Fairtrade in St Andrews

Did you know that St Andrews is a Fairtrade University?

One of our Hall Environment Representatives helps spread the word about Fairtrade!

One of our Hall Environment Representatives helps spread the word about Fairtrade!

What is Fairtrade?

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‘Fairtrade as a certification is much more than merely an environmental certification, it is the only and best ethical and social certification that really ensures social and environmental, ethical and economic impact, and therefore human impact.’

Enrique Calderon

Coffee farmer, Coopeagri.

Fairtrade is fundamental to changing the lives of farmers’ and workers’ for the better. Fairtrade is an international movement primarily focused on improving trading conditions for farmers across the world. Fairtrade strives to achieve and maintain fair prices for farmers to cover aspects including production costs, and to ensure that they can achieve long term sustainable farming practices and livelihoods. In addition, Fairtrade guarantees long term contracts with the farmers to provide security for their families and local communities, and the opportunity to benefit from expertise that will enhance the skills needed to develop their businesses.

This is just the beginning! For more information on what Fairtrade does please follow this link.

What does it mean to be a Fairtrade University?

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Search Fairtrade in St Andrews on Facebook

‘A Fairtrade University or College is one that has made a commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade.’. Throughout the UK there are more than 170 Fairtrade Universities and Colleges. As a Fairtrade University we recognise the impact we have on producers and communities throughout the world, and therefore are committed to increasing the use and sale of Fairtrade products across our campus. The University’s Fairtrade Steering Group is also committed to engaging with staff and students to increase the awareness of the benefits it brings to farmers through social, environmental and security sustainability.

Our Fairtrade University status shows our recognition and awareness for our global responsibility as a higher education institution and the influence that we have. Being apart of this wider movement is of great importance to the University as we live in a continually changing yet fragile world and should therefore consider the wider impacts we make.  The potential we have to raise awareness of Fairtrade on this campus and to our wider community  is incredible. We are not only proud of our Fairtrade status but recognise the beneficial effect this could have on producers and farmers around the world.

We believe that people are at the centre of Fairtrade on this campus.

What does this mean for the future of our University?

Being recognised as a Fairtrade University is of great importance to St Andrews as it shows our on going commitment and support for Fairtrade across a variety of sectors, departments and disciplines. This commitment is not short term, it is long term, with not only our policies reflecting change in our on going support of Fairtrade but our outreach to staff and students. The University encompasses both staff and students, and as the University is Fairtrade we hope that our staff and students will show their support for this important movement in the years to come. The Fairtrade Steering Group, that maintains the Fairtrade status, will continue their efforts to increase awareness, access, and availability of Fairtrade products offered within the University of St Andrews through new, innovative ways.

How can you be apart of the Fairtrade University?

The University’s Fairtrade Steering Group is made up of a mixture of staff and student representatives who meet a couple of times per semester to discuss Fairtrade within the University and to renew and update policies if necessary. The University’s Fairtrade Steering Group also seeks to partner with St Andrews Fairtrade Town Group in offering support, joint promotion and positive and pro-active engagement.

From the 27th Feburary to the 12th March, Fairtrade Fortnight will be on and we are in the process of starting to gather ideas for these two weeks. The aim of these two weeks is to reach out to staff and students on the campus, and to the local community, to spread the word about Fairtrade as effectively as possible, informing people of what it is, the good work it does and where they can find Fairtrade produce in St Andrews.

If you would like to have your say about Fairtrade in St Andrews, would like to get in touch or have some creative ideas please do email us at fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Biking to work (and beyond)

Lindsey Mackay, the Sustainability Intern for the Environment Team, discusses the benefits of cycling to work and on-going projects and developments. The Environment Team strive to improve the sustainability agenda across the University and St Andrews.

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A cyclist enjoys a morning ride through the Old Course.

The image that sprung to mind when I first considered biking to work was not a particularly appealing one. Last year the UK saw 1272 mm of rainfall and with this in mind the thought of biking to work didn’t excite me in the slightest. Why would I want to arrive at work cold and wet?

