Raisin Monday: Behind the Scenes

IMG_6798Every autumn, hundreds of first year students get dressed up in a variety of creative costumes by their academic mums, collect a receipt from their academic dads, then participate in a massive shaving foam fight that is broadcast across the world’s press in celebration of the St Andrews tradition that is Raisin Weekend.

In order to make this event run smoothly, a lot of University staff are involved – from the Students’ Association, to Student Services, the Janitors, Grounds staff, and the Environment Team, as well as assistance from Police Scotland. So what does Raisin Monday look like from behind the scenes…?

The morning starts off with a tour of the waste collection locations and Lower College Lawn (the home of this year’s foam fight), before heading into Lower College Hall for a hot cup of coffee and a bacon roll!

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DSC_0450The calm before the (foam) storm…

The janitors and grounds staff receive their briefing, then head out to finish setting up the barriers and man their stations!

DSC_0396John Jardine, Head Janitor, delivers the briefing.

DSC_0444The Grounds staff, ready to recycle!

The Police help control the crowds on North Street, managing the traffic and directing those headed to the foam fight through crowd barriers where they will meet the Environment Team!

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Two large skips are set up behind College Gate, along with glass and food waste bins to help separate the waste from everyone’s raisin receipts.

skipLynsey Smith, Sustainability Officer, ready to collect receipts!

This separation process has led to 2014 being the first ZERO WASTE Raisin Monday, meaning that every receipt collected was able to be recycled! All the waste was collected by the Binn Group and taken to a recycling facility just 30 miles west of St Andrews in Glenfarg. The collected food waste was anaerobically digested, which turns the waste into biogas and biofertiliser, which will be used to produce heat and electricity, and fertilise the fields of Fife! The recovered plastic, cardboard, and wood waste from the receipts was then separated and sent on to be given a new life as (among other things) plastic bottles, fleeces, newspapers, tissue paper, MDF, animal bedding, and biomass fuel.

Not only is this year the first time no waste has been sent to landfill, but it’s also the least waste we’ve ever collected – the receipts weighed under a tonne, when in previous years the receipts have weighed between 3-4 tonnes!

IMG_6802The skip isn’t even half-full!

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It’s always great fun to see the creative costumes and receipts the academic parents come up with…

DSC_0620…the Raisin Express

DSC_0631…a Tunnock’s Teacake

DSC_0744…raisins

DSC_0867…and Buzz Lightyear!

More photos of the costumes can be found in our Raisin Monday Facebook album.

After all the hard work collecting and sorting receipts, we head through to watch the end of the foam fight from the press area, where the world’s media were snapping away, capturing the foamy fun.

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DSC_1031Even the Sabbs aren’t safe from attack…Students’ Association President, Pat Mathewson, gets foamed!

Once people have had enough foam, they exit onto the Scores after a quick hosing down. The Grounds staff then move out to begin the clean up and restore Lower College Lawn to its former (unfoamy!) state.

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We hope you all enjoyed Raisin Monday this year, even with the change in location. In fact, I think a lot of people preferred holding it on the lawn as it allows academic parents access to view the fight from a safe distance to take photographs!

Thanks again for following the Green Raisin Guidelines, and doing your bit to help make this Raisin Monday the greenest one yet…and if you haven’t entered our Green Raisin Competition then send your photos to environment@st-andrews.ac.uk before Monday 27th to be in with a chance of winning a meal for the whole family! Good luck!

(a huge thank you to Amanda Cook for all the photographs!)

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