Posts Tagged With: Student Green Office

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.

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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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January resolutions: how eating healthy can keep your mental health positive

In recent years, eating healthy has been associated with maintaining your mental health. As a contributing factor that not many people actually know about in more detail, here is how healthy eating can bring you closer to healthy living:

Some figures:

It has been predicted that in the UK and other industrialised countries, we will eat more than 4 kilograms of additives every year. This is due to food’s available in shops that are, ideally, a lot quicker to prepare, as they are either half way made for us with a selection of unhealthy ingredients, or they simply just need to be heated up. This is called processed food. These kind of foods have resulted in us consuming a lot less fresh, nutritious, local produce. In the last 60 years, there has been a 34% decline in vegetable consumption, with only 13% of men eating their 5-a-day, and only 15% of women eating theirs.

The facts:

  • Foods that are high in sugar naturally give you a surge of energy as they are absorbed quickly in the bloodstream – meaning that once this surge is over, we are left feeling tired and low. A sugar comedown, if you will.
  • Foods like vegetables, fruit and wholegrain cereals are more filling, as the natural (and much healthier) sugars from them are absorbed into the bloodstream a lot slower. This also stops the possibility of mood swings.
  • These foods contain thiamin (B1), which has been closely associated with the control of mood. Zinc and folate have been proven to improve the mood of participants with depression in a number of studies.
  • Eating lots of vegetables has been closely associated with preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s later on in life – proven in a number of studies.
  • Bloating and discomfort, caused by fatty foods like burgers, pizza and chips can lead to low moods. Have vegetables ever made you feel uncomfortably full?

The facts are endless. By all means, still eat sugary foods every now and again. That will not hurt at all, it’s about maintaining balance. Fad diets have been proven to only be a short term fix for weight loss, but maintaining a balanced diet and exercise is a sure fire winner to keep the weight off for good.

Happy January!

By Amanda Elliott



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9 Reasons to volunteer

Well uni has already started and there are many volunteering opportunities out there, but you don’t know what to choose? Or you are unsure whether volunteering is worth your time or whether you will have the time for it? We have answers to these questions. Read the list below to find out why volunteer.  Continue reading

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Organic YOUR September

It’s the time of year when you’re scrolling through Facebook and you see a lot of posts saying “Sponsor me whilst I stop drinking for October!”, “Sponsor me whilst I stop eating chocolate for a whole month!”. These bids that people all around the world take for one short month are an amazing concept, if you really want to do it. It promotes a good cycle, if you give up something or do something different for an entire month, you can probably keep going for even longer.

Continue reading

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5 Things to do before going back to uni

It’s that time of the year again. It feels great knowing that you will be reunited with your friends soon and you probably get super excited thinking about all the fun things you will start doing with your housemates and about all the lovely essays you are going to write this year. In the same time though, you might feel a little nostalgic because summer is over and because you know you are going to miss your family and friends. Trust me, I know the feeling but I also know that the best thing to do is to make the most out of the last days of holiday, so here is how: Continue reading

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12 Ways to reduce packaging

In our modern world, almost all the goods we buy come in packages. We use the goods, then throw away the package. Excessive packaging makes up almost one third of the waste that we generate. This is why it is important to avoid non reusable packaging as much as possible. Here are a few ways of doing so:

  1. Use a travel mug when you buy coffee or tea.
  2. Bulk buys – saves money and uses less packaging than buying smaller quantities.
  3. Chose the package that is easier to recycle. For example, buy milk in glass or plastic than milk packed in tetra packs which are harder to recycle.
  4. Use a stainless steel water bottle and just refill it instead of buying plastic water bottles every time you need a drink.
  5. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables rather than canned ones.
  6. Use cloth napkins whenever you can instead of the paper napkins.
  7. Buy blocks of cheese instead of individual packed slices.
  8. Use reusable containers to store leftovers.
  9. Don’t use paper towels to dry your fruit or vegetables. Let them air dry.
  10. Avoid paper coffee filters.
  11. Use cloth towels to dry your hands and also use cloth towels to clean and wipe various surfaces around the house.
  12. Chose reusable baking trays over the aluminium trays.