Having recently moved to the edge of St Andrews I decided it would be a good idea to bring through my bike so I could easily get from a to b. In St Andrews the image of cycling to work or class is idyllic; cobbled, narrow lanes tucked away within the town center, a backpack full of books, and perhaps a bag full of groceries hanging from the handle bars. Students often choose to bike to their classes only to jump back on at the day to make a mad dash to get back to halls in time for dinner. This image may be familiar to many people, whether you cycle to work or class in and around St Andrews but cycling really does have many benefits!

I admit that at the beginning it was a struggle, particularly since I haven’t biked properly for 4 years. However, after a couple of days I started to feel the benefits. I noticed that I arrived at work energised, and found myself to be more productive throughout the whole working day. Now this might not seem like an obvious outcome, and for someone who often needs a mid-morning coffee to help me through to lunch, I certainly was taken by surprise at how refreshed I felt. Cycling provides a brilliant time to think about the day, to reflect and work off any built up stress. Furthermore, you get to beat the morning and evening work traffic which can be rather satisfying, it’s free with no fuel costs to consider, and there are absolutely no concerns about where you will park once you are home. Moreover, cycling is a green and sustainable form of transport, one with 0 carbon emissions and a way in which I can do my part to reduce my carbon footprint. Of course, there are some negatives to cycling, however I wholeheartedly believe that the benefits outweigh any negative aspects.

For some using their car is the only way they can get to work but for others biking to work is a very viable option. In 2012 cars represented 13.4% of all the UK’s CO2 emissions for that year. Since then these numbers have been declining, however more action is required. One way in which we can help to reduce the impacts of climate change on our world, the people and ecosystems within is by assessing our individual carbon footprints and taking action to reduce it. It’s true, the actions required may not always be easy however, we have a responsibility to care for our environment. On average you could save £1000 annually by choosing to bike to work. Although these results are conditional on factors including length of journey and type of car, it is evident that the savings are significant making it a more attractive option for people to switch to.

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Taking an evening bike ride past the Old Course and West Sands.

I have now found a way to use an enjoyable mode of exercise to transport me quickly to work, whilst benefiting the environment and reducing my carbon footprint. And biking to work is not the end of the story. Taking evening rides to chase the setting sun across the Old Course and West Sands has become a favourite past time, and with a beautiful setting like St Andrews I would encourage anyone to go explore in the quiet of the evenings on their bike. It’s true that up till now I have only experienced biking to work in the sunshine and haven’t yet faced the brutalities that can come with a true Scottish winter. I may need to invest in some good quality waterproof trousers. Any recommendations?

The University of St Andrews’ Environment team strives to help make the community of students and staff at the university live and act in sustainable ways. Just one of the ways in which we aim to do this is by engaging with staff and students. Recently we conducted a travel survey, now implemented every year, in order to establish the travel patterns and behaviours of those working within the university. The survey included potential effects of the developments at Guardbridge by considering the effects on travel when selected departments move out to the new site. We hope that the results of this survey will help us to put long terms plans into place to encourage and support staff to switch to (or keep using) sustainable modes of transport amidst all the upcoming changes.

THIS WEEK in St Andrews there will be a free bike to work breakfast at the Students’ Association on the 25th of August from 8 am – 10 am, and all staff members are warmly welcome. The Bike Pool team will be on hand to give advice and to do maintenance work. Bike Pool do regular drop in sessions around St Andrews and more details can be found by clicking here. If you are interested in cycling in St Andrews please take a look at the new St Andrews cycle map which is now available on the university website.

Click on the links for more information or get in contact with us!

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Evening views across the Old Course.

Fairtrade and Brownies

Lindsey Mackay, the Sustainability Intern for the Environment Team, discusses Fairtrade and shares a recipe which can be enjoyed by everyone. The Environment Team strive to improve the sustainability agenda across the University and St Andrews.

Fairtrade is an international movement helping to improve trading conditions for producers in poor countries. The movement strives to achieve and maintain fair prices for farmers to cover aspects including production costs, and to ensure that they can achieve long term sustainable living. In addition, Fairtrade guarantees long term contracts with the farmers to provide security for their families and local communities, and the opportunity to benefit from expertise that will enhance the skills needed to develop their businesses and increase production in a sustainable way. Fairtrade is fundamental to changing the lives of farmers’ and workers’ lives for the better. For example, according to latest data from the Fairtrade Foundation, workers on plantations spent 26% of their Fairtrade premium on education1.

