New communications officer for the Student Green Office

Hello I’m Ellie, your new communications officer for the Student Green Office.

I’m a multimedia journalism student going into my final year in September, which all seems to have flown by! I much enjoy living and studying in Canterbury as there always seems to be somewhere nice to visit.

My journalism course has meant I have met up with lots of different people to conduct interviews and experienced covering live events, which are two things I would like to bring to this blog over the next year.

I would really like to consider the sustainable development goals a lot more in the blog by creating regular posts about what our local area is doing to encourage sustainability in this part of the world. This project will enable me to meet with lots of local people, get interviews and pictures which I can put into the blog to hopefully make it more engaging for our readers. I hope to keep our social media accounts active and get more people following us!

I feel really excited to have been given this opportunity and look forward to getting stuck into it properly in September. I really want to push the blog out there so it is seen by more and more people over the next year.

 

 

 

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Howletts sponsor endangered species treasure trail.

Looking for a fun day out this summer? Look no further than Kent’s original wildlife park, Howletts. With plenty to see the zoo has the largest herd of African Elephants in the UK and more gorillas, leopards, tigers and monkeys than any other zoo in the county.

Howletts

Photo taken at Howletts by Claire Nicholson.

The park offers excitement for all ages with its 90-acres of beautiful ancient parkland, free animal talks, opportunities to watch keepers feed the animals, or experience walking with the Lemurs. Not only does the zoo also have over 400 animals for you to see, but as they’re a conservation charity your trip to Howletts will help protect the UK’s wildlife. This means that your visit enables Howletts to send animals back to the wild in partnership with the Aspinall Foundation.

Over the last few years the Aspinall Foundation has released eight black rhinos, nearly 50 Javan Langurs and over 60 Western Lowland gorillas back to their natural habitat. These are just some of the animals that have been returned to where they belong because of the Aspinall Foundation’s belief that reintroduction of animals into their natural habitats will help to conserve wildlife and their habitats.

howletts gorilla

Photo taken at Howletts by Claire Nicholson.

The Foundation is a world class conservation charity who are dedicated to protecting endangered species all around the globe. There are many way you can get involved with the charity, whether it’s giving small donations, adopting an animal or taking part in fundraising events. For more information click here.

Howletts zoo generously sponsored our University by donating four tickets as a prize for our endangered species treasure trial which involved ten photographs of endangered species, present at Howletts Wildlife Park, being dotted around campus. The adventurous hunt took place from May 1st until the 12th and saw many people get involved. There was also £200 up for grabs for the winners club or society thanks to Christ Church Students Union. Little clues were revealed throughout the event on our Sustainability Facebook page.

hint

Clue seven taken by Claire Nicholson.

So why not take a trip to Howletts when you’re next free? Not only will you have a great day but your visit will help the animals that you see get one step closer to their home in the wild.

To book your tickets or to take a closer look at the zoo visit their website.

 

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Walk Ways collaborative campus walk

Week four of the Walk Ways guided campus walks saw a group of our University staff take on a collaborative walk created by Sonia Overall.

The walk was planned to be playful and experimental, which it certainly lived up to as the team were tied together by the legs.

With trust in their team member’s hands, the group shared bundles of laughter as the interesting session took place.

See their journey below:

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The walk started with the group connecting by holding on to each others shoulders, as one individual led the group through campus.

They then picked directions from a bag which asked them to turn in circles, move in a figure of eight and walk on edges, all while linking arms.

As you can imagine a few passers-by wondered what was going on!

Some worried faces appeared from the group when Sonia informed them that the next activity would involve them being tied together at the legs.

However, they soon overcame their initial fear and found a technique which meant they stayed on their feet and avoided any unwanted falls.

The Walk Ways guided campus walks are a great way to take time out from your usual daily activities and to experience something new. This walk definitely gave the staff some time to escape from any day to day thoughts and to think about nothing else but the task in hand.

Sonia was also very pleased with how her walk went:

The Futures Initiative fund the Walk Ways guided campus walks, which have been designed to encourage people to see and experience their surroundings in an unusual way.

Both students and staff are welcome to attend the walks and we encourage more people to try something new!

The next walk is to be held on Wednesday 17th May, for more information click here.

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Climate and it’s relevance to this election

With the snap election fast approaching, the UK is in a midst of debate. This election is different as it’s a snap election, and due to the implications of Brexit, it’s dividing the nation more than ever. With other parties loosing out and stressing to their voters to either vote Conservative or Labour, we need to be sure on why the environment should be an important factor of any election.

By the time the next election rolls around in 2022, the climate could have risen by 1.5C. This is the level that it was agreed not to be reached at the Paris Summit in 2015. If we keep burning coal, gas and oil at the rates we are currently, we would have surpassed this temperature by this time.

Naturally, the biggest issue here is that it can be changed. It is not inevitable. If we become more hands on and increase our efforts of lowering emissions, the effects will pay off immediately. With parties vowing to end fracking and fight for a greener nation, we need to ensure our votes are carefully thought out. If climate is at the top of your personal manifesto, then listen up.

