_609448629115878_1841238397_oWe manage issues affecting the University that relate to sustianable development, including carbon emissions, biodiversity, waste reduction, transportation and resource use. We use this blog to engage with students to provide information on upcoming events and opportunities to get involved in making St Andrews a more sustainable place to live, work, and study.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with events, and drop us an email (environment@st-andrews.ac.uk) or check out our website for practical information regarding sustainable travel, food, energy use, the local environment, and waste management.

Fairtrade Steering Group

FairtradeLogoWhiteThe Fairtrade Steering Group promotes the use of Fairtrade products across campus and works on Fairtrade initiatives. The group also organises events for Fairtrade Fortnight, which takes place in semester 2 with Fairtrade wine tasting, bake sales, talks, visits to local schools, and the ever-popular Fairtrade Cook-Off!

Like their Facebook page or email fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk to get involved!

Greenpeace St Andrews

profile_img1_greenpeaceGreenpeace exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs action. If you like a good project and a good cause, join Greenpeace. The group encourage you to join the action and the fun in any of their weekly meetings, street campaigns, actions or socials!

Find them on Facebook or Twitter to start getting involved.

OneWorld Society

50494_35775563516_9171_nOneWorld campaigns on human rights, poverty, and the environment as part of People and Planet (the largest UK student campaigning network). They also organise numerous events and run the VegBox scheme.

Join the OneWorld Facebook group, or the VegBox group to find out more.

Saint Exchange

10460451_318878784943846_5836232256016066555_nSaint Exhange is a local trading scheme allowing people to trade locally in and around St Andrews. The scheme allows local residents to join for free and trade goods/skills/services using “Saints”.  By measuring trades using “Saints”, the scheme provides a service whereby members can share skills and talents that they enjoy and thus earn Saints, which they can spend them on the things that they want or need from other members.

To sign up, check out their website and Facebook page.

St Andrews Environmental Network (StAndEn)

10455322_738217186201162_6047836635977374219_nStAndEn is a community-led energy saving project, which aims to help you reduce CO2 emissions and cut household fuel bills through simple low cost steps. If you live in private rented accommodation, they can do a free home energy assessment and tell you how you can make savings.

For more information check out their website and Facebook page.

St AndRe-Use

10154342_1380538758895673_1145329313350358460_nSt AndRe-Use is a student organised reuse scheme in St Andrews. They collect, sort, and give away all donated items for free! St AndRe-Use set up donation points across campus during exam and graduation weeks. They save the environment, space and your sanity from the burden of too much stuff!

 To get involved check out their webpage, or join the Facebook group to start claiming and giving away items!

Sustainability Society

1047963_1474211176126570_1312490545_oThe Sustainability Society’s mission is to raise the awareness about sustainability issues amongst St Andrews students, and are dedicated to making St Andrews as sustainable as possible. The society undertakes academic, social, and practical activities to implement sustainability at all scales – from organising seminars to practical action.

Join in and find out more by visiting their Facebook page.

Transition University of St Andrews

466289_251323201618555_1429781240_oTransition University of St Andrews is part of a global movement responding to the threats of climate change and resource depletion. Transition works on practical projects that help communities become more self-sufficient, minimises environmental impacts, and strengthens community ties.

To get involved email transition@st-andrews.ac.uk or explore the many projects on their website and Facebook page.

Veg Soc

10177317_762903493729892_1990981121759130606_nDo you love to eat and cook veggie and vegan food? Then this is the society for you! Join them for veggie feasts, potlucks, parties, picnics, trips and more. Everyone is welcome – no politics, just food.

Join VegSoc on Facebook to keep up to date with their events.

Wildlife & Conservation Society

seal10Interested in wildlife and conservation? This society holds events such as presentations, documentary screenings, moth trapping, bat tracking, local conservation work, and more!

Go wild and find out more on Facebook.

Most of these groups will have a stall at the Freshers’ Fayre (Sunday 12th Sept, 10-4 in Venue 1) so if any take your fancy then head along to find out more, and sign up to start getting involved in creating a greener St Andrews!

Big Butterfly Count 2014 – Diversity on your doorstep!

Every year, Butterfly Conservation carry out a nationwide survey – the “Big Butterfly Count” – of British butterfly species to monitor the populations of different species and assess the health of the environment.

Of course, they can’t do this alone, so people are encouraged to get outdoors and take just 15 minutes to look around themselves and note down which butterfly species they see, and to submit their results online.

We decided to do our bit and headed out into Albany Park Community Garden on our lunch break to see what we could spot…

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Thankfully the Big Butterfly Count provides a handy ID guide, so even the most inexperienced butterfly spotters can get involved!

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We counted eight green-veined white butterflies (Pieris napi) (above) and three large white butterflies (Pieris brassicae).

Determined to find more species, our web intern, Elena, carried out another survey at her house near Pittenweem and found an additional three species to those found in Albany Park:

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Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)

Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock Butterflies

Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and Peacock (Inachis io) butterflies.

It’s amazing to see how much diversity you can find if you just take a few moments to stop and look for it! The survey is very quick and easy to complete, so why not do your own survey outside your workplace in your lunch break, or in your garden with the kids this weekend?

The Big Butterfly Count is logging sightings until 10th August, so what are you waiting for?! Get out there and discover the diversity waiting for you on your very own doorstep!

 

Beautiful St Andrews Awards Judging!

If you haven’t noticed the arrangements around town made by the St Andrews in Bloom volunteer team, have a look out because they are fantastic!

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We hope the Beautiful Fife and Beautiful Scotland judges who have just finished their second round of judging this Wednesday agree. Last year St Andrews won a Gold Award and Best Coastal Town in Fife Award for its floral displays and community outreach initiatives all coordinated by the group of dedicated St Andrews in Bloom volunteers.

Among other improvements, this year the group has continued to set out new bespoke planters in multiple locations around town. Designed with repurposed materials by a local Fife artist these planters are unique and impressive contributions to the natural aesthetic that makes St Andrews such a great place to visit and live in!

This week’s judging route takes the judges from the impressive “glass-class” and alpine houses of the Botanic gardens, along to the container plantings at the West Port gate, through to St Mary’s quad, along down the Harbour to the new student community garden at Albany Park, and eventually ending up in Kinburn park to have a taste of the edible container plantings adjacent to the tennis courts.

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Stay tuned for the results of the judging expected in early September…

To find out more about the fantastic work of the St Andrews in Bloom group visit http://bloom.standrews.co.uk/.
To learn how to get involved with student community gardens visit the Transition group’s webpages http://www.st-andrews-botanic.org/.
To learn more about the incredible heritage of the Botanic gardens visit http://www.st-andrews-botanic.org/.

University Community Garden

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Students and staff have been enjoying these past few weeks of beautiful weather at the University Community garden. I popped down to visit them this week during their sessions held on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2:30 to see what they had in store for harvest time…

Turns out the harvest has already begun! I helped the volunteers pick strawberries, harvest garlic and onions to lie out to cure in the sun, as well as odd assortments of salad greens and herbs. Looking forward to the end of the month we have netted the mixed current bushes (from pesky birds), and have continued watering potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cabbage, broccoli, and more!

Get involved and join the garden today! Visit their Facebook page for contact details: https://www.facebook.com/#!/universitycommunitygarden/info