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Look out for the Fairtrade symbol when you are at the shops.

It is important that we all think about the choices we make on a day to day basis, particularly when they can directly affect the livelihoods of others. Having researched the effects of the international food trade during my time at University, I strongly believe in movements like Fairtrade. We can often take the food on our plates for granted, but I have come to discover and learn about the shocking, unjust, and yet sadly true stories behind the treatment and payment of farmers who work hard to support and provide for their families and local communities. I now actively seek to look for the Fairtrade Mark (see picture above) when I go on my weekly shop, and it’s easier than you think. Many products are covered by the mark including bananas and chocolate (two staples of my weekly shop), yet still more can be done. You can play an important role in supporting this movement by looking out for and buying products in your local supermarkets and shops with the Fairtrade Mark on the packaging.

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Before..

I have to admit that I am a bit of a baking enthusiast. If I could live of cake for the rest of my life I would. I like to think of myself as a good baker, however, one bake that has always defeated me is the brownie. Multiple recipes have been tried and multiple methods used but all with the same result; a soggy mess. When I recently received a recipe from a friend I was skeptical due to previous failed attempts in the kitchen but I wanted to give it a go. The result? Mouth-watering, rich and moreish brownies that the Environment Team seemed to enjoy. Success!

If you want to try out the recipe I was recommended follow the link, and remember to look for Fairtrade ingredients when you go to the shops (I find that Green & Black’s Organic Fairtrade Cooks’ Dark Chocolate works particularly well with this recipe!). Stay tuned for more delicious recipes using Fairtrade products!

If you would like to get to more about Fairtrade in St Andrews and how you can get involved please email lm222@st-andrews.ac.uk, visit our Fairtrade Facebook page or click here for more information.

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The result!

1http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/what-is-fairtrade/facts-and-figures

The New Sustainability Intern

Last week the Environment Team welcomed their new Sustainability Intern, Lindsey Mackay, to the team.

11407155_10204150318418553_3892817286074196572_nLindsey has recently graduated from the University of St Andrews’ Geography and Sustainable Development department with Geography (BSc). She is looking forward to taking over and developing the projects that George King, the previous Sustainability Intern, has been working hard on over the past year. Having thoroughly enjoyed her last four years as an undergraduate at the University, Lindsey is thrilled that she is able to stay another year in St Andrews whilst using the skills and knowledge she has developed through her studies to help make the University a more sustainable place.

Over the next year Lindsey will be focusing on outreach, engagement and communication with student, staff and the local community. Lindsey will primarily be helping the University to achieve the sustainability agenda and goals. Part of the intern’s role is to support with University sustainability initiatives including Transition. She will also support the other members of the team: David Sutchfield (Energy Officer) and Barbara Aitken (Environment Officer) on their projects including the Environmental Facilitators Network, developments with projects including the renewable energy park at Guardbridge and Environmental Hall Rep training.

You can stay up to date with what the Environment Team are working on through their Facebook page and via Twitter. The team have also joined Instagram and you can follow them by searching environmentteamstandrews.

Lindsey enjoys horse riding, baking and going on walks with her camera so expect to see a few photographs from time to time!

If you would like to get in contact with Lindsey directly please don’t hesitate to send her an email at lm222@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Follow us:

Facebook: EnvironmentStA 

Twitter: EnvironmentStA

 

 

 

Green Raisin Competition Huge Success

The Environment Team have partnered with outdoor adventure group Blown Away Experiences, to deliver a hugely successful Green Raisin Competition, which seeks to promote and reward environmentally-friendly behaviour amongst students.

Modern ‘raisin receipts’ have made a departure from traditional Latin parchment once given to academic children and have since gained a reputation for being oversized, unwanted items instead. This has become a problem when it comes to their disposal as they are hard to recycle and contribute to landfill waste.

To combat this waste, students are being encouraged to think about the environmental impact of their receipt and costume efforts. Now in its third year, the Green Raisin Competition encourages academic parents to design their children’s costumes and receipts so that they are made from 12122578_10207943469213463_2715722554013700019_nreused materials, which are light and easily recyclable.