It is so important that we, as young people, vote for who has the best manifesto. Avoid voting for a party purely because you do not want someone from the opposing party to get a seat. This is how individuals end up regretting their decisions, as well as things going horribly wrong. Over a million young people are not on the electoral roll, and our vote makes a huge difference.

Register to vote at: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Photo Credit: David Bagnall/Alamy, April 2014

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer

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3 reasons why student wellbeing is important

University can be a scary place. You’re living on your own for the first time, the work can be stressful and sometimes it can become a bit much. As a third year student, there are countless occasions in which I have just wanted to be at home with my parents, or wanted to stop having so much work. It is completely normal.

The key to ensuring that you don’t sink under the stress, is to talk about it, and have your distractions. With so much to do in Canterbury, there is always something you can do to take your mind off things. The beautiful coffee shops, activity days at places like Escape Kent, the beaches nearby, places to go out drinking – the list goes on. Your wellbeing is the most important thing, here are five reasons why:

1. To keep on top of your university work

As hard as it can be, the biggest goal of coming to university is getting your degree. The incredible amount of support at CCCU for students that are struggling is incredible, so if you are struggling, talk to your personal tutor. They will be able to give you encouragement as well as any assistance you might need.

2. To make sure you get the most out of university

As well as achieving a degree, university has so many more functions. You shape life-long friendships, make incredible memories, amazing job experience and usually come out as a much different person than when you first came in. It is so important that university is an amazing experience for everyone who goes, so do your very best to get the most out of it.

3. So people can learn from you

Social media, being the massive influence that it is these days, if you’re at university, you could be showing prospective students who you have on your friends list what university is all about. If you’re happy and healthy, people will learn from you.

Health and wellbeing is becoming more and more important and recognised. At Canterbury Christ Church University, there is so much help on hand if you need it. You are never alone. The Student Wellbeing Fayre is on 21st April 2017.

#StressLess

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer 

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Student Wellbeing Fayre

On April 21st, the Student’s Union will be holding the Student Wellbeing Fayre. There will be puppies, stalls by charities and us at Sustainability.

The purpose of the student wellbeing fayre is to ensure the students at Canterbury Christ Church University are happy and healthy, and it works as part of the #StressLess campaign. During these busy times of exams and final assignments, it’s so important that we keep ourselves well, and not too overrun. It is okay to take a break, it is okay to feel stressed. There are thousands of students who are going through the same thing as you, and you are never alone.

The Student Green Office’s presence at the fayre will include photo competitions, opportunities to become better informed, games revolved around wellbeing, as well as information about the upcoming treasure trail, and much much more.

We saw it fitting to ensure our presence at the Student Wellbeing Fayre, as students ourselves, we understand the importance of keeping on top of things and the entire notion of #StressLess.

The fayre will be an excellent opportunity to get away for a couple of hours, be wowed by some gorgeous puppies, meet some new people, and generally just take your mind off your studies for a little while.

The fayre is taking place in the library (Augustine House) from 10:30 till 18:00 on 21st April 2017. We hope to see you there!

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Egg-cellent ways to keep your Easter sustainable

With Easter approaching, the excitement for the copious amounts of chocolate and hot cross buns is becoming more apparent. Like any holiday, the selection of goodies that comes with it has the ability to not be sustainable.

Here are 5 tips to keep your Easter holiday sustainable:

1. Recycle your wrappers

All aluminium foil wrappers are recyclable and quite a wide variety of people don’t know about this! Make sure that when adding this to your recycling, you scrunch it up into a big collective ball. Small bits of foil don’t get taken by the recycling, make it worth it!

2. Fair Trade Chocolate

Buying Fair Trade and palm-oil free chocolate is not only delicious chocolate that tastes no different to anything else, you are making a world difference by improving the standards for farmers and their families in the countries in which chocolate is being produced. The lack of palm-oil also stops our forests from being cut down. This is so important!

3. Organic and local meal ingredients

A lot of people will join their families in a roast dinner on Easter Sunday, I know I will. When shopping for the ingredients for this meal, try your very best to buy local produce from your butchers and green grocers. It makes an incredible difference, and it’s much better for you as well.

4. Sustainable Easter baskets and painted eggs

One of the most fun times to be sustainable is with crafts. Painting eggs but using natural dyes is incredibly sustainable, as well as creating your baskets out of recycled materials, even your own Easter materials!

5. As little packaging as possible

A holiday means tonnes of wrapping paper, gift bags, plastic plates, the list goes on and on. Using recyclable materials for gifts is a solution, as well as keeping it plain and simple.

From all of us at Sustainability, we wish you a wonderful Easter.

Photo credit: Peter Biela 

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer

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The government is forgetting about climate change

It is no doubt that the thing everybody in the UK is talking about this week is Brexit. Article 50 has been triggered, and the process is beginning. Whether we like it or not, it’s happening, and unfortunately, that’s that.

