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

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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.

raisin award

Get secure! Locks, security marking and flashing armbands giveaway


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


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!


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:


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.

staff bike to work breakfast

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

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).


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!

Creative Engineering students visit Guardbridge & Kenly

This summer, 24 students from the South China University of Technology are visiting St Andrews to take part in a three-week long course on “Creativity in Engineering”, which has a stong focus on renewables and sustainable energy practices. At the end of their three weeks, the students must present their ideas for how the University of St Andrews can reduce its non-renewable energy usage, and help us reach our ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2016!


To help them out, David and Roddy from the Environment Team gave a presentation last week on the measures to reduce energy consumption, and the various micro and macro renewable projects that are currently ongoing within the University. The main two projects are the community wind project at Kenly Farm, and the biomass district heating project at Guardbridge, with students being offered the chance to visit these sites as part of their day out with the Environment Team.


First up was Guardbridge, located four miles west of St Andrews, and home to a disused paper mill. During our visit the students learned more about the history of the mill, and how the existing structures are going to be integrated into the new biomass energy centre to make it as sustainable as possible.


Using locally procured chipped wood, the new biomass boiler will annually produce 34.3 GWh of heat which will then be pumped to St Andrews via a 6km long pipeline to heat our buildings, saving 8,000 tonnes of carbon compared to our current heating process!


After a quick tour of the buildings we headed over to Kenly Farm, a piece of land that has been owned by the university for the last 600 years, and was once home to an airfield. Although the 6 turbines have not yet been built, it was very clear that this will be an excellent site for them based on the winds we experienced on our visit! These turbines will allow the university to take control of its energy production and reduce its carbon emissions by a further 19,000 tonnes per year, bringing us even closer to carbon neutrality.


 The students were really engaged with the topic of renewables, and asked many articulate and insightful questions throughout our day together. Needless to say, we were very impressed with their knowledge on the subject, and can’t wait to see what they come up with for their project proposals at the end of the course!

 To find out more about Guardbridge and Kenly, check out our videos here and here.