Congratulations to this year’s winning entry which was both creative and gave consideration to its environmental impact. Their ‘dragon’ costume was made entirely of unwanted cardboard boxes gathered from shops around St Andrews, bed sheets from local charity shops and old bamboo canes from their garden. As a reward, the winning family were treated to a kayaking and SUP-ing (stand up paddle boarding) session, courtesy of Blown Away Experiences.

blown away prize croppedThese efforts to engage students with waste reduction were acknowledged at the Public Sector Sustainability Awards, where St Andrews were ‘Highly Commended’ in the Best Waste and Recycling category.

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Get secure! Locks, security marking and flashing armbands giveaway

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Locks, cycling safety leaflets and flashing armbands

Want to reduce the risk of your bike from being stolen? Looking for a lock to protect it? Want to be more visible as the nights draw in? Then come along to one of our ‘get secure’ sessions!

Not only are we selling bike locks at a subsidised price of £10 (RRP £15) but we are also giving away reflective and flashing armbands for *free*. That’s right – free!

On top of that Police Scotland will be offering security markings for your bicycles and electronic equipment – again – at no cost.

All of the sessions are between 1230 and 1400 and the dates and locations are as follows:

Thursday 1st October  – Andrew Melville Hall
Thursday 8th Oct – Agnes Blackadder Hall
Thurs 15th Oct – University Hall
Thurs 22nd Oct – John Burnett Hall
Thurs 29th Oct – St Salvator’s Hall
Thurs 5th November – Albany Park
Thurs 12th Nov – St Regulus’ Hall

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Last week’s session at DRAFP

If you are still looking to purchase a bike then you can join the Bike Pool on Facebook or contact BikeWorks on Facebook or by phone on 01592 751500 who provide second hand refurbished bicycles.

Green Events not to miss this Freshers’ Week

Here are the highlights for all things sustainability-related in St Andrews during Freshers’ Week – don’t miss out!

Monday

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 & projects.

The Big Giveaway with StAnd Re-Use (same time, Arts lecture theatre): Household items, kitchenware and stationery donated by previous students, all available for free! That’s right – FREE! Arrive early to avoid disappointment and don’t forget to bring a bag

Tuesday – Carbon Conversations, St Andrews Botanic Garden, 12pm – 1:30pm

Carbon Conversations is a free 6-session programme run in St Andrews which looks at individual carbon footprints and what can be done to reduce them, through interactive sessions which include games and group discussions as well as individual reflection. This taster session will introduce you to some of the activities so you can decide if it is for you, while enjoying lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the St Andrews Botanic Gardens. Bring a friend and pick up some great energy and money-saving tips!
Meet at the front gate at 12pm or find us either in the glassclass or learning den. Bring your lunch and we will have some to share

Wednesday – Sow, Grow and Eat at the University Community Garden, 2-4pm
Growing your own food is a skill for life. 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. Find out more and get your hands dirty at this special session in the St Andrews University Community Garden where we will be harvesting crops and enjoying some food made from the garden’s produce. Drop in at any time during this session. (Edible Campus: Transition UStA event)IMG_1524

University Community Garden (opposite the Observatory on Buchanan Gardens)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1145078895519158/

 

Thursday – Charitable and Volunteering Fair, Students’ Association, 11am onwards

Passionate about development and Fairtrade? Then come to our stall at the Charitable and Volunteering Fair and find out how you can get involved. This is an especially exciting time to do so as the town is celebrating its 10 year anniversary as a ‘Fairtrade Town’ and the University will also be celebrating its 10 year anniversay, in 2016. What are you waiting for?

Friday – Freshers’ Bike Sale, Agnes Blackadder Car Park, 10am onwards

Looking for a cheap, green and healthy way of getting  around town? Want to learn how to fix your bike? Then come along to our annual and extremely popular second hand bike sale!

This year Bikeworks will bring bikes, teaming up with St Andrews Bike Pool so you can learn to fix your new bike or bring along one you own already to ensure it’s in good working order.

We sell out very quickly so make sure to be early to avoid disappointment!

