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!)

How To Have An (Environmentally!) Responsible Raisin

Raisin Weekend is one of the many weird and wonderful traditions that makes St Andrews such a unique and special place to study – not only that, but it’s also loads of fun!

In celebration of the event, and in light of the fact that all Raisin receipts require disposal after they are no longer needed, we’ve developed the following guidelines for constructing environmentally friendly and safe Raisin receipts and costumes to keep Raisin a truly sustainable tradition.

As a thank you for following these guidelines we will be giving away a meal for the entire family at the Doll’s House Restaurant for the most environmentally friendly and creative Raisin receipt and costume. Join the Facebook event here!
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How do I enter the competition?

Post a picture of your academic family with your receipt & costume on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EnvironmentStA, or via email at environment@st-andrews.ac.uk. Include a brief description of how it was made and why it is environmentally friendly. We look forward to seeing your creative ideas!

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How do I design a “green” Raisin costume/receipt?

Use your imagination! The best materials are things that can be recycled e.g. cardboard, wood, plastics, and fabric. Ask around the shops in town to see if they have any cardboard boxes you could use for your costumes/receipts, or have a look in the local charity shops for clothes and accessories for your costumes. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast year’s competition winners with their family of biscuits made from cardboard!

Von Trapp familyAcademic children dressed as the Von Trapp family, with outfits made from an old bed sheet!

good raisin receiptThe Mystery Machine! An example of a good raisin receipt – creative, fun, easily recyclable, and folds up flat so it doesn’t take up much room in the cardboard skip.

Remember, the tradition is based on raisins, which are not big! Keep your receipts to a reasonable size in order to reduce the amount of items taking up space in landfill.

Click here for the full list of our Green Raisin Guidelines.

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Additional advice

– October in Scotland can be very cold and wet – please make sure you dress your academic children appropriately!

– Raisin parties often result in a large amount of glass bottles…make sure to recycle these bottles at your nearest glass recycling point.

– Please be aware that due to logistical reasons, you will be required to remove parts of your costume that are not integral before you enter the quad so anything that you are carrying (apart from your shaving foam) including, but not limited to, cardboard, hats, props, and very bulky or pointy items will be removed and recycled. Therefore, please be aware that Estates are unable to keep or return items.

– If you arrive with a receipt that the University cannot dispose of (e.g. electrical goods, livestock, foam filled furniture, or excessively large items) we’re afraid you’ll be turned away at the Quad, miss the foam fight, and will be charged for the cost of disposal of the item.

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That’s the serious stuff out the way – just stick to the rules and you’ll be guaranteed to have a great time! Have fun, look after yourselves (and each other), and don’t forget to submit your photos after the big day – we’ll be accepting entries until 27th October.

P.S. If you’ve ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at the foam fight then click here to find out!

Behind the Scenes at Raisin

Did you participate in the Foam fight on Raisin Monday? We did! Every year, the University helps to organise this bizarre, unique, exhilarating tradition that is so unusual we are broadcast around the world. From the Students’ Association to Health and Safety to Estates and the Environment Team, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into making this day run smoothly….

After a briefing with bacon rolls and hot coffee, we set off to man our posts. The Environment Team and the Grounds staff organize two full size skips to take away the Raisin Receipts that are brought to the quad. Binn Skips, the company used, will recycle over 90% of this material after it is picked up! This is through a sorting and ‘dirty MRF’ (materials recovery facility) process, where rubbish is sorted at a plant to recover all possible recyclates, including wood, metals, plastic, paper and card, and tyres.

Years ago the amount of rubbish generated at Raisin was no way near what it is today, but these days with so many more students and ambitious academic parents these skips are nearly completely full by noon! Students are so creative these days we were very pleasantly surprised when the first students on site this year had real raisins as their receipts! Notable items that came through this year included:

 

 

the most massive blue balloon that popped on a low hanging branch…

the Mystery Machine…

a number of impressive thrones…

and even a wooden shackle rack…

Each year, we try to encourage academic parents to be creative with their Raisin receipts in terms of keeping the environment in mind, because essentially all the hard work of the academic parents ends up in the skip… As you can see, all sorts of things end up in there! We are very pleased that students are so keen to work with us to ensure that the Raisin foam fight is a success for all.

We even got to enjoy some of the receipts left with us!

 

 

After all the hard work, the Environment Team went through to the quad to join the rest of Estates and watch the foam fight…

And witnessed Helen Mackie, Assistant Director of Estates, welcoming one of the newest members of Estates, Beth Robinson, Health and Safety Officer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beth really enjoyed being ‘Mackied’…

Patrick O’Hare, Students’ Association President, even managed to get David Stutchfield, Energy Officer, and Barbara Aitken, Environment Officer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Wanted: For Foaming the Environment Team.)

 

 

 

 

Here is the before and after of the quad!

After all the fun, all the helpers chipped in together to clean up the mess. The SRC organized a brilliant clean up with student volunteers as did the Kate Kennedy Club.

And as the Environment Team left for the day and headed back to the office, the Grounds Department came out in full force to return the quad to normality.

Thank you all for a wonderful, smooth Raisin Foam Fight 2011, we look forward to seeing you next year!

See Bubble TV’s video on Raisin to see some of  our staff members!