The winter season, leading up to holidays and the advent of a New Year, encourages a little bit of reflective thinking, a glance back at the year we have left behind.
While we’re frustrated about all the difficult stories that come to us from all over the globe in this hyper-connected age – the Go Green team have been thinking about doing some bad news offsetting.
Knowing that bad news is a bubble we want to pop it – and what better way than to focus on the local things we have been working on, the big and small ways in which we have been able to affect our immediate environment and make some changes.
Let start with a major concern in the Go Green office.. Food!
Since September, Go Green sold 221 organic fruit and veg bags to our regular co-operative members. With a combined budget of £1186 this term, all the folk who’ve signed up are enjoying the benefits of all that locally sourced seasonal and organic fruit and veg and undoubtedly warding away many ailments in the cold months.
Running the veg co-op has also become a sustainable enterprise through the hard work of a number volunteers who run the scheme almost independently. Bianca Mourik, already a pro, not only co-ordinates an average of 40 bags, but also between 3 and 10 other volunteers who turn out to pack and pick up the goodies.
The Veg Co-Op has also done well through the successful launch of our weekly Zero Waste Café as we have been able to top up the orders to supply the café and consequently add to the choice of things on offer. Since opening its doors in September, the Café, supported again by a dedicated and wonderful team of Student volunteers (you know who you are!) has served no less than 450 low carbon meals over a nine week period. And when you add 250 desserts to that, you get a very delicious big picture.
We have dabbled with stews, curries, soups and many many other more exotic dishes producing menus that are also responsive to food that would have been heading to landfills and supporting Fareshare, our partner organisation in the process. And its not just main course – we have also made starters, breads and perfected the art of the crumble.
But its not just about the food – we have also debated, danced and watched films together producing 10 different events and hope to expand our programme in the new year.
What else? As well as cooking and all the food waste facts we have learned along the way (like did you know that literally 1/3 of all food in the world ends up totally wasted) we have also been building knowledge of energy and cash saving techniques in the home.
We have trained up 12 of our ambassadors in Home energy auditing. This training will not only travel with them to their own home environments, but also into households all over Aberdeen where our newly qualified auditors will be fitting energy monitors and providing bespoke advice to folk at risk from fuel poverty in the area. So far we’ve seen 5 homes and it’s only just growing!
Watch this space for more heartening stats in the New Year when we roll out our full programme of home visits and put more volunteers on the training programme. And if you live in halls look out for the halls energy challenge coming in January! And look out for the prizes and freebies of course.
Finally, how did we get to where we are?
Well thanks to Kathryn many many more of us literally got on a bike. This year we have 33 bikes to hand out along with lights, helmets and advice to stay safe on the roads. Our bike team have also ran 2 training sessions to give folk more confidence on the road and in traffic.
But we haven’t just been converting people – we are also supporting people with old and new bikes that need work. We have serviced 19 bikes through the bike doctor and the establishment of a brand new workshop for bike repairs!
We’re really proud of this new endeavour. Taking inspiration from BeCyclye at the University of Aberdeen, RGU now has its very own place where cycle enthusiasts, commuters and beginners can come to share skills and learn how to maintain and repair their two wheeled friends.
In the future, we hope that it'll be fully kitted out with all the tools you'd need for all those different jobs. We're also looking at getting qualified mechanical staff to oversee the repairs. Watch this space and come on board to make it a success!
For those who aren’t in a position to give up the car, we have been working on spreading fuel efficient driving techniques around the campus. After more than 20 students tried out our driving simulator to test their fuel usage wisdom, we have offered 4 people bespoke advice & a chance to do a personalized training. We’ve also initiated a car share page on Facebook – so check it out if you think you could give someone a life or find one for yourself.
As the first term and 2016 are drawing to a close, we should all reflect on the good bits and especially how far we’ve come! Leave us at least 1 of your favourite memories in the comments – and it CAN be just as simple as ‘had the best curry of my life at the Go Green Café’.
Onwards and upwards, let’s have a better year ahead,
All of us here at RGU Go Green (and the ridiculously oversized hats)