What makes St Andrews a Fairtrade University?


The University of St Andrews was recently re-awarded Fairtrade University status by the Fairtrade Foundation…but what does that mean?

Fairtrade University status is awarded to universities in the UK which have made a commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade. In order to be awarded this status, universities must satisfy the five goals of the Fairtrade Foundation:


1. Passing a Fairtrade policy statement

Not only does the university have its own Fairtrade policy, but the Students’ Association has one too! Both are publicly available on the university’s website, and are reviewed regularly. By supporting Fairtrade we are doing our bit to help support farmers, producers, and their communities by guaranteeing better prices, working conditions, and terms of trade to allow them to develop their farms whilst also protecting the environment in which they live and work.


2. Get Fairtrade products on campus

The university’s cafes stock a wide range of Fairtrade food and drink including coffee, tea, sugar, fruit juice, chocolate bars, cookies, and flapjacks. The Students’ Association shop also sells a wide variety of Fairtrade clothing including hoodies, t-shirts, polo shirts, and jogging bottoms of various designs.

In catered halls of residence, fairly traded rice and lentils are served. The university is participating in Just Trading Scotland’s Rice Challenge, and has so far raised enough money to send fourteen Malawian children to school for a year.


3. Use Fairtrade products at meetings

Fairtrade coffee, tea, sugar, and hot chocolate are the only options offered at meetings and events hosted by the university. Not only that, but the range of products has recently been expanded to include decaf coffee and flavoured teas! These Fairtrade products are also served at weddings catered by the university, and all graduation garden parties and dinners.


4. Organise Fairtrade campaigns

Every year the Fairtrade steering group hosts a number of events to help raise awareness of Fairtrade. This semester we have held a Fairtrade bake sale in conjunction with the university’s Oxfam society, and have published a Fairtrade Christmas Gift Guide to help provide some inspiration for your festive shopping!

Fairtrade Fortnight is coming up in February and will see a whole host of events being held to raise the profile of Fairtrade on campus, so watch this space for more details early next semester!


5. Set up a Fairtrade steering group

Our Fairtrade steering group meets monthly to discuss various Fairtrade issues and ideas. The groups is composed of staff from the Environment Team, Residential Services, Catering, Procurement, and Students’ Association, as well as students from a variety of year groups, and representatives from the St Andrews Fairtrade Town Campaign.

This year we have also taken on a Fairtrade Events Intern to assist with the planning and publicity of all our events, and are always looking to grow our steering group – if you’re interested just email fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk for more information!


So there you have it! Being named a Fairtrade University is a wonderful accolade, and we hope to build upon our current successes and expand our range of products. If you have any ideas of your own, or want to get involved, contact fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk to get started!

Guest Blog: Fairtrade Christmas Gift Guide

giftguideheaderThe Environment Team work closely with the University’s Fairtrade Steering Group, and are proud to present this guest blog written by their Fairtrade intern, Catriona! Read on for lots of great ideas for ethically-conscious gifts…


Shops in St Andrews


Iain Burnett specialise in fairly traded chocolates. Their famous speciality truffles have just started being sold in the store, but there are a range of chocolates available from fruits to floral. The perfect gift for all chocolate lovers!


If you are looking for something a little different, Oxfam currently have a wide range of household items, stationary and gifts, including gifts designed just for Christmas! It’s well worth a look if you aren’t sure what to get for someone.



For cute and individual decorations and pieces Bonkers have a range of Fairtrade wood, metal, glass and fabric gifts.



Looking for something that screams St Andrews that will also keep you warm in the cold winter months? Your Shop in the Students’ Association have some lovely Fairtrade cotton clothing including t-shirts and sweatshirts. Perfect if you are looking for a gift for yourself or someone else.


bootsextractsFor the person who likes a bit of pampering, Boots extract range is all Fairtrade and includes: body butter, body wash, and sugar scrub, in a variety of scents. Perfect for a “treat yourself” evening.



Why not try putting together a Christmas hamper for all those people you aren’t quite sure what to give. Shops all around town have a huge variety of Fairtrade goodies just perfect for a hamper…



For Teas and Coffees, try: Balgove Larder, Save the Children, St Andrews Health Foods, Sainsburys, Tesco, Starbucks, Morrisons, and Spar.

