Learning about how to reduce food waste and a chance to try out electric bikes were among the activities on offer at the University of Worcester’s annual Go Green Week.
The event, run by students and supported by staff, saw each day themed around a different aspect of sustainability, including nature, food and wellbeing, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, re-use and repair, and energy and transport.
Sport and Exercise Psychology student Tomas Tmej, 21, who helped to run some of the activities, said: “I think this is a great way to spread the word about the environment and about how people should be more careful about what they throw away. It’s a good way to engage with the students on sustainability issues and it’s important that a university does that.”
Activities included cooking demonstrations, hedgehog housing making, crafting gifts from leftover materials, sewing repairs, making beeswax wraps as an alternative to cling film, yoga classes and a litter pick. There was a chance to try out an electric bike as part of the Woo Bikes e-bike share scheme that the University has been piloting and there were also samples of vegan food, and free plants, bird feeders and wildflower seed bombs.
A number of local businesses and organisations, dedicated to various aspects of sustainability, attended during the week to showcase ways we can all make a difference. This included beauty and lifestyle products with zero waste packaging and advice and information on how to waste less food. Pupils from Oldbury Park Primary School visited to take part in some of the activities.
Georgie Sherrard, 40, an MRes Biology student, was running a stall on how to make ecobricks - plastic bottles filled with pieces of plastic, which can then be used to make bricks for houses in the developing world. “I think Go Green Week is brilliant because it raises awareness of so many different acts of sustainability that need to have their profile raised,” she said. “It’s all about education these days with sustainability, so as an educational establishment it’s important for the University to raise awareness everywhere it possibly can.”
First year student Sophie Strommen, 22, studying Human Nutrition, was part of the student team leading the events. “I think it has gone really well,” she said. “There’s a lot to learn and I think having stallholders and organisations come to the University helps spread more awareness about how we can make the world better and be more sustainable.”
Student organiser Jess Bull, 22, also studying Human Nutrition, added: “I think Go Green Week is fantastic – I think all universities should do it because we have learnt so much this week.”
Go Green Week has been running at the University for 10 years and will be followed by a Go Green Week the University holds with partners in the City in April to engage members of the public.
The University of Worcester was recently named the UK’s top sustainable university in the Green Gown Awards 2019. It was awarded First Class Honours – for the 11th consecutive year – in the People and Planet University League in 2019, which measures sustainability performance at higher education institutions.
Pro Vice Chancellor, Ross Renton, said: “Sustainability is absolutely the core of what we’re about. It’s about educating people, it’s about increasing awareness of the issues around the world and making a difference, and our students and staff do that every single day. We want to have students who go out into the community, into the world and really make a difference.”