Posts Tagged With: Student Blogger

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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Sustainable Mothers Day

Mothers day is upon us, and it’s time to make the best women we know realise how much we adore them. Of course, mothers day consists of loads of beautiful gifts like cards, flowers and bottles of prosecco that are great presents of course, but not so good for our environment. Here I will give you five present ideas for your amazing mother that are no danger to our environment:

1. Organic Flowers

If you ask your local florist, you can get organic and therefore eco-friendly flowers. People will rarely ask for them, therefore they will be easier to get hold of and they still look just as beautiful.

2. Homemade, Organic Jewellery

A number of shops create organic jewels nowadays, and your town center is sure to have at least one shop that is based upon their organic guidelines. This kind of jewellery has a much more rustic feel to it, and it makes the perfect mothers day gift whilst still being affordable.

3. ‘Mum’s Ultimate Survival Box’

Online shop Not On The High Street is selling a gorgeous beauty box by Green Tulip Ethical Living. It contains a selection of hand-picked natural products that any woman is sure to enjoy and feel beautiful in.

Check it out here.

4. Handbag Loving

A selection of well-known, high quality fashion brands create sustainable and ethical handbags. This includes Matt & Nat, Parker Clay and Purse and Clutch. As well as this, they’re incredibly affordable and you cannot go wrong with these gorgeous brands. Find the best ethical handbags here.

5. Make your own cards

This is the most simple and obvious option on this list. It’s so much more meaningful and personal to buy mum a handmade card that you put a lot of thought in to. As well as this, it’s also incredible to the environment to create it yourself.

There you have it, the amounts of ideas are endless.

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer 

 

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5 of the Best Sustainable and Ethical Fashion Brands

As consumers, we are becoming more and more aware of the detrimental effects we are causing to our planet. It’s reached a point where pretty much everything we do has some kind of effect on the environment, good or bad, and for some it’s becoming truly exhausting.

Many people don’t realise that there is a way to be environmentally-friendly in pretty much everything you do. This including, fashion. Some of the world’s most well-known and renowned brands are taking the steps to becoming more sustainable in their collections. I’ve noted five of the best:

1. Stella McCartney

The daughter of Paul McCartney is undoubtedly one of the pioneering designers in sustainable fashion. Her collections are luxury, and McCartney is committed. She’s been a vegetarian for the majority of her life, and she uses no real leather or fur in her designs. As well as this, she ensures that her garments are created in ethical environments, with McCartney heavily following the guidelines for ethical trade.

Image result for stella mccartney sustainable fashion

Photo Credit: Stella McCartney by Alice Von Der Burg

2. H&M Conscious

H&M is one of the most popular shops on the high street. I mean, I buy most of my clothes from H&M. On the affordable side of things, H&M has created a line of clothes that are completely ethical and sustainable. The line still conforms to H&M’s usual look, but it’s created out of fabrics that aren’t at the expense of our environment.

HM

Photo Credit: http://www.hm.com

3. ASOS Eco Edit

Ah ASOS, I love you. Going over to the online side of things, ASOS has also been eco-friendly. Whilst not actually creating their own line, the company has a ‘green room’ on their website which holds collections from a wide selection of eco-friendly brands. From vintage, to upmarket, you can’t go wrong.

http://www.asos.com/eco-brands/

4. Fat Face

In recent years, Fat Face stores have been popping up everywhere in the UK. One of the company’s biggest requirements is that the Code of Conduct is stuck to. The Code of Conduct states that their garments must only be created from factories that treat their employments fairly.

Photo Credit: Fat Face

5. New Balance

You cannot beat a pair of New Balance trainers. I own a pair, and I live in them. This incredible and sporty brand has a number of board members that are dedicated to stomping on the issues surrounding global supply chains, ensuring their products are made with the best care.

Photo Credit: Me, these are mine. 

So there you have it! If you want to know more, there is plenty available online to be seen about ethical and sustainable fashion, there are hundreds of more brands that practice what the rest of the world is preaching.

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer

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Two super easy homemade face-masks you need to try!

Are you aware of the great opportunities that are available to you when it comes down to making your own face mask?  Not only is it organic, but your skin will love it!

You may be thinking this sounds like a Pinterest fail going to happen but I am telling you now it’s not.

This time of year, your skin needs a lot of TLC and what’s a better way of doing that than using freshly sourced ingredients!? This is better for the environment because you’re using products that are friendly to your skin and have not been tested on. Here are two different home-made face masks for you to try:

First up is my all-time favourite which is the organic banana face mask. Basically, this will give your skin a healthy glow. All you need is:

  • One mashed banana.
  • Mix the banana with a tablespoon of orange juice and table spoon of honey.
  • Apply to the face for 15 mins.
  • Rinse your face with lukewarm water and do not forget to moisturize.

The second face mask does not sound amazing, but it’s brilliant for oily skin.  For this mask you’re going to need to:

  • Combine an egg yolk with a tablespoon of honey and then olive oil mixed with oatmeal.
  • Apply this mask for 20 minutes then rinse off with lukewarm water.
  • Use your moisturizer and toner like normal because your skin will love you for it!

There you have it, two beautiful organic face mask that will work wonders for your skin but is kinder to the environment.

By student blogger, Emily Jackson

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Some businessses are helping prevent global warming: here is how they’re doing it

A greenhouse gas is a substance that causes the greenhouse effect or as we all know it, the process of climate change. Greenhouse gasses are emitted into our atmosphere, acting as radiation and it warms the planet’s surface.