For Chocolates try: Burns Sweet shop, Mitchells Deli, Holland and Barrett, and Luvians Ice Cream Parlour.


Online Goodies

For sports lovers…check out Bala and Nigel’s Eco Store for a range of Fairtrade footballs.

For those who enjoy a tipple…why not get a bottle or case of Fairtrade wine, or for something stronger, try Fair Spirits’ quinoa vodka or Belize rum?

For those that like to accessorize…check out the ethically cool jewellery ranges available from Eighteen Rabbit, Amazon, and Luna Tree.

For children…there is a wide variety of Fairtrade clothing, toys, and more!

For more inspiration…browse dedicated Fairtrade retailers like Shared Earth, Eighteen Rabbit or Etiko’s for a huge variety of clothes, accessories, food gifts, homeware, toys, stationary, and much, much more!


St Andrews Citizen: “Green Light for Energy Centre”


The University of St Andrews’ drive to become a carbon neutral institution came a step closer this week when plans for a biomass development at Guardbridge were approved by Fife Council.


The £25 million investment will see power generated through clean biomass at Guardbridge and hot water pumped for four miles underground to St Andrews to heat and cool its labs and residences at North Haugh and Fife Park.


The biomass plant will sit alongside the university’s planned six-turbine wind farm at Kenly, east of St Andrews, supporting a strategic drive by St Andrews to become the United Kingdom’s first carbon-neutral university and saving around 500,000 tonnes of carbon in the next 20 years alone.


In a quick decision on Wednesday, members of Fife Council’s north east planning committee approved the university’s planning applications to develop the former paper mill for both university and business uses, creating the Sustainable Power and Research Campus, and all the ancillary work connected with piping hot water to St Andrews and returning the used, cold water to the biomass plant.


The three-part plan for the paper mill includes the energy centre with a log store and wood chipping area; a second zone for industry, research and testing; and thirdly, industrial, office and storage facilities.


The green energy produced on site and at Kenly will help the university protect jobs and ward off the effects of rapidly rising external energy prices. Although St Andrews has managed to cut its power consumption in recent years, energy prices have been continually hiked by the big power companies, representing a major threat to investment in front line teaching and research.


In addition to the energy centre, the university’s plans for Guardbridge include a Knowledge Exchange Hub to provide “missing link” facilities which would allow research and discoveries made in university labs to be translated to working prototypes.


The centre will also offer affordable accommodation to local companies, with the aim of attracting businesses and skills linked to the renewables sector.


Councillors did express concerns about where the material for the biomass plant would be sourced. The university has said the facility will use only virgin roundwood, locally sourced from sustainable forests within 50 miles of the plant and councillors wanted to be sure that meant the wood was locally grown, not imported from overseas by local merchants.


Councillor Bryan Poole described the plan as “a good news story and a very ambitious project for the university”.


A spokesperson for the University of St Andrews said: “We are delighted that planning permission has been granted and that this exciting project has passed another significant milestone.


“Guardbridge offers a tremendous opportunity to establish not just a green energy centre, but a wider campus for innovation, research and development. We look forward to working with our local community and neighbours to bring significant benefits to the village of Guardbridge itself, the university, Fife and Scotland.”


The £25 million cost of the scheme is backed by a £10 million grant from the Scottish Funding Council which is supporting carbon reduction schemes across Scottish Higher Education.


Story first published in the St Andrews Citizen.

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!


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!


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!


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_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.


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.

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!)

Carrier Bag Charge (Scotland) – What’s It All About?

ErnieElephantHave you spotted posters like this one popping up in shops? The adorable elephant is named Ernie, and he’s helping spread the word about the single use carrier bag charge coming into force in Scotland from 20th October.

This means that no matter whether you’re shopping for groceries, clothes, books, toiletries, or any other item, if you want a bag to put them in you will be charged 5p.