All of the merriment surrounding this lead me to ask myself; how will Brexit effect the environment? Upon research, I found that it will, quite considerably too.

The letter in which triggers Brexit does not mention the word climate once. Not. Once. It was also announced that there would be no research into the effects of Brexit on our environment by environment minister George Eustice. Just some of these examples show how low climate and environment is on the political list of priorities, this became even clearer when the offices in which were used for the now abolished department of climate change were used for Brexit.

Leading on to other nations, the mention of climate in political parties is almost void. The exposure it has gained, unfortunately, was negative, coming from Donald Trump. Trump has essentially disregarded climate issues from his entire political agenda, branding it fake and scare-mongering.

The sad fact that remains, lands on that there isn’t a great deal we can do about it. In the UK, the media is heavily controlled by Westminster, the lack of climate change related media reflects this and suggests bad leadership. What can be done to make the world understand that this problem will not just go away?

At this point in the proceedings, there genuinely isn’t much that we can do, except for making changes in our own lives and leading campaigns within our natural demographics. The argument we can make stands – if the media and government takes more interest in this very REAL problem, would some issues begin to get resolved?

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer

Photo Credit: Michael Beckwith 

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Spring Festival Event Review

A fight against the elements. A nightmare gazebo. Today marked the annual Spring Festival, and we were determined to man our tent despite the obstacles thrown our way. Armed with our campus grown ale, our Good Shed bread, honey, jam, and recipe cards we played the waiting game. Adjacent to us was a group partnering with Strada, where many types of Italian delicacies were sold, and the adjoining Pizza/ Italian dessert stand next to it. Each item beckoning for me to try it.

What was a slow start for our Sustainability stand gradually gained momentum as the event went further on. Many seemed disappointed that our bread oven wasn’t in operation that day, but we reassured them that it would be re-assembled for our next event. As a substitute, we had bread from The Good Shed which proved to be quite popular along with our campus grown-ale.

spring fest.jpg

One of the particularly amazing stalls was a fair-trade smoothie stand. Powered by an electric bike, you made your own smoothie (with the ingredients cut up by those that manned the stand). The faster you rode, the quicker you got your smoothie. The smoothies were ready in 45 seconds maximum, so you wouldn’t have been riding the bicycle forever. Anyone who didn’t jump on the bike missed out on some delicious smoothies.

To our left were regulars at the Spring Festival. Their produce was locally sourced and their most popular item, the venison burger. I’ve never had venison before, and I had wanted to try their stuff last year, but my funds were lacking at (the struggling life of a uni student) the time, so I had to postpone that desire. It was amazing! I would definitely buy venison burgers if I knew where they were sold.

To our right was a stand with an array of cakes such as a tantalising Oreo cake.

If I listed all the wonderful stands that I saw on the day, then we would be here all day. If you didn’t come to the Spring Festival this year you should feel ashamed. But you have to make sure you are there next year, deal?

By Francis Olaku

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Chocolate Tasting Evening: Review (01/03/2017)

Over the course of your lifetime, on average you will have consumed 10,000 chocolate bars. I have probably long exceeded that amount, and I feel no shame about that. This evening marked the sequel to the last Divine Chocolate tasting that took place two years ago. The long distance relationship between myself and Divine chocolate had reached boiling point as I had not tasted her in so long. She was happy to see me again.

For those who do not know, Divine Chocolate is a Fairtrade company whose farmers have long since benefited from this process. They’ve invested in many ventures in their communities, some of which include adult literacy and numeracy classes for women for instance. If they didn’t receive the profits they did from their Fairtrade commission, who knows if we would still receive such quality chocolate.

choc tasting

The evening started in reverse order. First we got to taste some really “Divine” chocolate (see what I did there)? Then Divine Chocolatier Erik Houlihan-Jong led us on a chocolate historical odyssey that debuted in Mesoamerica, to its introduction to European audiences via Cortés. Erik’s larger than life persona made the history lesson worthwhile.

We were then given the low-down on how Divine chocolate gets made. The processes making me appreciate their elegant chocolate much more.

Next we indulged in a sensory tasting session. We were instructed to feel the texture of the chocolate. With Erik explaining why it felt the way we did. After that we attempted to listen to the chocolate. Like the last time I heard nothing, the chocolate bar was playing with my feelings. When we did the snap test then I knew that the listening test was a trick. We then got to the part you’ve probably been waiting to hear about. Drum roll please…….. The tasting. Erik had us push the chocolate through our mouths starting from our tongues. As the chocolate danced around my mouth, I was in a state of euphoric bliss. The chocolate and I were one. Had I ate the chocolate the way I usually did, I would not have appreciated the taste as much. It momentarily made me forget that Divine Chocolate do not sponsor me, but I got free chocolate and you didn’t which is all that matters.

Sadly the event ended. On the plus side, I bought some chocolate. I hope it will not be another two years until I’m reunited with my lover Divine chocolate.

We hope to welcome Erik and Divine Chocolate back to CCCU very shortly!

By Francis Olaku

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