 

freshers bike sale

 

Staff Bike to Work and bag a free Breakfast

Yesterday saw around 30 members of staff from the University cycle to work; coming from various locations, some near and others from afar. The Bike to Work Breakfast was hosted a week ahead of national Cycle to Work Day to coincide with Physical Fitness week, part of the University’s Wellbeing calendar.

As shown in these two maps (below), 18 staff came from outwith St Andrews and across Fife, the furthest travelling over 15 miles from Ladybank and others taking part in a “park and cycle”, parking at Guardbridge and cycling the rest of the way to St Andrews along the cycle path.

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Maps showing the distance cycled on Thursday morning

 

Not only were they rewarded with some Scottish sunshine and for their efforts, a free (and healthy!) breakfast was provided by the Environment Team, which was served in John Burnett Hall.

Staff enjoy their free breakfast

Staff enjoy their free breakfast

 

On top of this Jim, from the St Andrews Bike Pool (below), provided a helping hand to fix any minor issues with the bikes.

 

Jim lends a helping hand to fix staff bikes

Jim lends a helping hand to fix staff bikes

And temporary bike racks were provided to cope with the demand from our cyclists. This year the Environment Team has helped to install 270 new cycle parking spaces across St Andrews.11949616_10155950715725494_2123367270_n

In total 315 miles were covered by staff which equates to 70kg of carbon dioxide – enough electricity to power an LCD TV continuously for 17 days! Well done everyone!

Meet your new Sustainability Officer Intern

This week we welcome George King into the Environment Team as this year’s Sustainability Officer Intern.

George has recently graduated from the School of Geography and Sustainable Development with the University of St Andrews and is keen to apply his degree by getting stuck into projects t11807407_10155838635200494_9150909643641792920_o-204x402hat Lynsey Smith, the previous Sustainability Intern, has worked hard on throughout the year. Lynsey’s efforts are greatly appreciated by the Environment team, other members of staff and students across the University and we all wish her the best for the future!

George will build on these efforts by focusing on outreach, engagement and communication with staff and students, whilst also supporting University sustainability initiatives, such as Transition. He will also support the other members of the Environment Team: David Stutchfield and Barbara Aitken on their exciting projects, which include the Environmental Facilitators Network, recycling schemes and implementing the renewable energy park at Guardbridge to help fulfil the University’s goal of becoming carbon neutral, in energy, by 2016!

Stay up-to-date with the Environment Team’s work via Facebook and follow us on Twitter @EnvironmentStA.

Get in touch with George by dropping an email to gdk2@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Meet the 2015 Interns – Eloise Cotton

Continuing our “Meet the Interns” series, this week we’d like to introduce you to our second and final intern this summer, Eloise Cotton:

Eloise CottonName: Eloise Cotton
Where are you from?: Chicago
Internship title: EcoCampus Intern
Degree and year of study: BSc in Sustainable Development (entering 4th year)

 Give a brief snapshot of your role:
I am working on developing a business case for the EcoCampus scheme, a tool created for the Higher Education system to help with the implementation of an environmental management system. I am also performing a gap analysis to determine which areas the University needs to concentrate resources on.

What attracted you to this internship with the Environment Team?
I believe University is not only a place of academic learning but also a place where students form their lifelong behaviors. I was attracted to this internship because it involves assessing what the University is currently and planning on doing to be more environmentally conscious and ultimately shaping student’s behaviors.

What have you learned/what skills have you acquired so far from the internship?
I have so far learned a wide range of skills by working with the Environment Team and EcoCampus. I have created a legal register, drafted an environmental policy and various procedures, determined aspects and impacts, created management structures and conducted a baseline environmental review of the University’s practice.

How does this internship fit into your future career plans?
I am still exploring which part of the vast Sustainable Development sector that I want to work in. This internship will help me see if I am interested in working within institutions and helping improve environmental policies and goals.

Share one tip for sustainable living that you wish more students would adopt:
Never purchasing a plastic bag even if you forget to bring your own bag (you can carry a surprising amount by getting creative).

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Click here to meet our Travel Carbon Intern, Richard, and check out the projects last year’s interns (Dominyka, Daihachi, and Elena) worked on last summer!