Why are we being charged?

scotland bags

Scotland uses 750,000,000 carrier bags every year – more per person than anywhere else in the UK. This legislation has been introduced in Scotland in an attempt to:

– reduce litter
– protect wildlife
– save the natural resources that are used to make/distribute bags
– encourage people to reuse their bags
– help tackle climate change

The legislation has already been introduced in Wales, and after just one year of the law being in place, the use of new plastic bags decreased by 75%.

Where does the 5p go?

The proceeds from the 5p charge will go to environmental charities and other environmental initiatives.

Exemptions from the charge

exempt bags

There are some exceptions to the 5p charge. Bags that will not incur a charge include:

 – very small paper and plastic bags used for e.g. loose fruit, greetings cards, pick n mix sweets
– bags for carrying uncooked meat, poultry, or fish
– bags for unpackaged exempted items e.g. unpackaged food or drink for human or animal consumption, prescription medicines, unpackaged knives or blades, or items that could be contaminated by soil
– specialist bags e.g. courier bags, or bags for carrying live fish
– bags used to carry items purchased on board vehicles, or in duty free

How to avoid the 5p charge


It’s simple – take a re-usable bag with you every time you shop!

You can reuse bags you have previously been charged 5p for, although they may wear out after some time. Supermarket “Bags for Life” last a bit longer, and most supermarkets replace them free of charge when worn out.

Cotton tote bags are more expensive than plastic “Bags for Life”, but will last longer and are more convenient to carry around than jute or woven bags. We’d recommend you go for Fairtrade cotton if available, or bags made from organic cotton. There are loads of cool designs to choose from, they fold up small enough to pop in your bag or pocket, and will help you avoid that 5p charge.

For more information on the carrier bag charges, check out Carrier Bag Charge Scotland’s FAQs.

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!

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!


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.


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.


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!

Hall vs Hall – Interhall Energy Competition and the Champion’s League

interhall energy pic

Now that you’re all settled into your halls of residence, hopefully you’ll have discovered that the St Andrews residences come with a great deal of hall pride. What better way to show off this hall spirit than by pitting each hall against each other in a fierce (but friendly) competition!?

I am, of course, talking about the Interhall Energy Competition – a chance for halls to compete to win £150 for their committee’s funds each month by making the most energy savings relative to their target. The target is set based on how much energy your hall used that month in previous years, and adjusted to take account of any improvements that have been made (such as installing low energy lights or boiler improvements).

So how can you help your hall win?

– Turn lights out when you leave the room (or if the sun comes out!)
– Switch off electrical appliances when you have finished using them
– Don’t over fill the kettle if you’re only making one cuppa
– Put on a jumper (or a suitably cool alternative!)
– Turn radiators off if you open a window
– Participate in energy reduction activities organised by your hall’s Environment Rep
– Check out our list of even more helpful tips on how to reduce your energy consumption in halls

How can you check your progress?

– View your hall’s energy consumption LIVE
– Like the Interhall Energy Competition Facebook Page to check the monthly results

hall champions leagueIt’s not all about energy though…

On top of the Interhall Energy Competition results, the Hall Sports League and Hall Charities Competition results are combined to produce the Hall Champion’s League – a way of rewarding halls for not only their performance, but also their participation.

Points are awarded to your hall for raising money, saving energy, and winning games, but points are also awarded for halls which host a lot of charitable events, run environmental campaigns, and enter teams into sports fixtures. It’s not all about winning after all!

At the end of the year the hall with the most cumulative points for charititable fundraising, energy saving, and sports success is presented with the Hall Champion’s League trophy, and the satisfaction of knowing their hall is the best!

If you want to find out more about the Interhall Energy Challenge (or the Hall Champion’s League) then get in touch by emailing interhall@st-andrews.ac.uk, or tweet us on our shiny new Twitter account: @interhallenergy

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!