Greenhouse gas emission levels are heightened by a lot of things we do including: the transport we use, the way we produce and consume our food and deforestation. A huge contributor is the manufacturing sector. This sector produces raw materials and goods that we use every single day, we probably couldn’t survive without half of it.

These factories produce two kinds of greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Direct emissions: greenhouse gasses that are emitted at the factory/facility
  • Indirect emissions: greenhouse gasses that are associated with the facility’s use of energy, but it’s not on site.

In recent news, it has been reported that China (the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world) was reducing their coal power projects in a bid to use more renewable energies that won’t have a damning effect on our planet. With this movement leading the way, we have looked into the ways other businesses are trying to protect our planet.

1. Energy reduction

Big buildings are the biggest energy users in the world. This is textbook. Businesses have taken action to create certifications that ensue realistic energy reduce goals that will, in time, reduce the amount of energy they’re using – from 12% reductions to 100% reductions.

2. A green commute

Some workplaces are setting rewards for workers who have a ‘green commute’. They are being encouraged to bike to work, use public transport (even though public transport isn’t the MOST green way to travel, if 20 people use a bus/train as opposed to 20 cars? You see the difference) or even walk, instead of using cars and paying congestion charges as well as parking charges.

3. Developing a response

The effects of global warming are being felt in some regions of the world already. In more urban, MEDC, populated areas – this doesn’t feel like the case. In spite of this, businesses have been creating their responses to when these changes do start to happen. It’s allowing them to have a better understanding of how climate change will effect their business and themselves. Baby steps.

4. Assessing carbon footprint

When an organisation investigates how much pollution they are creating, they can gain a lot more scope into how they need to reduce said pollution emissions. A greenhouse gas emission assessment is actually a thing – a business can get one to determine where their changes need to be made once a figure is found.

5. The carbon tax

Basic economics tells us that putting a tax on an action reduces that action. The London congestion charge was introduced to reduce traffic (and car pollution) in the capital. Alas, it worked. In the US, a firm must have a permit for every tonne of carbon dioxide it releases into the atmosphere. Therefore, this introduces a price on pollution through a permit – which eventually leads to the prevention of global warming.

These simple steps are just some of the things that can be done to reduce global warming. If a large factory can do it, you can too.

W/C 23rd January 2017 sees #ClimateChangeWeek2017 at Canterbury Christ Church University. A week dedicated to raising awareness and having some fun with it to. Full details of events on our social media pages.

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer

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Goodbye 2016, hello 2017!

There is nothing like the excitement of a new year. A joyous occasion that brings us all together, gives us a new lease of life and in some ways, allows us to start again. After an amazing 2016 at the SGO – we’re ready to make 2017 even better.

2016 was disliked by a lot of people. We lost a lot of great talents, world politics became what can only be described as a bit of a, mess and the general mood was just not good. Our planet has suffered. Record temperatures were taken – with each of the first six months of 2016 recorded as the warmest in a modern temperature record which dates back to 1880, according to NASA. Later assessing of the climate concluded that 2016 was the hottest year on record.

Some positives did come from 2016. There was an 8% decrease in carbon emissions compared to 2014/2015, a 4% water consumption decrease and overall reuse has doubled from 2% to 4%. A small start, but progress is progress.

However, a new year breathes new life. We have a chance to make this year different, and start making a change to being more sustainable. With many people changing their diets in the new year (and hopefully sticking to it) and billions of new years resolutions – we’re already halfway there.

At the SGO, we have so much planned for this year in terms of events to get students and staff university-wide more involved and more importantly, more sustainable, starting with climate change week from the 23rd to 27th January.

More details will be shared as time goes on. We’re in for a very exciting year!

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Sustainable Gifts

Deeming a gift eco-friendly, to some people, makes it a bit strange and something that will be put in the cupboard never to be used again.

However, here we are, at the end of 2016 and there is so much choice for eco-friendly Christmas gifts for an amazing price. So. Many. Options. Here are a couple of my favourites:

Anything from Lush.

Lush Cosmetics are renowned for their beautiful all-organic products. Unknown to some, the products are so organic that they are edible. I wouldn’t recommend eating them, but you catch my drift. At this time of year (and all year around) Lush sell already gift wrapped, affordable sets with a great selection of their seasonal products as well as the classic ones we all know and love, all in recycled packaging.

Fairtrade Chocolate.

Chocolate is great all year round, but at Christmas it’s on special just everywhere and we all eat more than we normally do. Most well-known brands sell fairtrade chocolate nowadays anyway, but usually lesser known brands that have the fairtrade label taste better and are more affordable. Treat that chocolate obsessed family member this year!

Home-ware.

December festivities mean craft companies and environment charities join together and create ranges of gift ideas that are created with the environment in mind. Protect the Planet have an entire shop of stunning Christmas gifts that can go in the home, from recycled placemats to authentic lamps and glasses made from alcohol bottles. Vintage!

So, there’s a few ideas for you all. Enjoy!

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Tips to help you get through the end of term hurdle

With 2 weeks left to go until the Christmas holidays (yes!), these last couple of weeks of term seem to drag. As a third year, I’ve done this a few times now, and there is no worse time of year than the end of term. You have no money, motivation and you’re sinking in deadlines leaving you exhausted. Home, please.

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A chat with Caroline Smith, CCCU Show Choir

The end of this month will see the next of the Tiny Yurt Concerts – put on by CCCU’s unbelievable show choir. The group has risen in popularity massively over the last year, putting on shows all over campus and Canterbury. I’ve had a chat with the choir’s media officer (and good friend of mine), Caroline Smith, to find out some more about the show and the choir.

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