Freshers Week 2014 – Green Event Line-Up

Freshers Welcome Facebook HeaderThere’s just a few short days to go until St Andrews will be full of new faces (and some more familiar ones) ready to embark on another year of studying and socialising. If you’re keen on getting involved with any of the “green” societies and groups in St Andrews then read on for the Environment Team’s top picks of environmental events happening across the town over the next week or so…

Friday 5th September

7.30 – 10pm – Bioblitz at St Andrews Botanic Garden

Saturday 6th September

10am – 4pm – Bioblitz at St Andrews Botanic Garden

Monday 8th September

11am – 3pm – Big Green Fair – St Katharine’s Lawn

11am – 12.30pm – St AndRe-Use Giveaway – Arts Lecture Theatre

2 – 3pm – Local Food Shop Walk, hosted by the One World Society – St Katharine’s Lawn

Tuesday 9th September

1 – 4pm – Sow, Grow, & Eat with Transition – Community Garden

Wednesday 10th September

10am – 12pm – Wild Food Walk – Sailing Club (East Sands)

12.30 – 4pm – Gardening Session & Pot Luck Lunch – Albany Park Community Garden

2 – 3pm – Pizza & Beer with BioSoc and WildSoc – Bell Pettigrew Museum

3 – 5pm – Carbon Conversations Taster Session – Old Union Diner

Thursday 11th September

11am – Rockpooling with WildSoc – West Sands

11am – 2pm – Charitable & Volunteering Fair – Venue 1

1pm – Saint Exchange Free Picnic – St Mary’s Quad Lawn

1 – 2.30pm – Veggie Pot Luck Picnic with VegSoc – Students’ Association Garden

6 – 8pm – Green Drinks Social with Transition – Old Union Diner

Friday 12th September

10.30am – Bike Sale – Agnes Blackadder Hall car park

12.30 – 2pm – One Pound Lunch with the One World Society – St John’s Garden

2.30 – 4pm – Edible Campus Tomato Session – St Andrews Botanic Garden

Sunday 14th September

10am – 4pm – Freshers’ Fair – Venue 1

The Environment Team will be getting stuck into the Big Green Fair with our “Green Pledge Mural”, dishing out cycle safety tips at the bike sale, and of course, will be on hand at the Environment table at the Freshers’ Fair to answer any questions. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to St Andrews, and look forward to a green year ahead!

MUSA: Sustainability in Practice

The University of St Andrews is well known for its research and teaching in Sustainable Development, but it’s not just the students that are benefitting from the University’s commitment to sustainability. As one of the most publicly accessible University buildings, the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), is extending the sustainability teaching beyond the classroom by showcasing its eco-credentials to the general public.

P1060479 The Museum of the University of St Andrews

First opened in 2008 to display the treasures of the last 600 years of the University, MUSA has worked from the very beginning to ensure that these precious historical collections are housed in a way that is as sustainable as possible. As the chosen location for the museum is a coach house from the 1860s, and a grade 2 listed building, certain restrictions were in place when planning the extension to the gallery space. The requirements of the collections were also taken into consideration during the planning process, and a pitched roof was added into the design in order to accommodate a large stained-glass window.


 The large, stained-glass window on display.

As luck would have it, this roof design is ideal for hosting solar panels, which are used to provide power for the lights and lift in the building. The panels are easily viewed from the rooftop terrace (along with a stunning view of West Sands beach), and are accompanied by a graphic panel explaining the energy saving measures in place at MUSA, as well as an energy display meter. The roofing slates were recycled from another building, and the majority of materials used in this development were also locally sourced to further reduce the footprint of this extension.


Solar panels and energy display meter.

The museum’s commitment to sustainability has not impacted on the care of the exhibits inside, on the contrary, some of the energy-saving measures in place actually help protect the collections! The ground source heat pump extracts heat from the rock beneath the car park through three 67m deep boreholes, then heats the galleries via underfloor coils. This method of heat distribution not only saves 9 tonnes of COannually, but also ensures heating is evenly distributed throughout the building, preventing the formation of “hotspots”, and meaning artworks can be hung anywhere on the gallery walls. Likewise, the use of low energy LED bulbs are not only more economical, but also prevent the build up of heat within display cases.


Visitor’s information panel on MUSA’s renewable energy.

On top of these large-scale measures, MUSA also keeps an up-to-date green noticeboard, organises green family-orientated events for the local community, and grows its own fruit in the front courtyard. From these efforts, it is clear to see why the museum achieved such a high rating in the Green Tourism Awards. MUSA is a shining example of sustainability in practice in St Andrews, and thoroughly deserve their gold award.

Click here for more information about visiting MUSA.