Photo Credit: Scrap This Pack (no modifications were made)


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Recipes: Healthy drinks

As we discussed in a previous blog post, water is a vital part of life and it is really important to stay hydrated. Today’s blog post is about the fact that staying hydrated can be fun if done right. This doesn’t mean that you can drink sugary drinks because even if they are advertised as healthy they are not. What you can do, is prepare your own naturally flavoured drinks to help you drink more water. Have a look at some of this “fancy water” recipes: Continue reading

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Reflection on campus walk

How many of us keep our heads down as we rush round the campus from one place to another?  Do we take time to notice what is around us or pause to reflect on aspects of our own lives? Walk Ways is a series of six short guided walks around different parts of the campus designed to help us see the world and ourselves differently. They have been created and are led by three of CCCU’s academics: Victoria Field, Sonia Overall and Simon Wilson.   A group of twelve of us gathered outside the sustainability Yurt at midday on Tuesday 17th May for the first of the walks, to be taken on a ‘Pilgrimage to the Self’ under the expert guidance of lecturer, writer and poetry therapist, Victoria Field.  We paused to listen to sounds, we thought about the baggage we would like to leave behind, we pondered on things that are growing and we savoured arriving at a ‘special place’.  With readings from poetry and prose to punctuate our pilgrimage, this really was a chance to reconnect with our surroundings and ourselves in a completely different way.

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A further five lunchtime walks, all funded by the Futures Initiative, took place over the following few weeks. They were: ‘Boundaries and Portals’, ‘Stopping and Staring’, ‘Uncanny Canterbury’, ‘Green spaces and the Labyrinth’ and ‘Unearthing Ancient Paths’.    It is hoped to make information on these walks more widely available to staff and students come next academic year, and to offer the same walks again, guided by their creators, as intervals during the year. Maz Hamilton at can give you more information, if you’re interested in finding out more about this project.


Stephen Scoffham

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SGO: Why is palm oil a threat?

Palm oil is a threat to you, to me, to the rain forest, to orangutans, to the world. Why? Because it is one of the hardest things to avoid, as it can be found in most processed meals and household products and it has many negative effects. The palm oil industry is a goldmine for big corporations because it is cheap and it helps them make more money, which is why palm oil is so widely spread and why you can find it in almost everything we buy from supermarkets.

Firstly, even though palm oil is advertised as a healthy, vegetable oil, it is high in saturated fats, which are associated with coronary heart disease and high cholesterol levels which increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Not to mention that in order to obtain palm kernel oil, which is made from the pit, not from the fruit of the palm oil, the oil is extracted using a gasoline-like hydrocarbon agent- does this sound healthy to you?

Secondly, palm oil represents one of the world’s leading causes of rain forest destruction in order to gain space for the plantation of palm trees. This is bad for at least two main reasons. One of the reasons is the fact that rain forests, are unique homes to many exotic species of plants and animals and they produce 20% of the worlds oxygen, even if they cover only 7% of the earth’s surface. Therefore, cutting down rain forests is like cutting down on our oxygen. Another reason for which rain forest deforestation is bad is because it puts one of the world’s most endangered species, the orangutan, at risk. Orangutans spend about 90% of their lives in trees and as the palm oil destroys their only natural habitat, tropical lowland rain forests of the Asian islands of Sumatra and Borneo, orangutans who are not killed in this process remain homeless, starving or orphaned. Moreover, the orangutans who wonder around the palm oil plantations are killed as they are considered pests to the agriculture, even if the Bornean orangutan are endangered species and the Sumatran orangutan is considered a critically endangered species.

Even though companies are required by law to write a product’s ingredients on its label, usually palm oil is often sneaked in as “vegetable oil” or under scientific names that most of us wouldn’t understand. So when in doubt, just insert the unknown term in your search engine and see if it is good for you or for the planet. Also, to avoid palm oil, definitely avoid products which contain anything palm related and avoid products which do not label the oil they use clearly and look for the ones which do write 100% sunflower oil, or 100% olive oil and so on.

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SGO: 6 reasons why you should shop at charity shops

Let’s admit it – fashion is a big part of our lives. Even if you are not the type of person that is interested in keeping up with the latest trends, you still have to wear something. Buying clothes can not only have a negative impact on your bank account, because it can be expensive, but it can also have a negative impact on the environment, because growing the materials which are used to make clothes, such as cotton, can be a problem to the environment (Read our article about organic cotton for more details). However, charity shops can be a gold mine for people who want clothes which are more unique, cheaper and more sustainable. Here are 6 reasons why shopping at charity shops is great:

  1. It is cheap.
  2. You extend the life of a product and therefore you help with reducing the need to grow cotton and other materials.
  3. You can find unique things there, especially since some of the clothes you may find in a charity shop were made a while ago so the chances of ending up wearing the same shirt as the person next door are a lot lower.
  4. It helps the ones in need because the money goes to charity.
  5. You can find designer clothes for cheap. There are even people who donate designer clothes or at least clothes from more expensive brands. My mother once bough me a Tommy Hilfiger jacket for under £10.
  6. Macklemore does it too – OK I am not sure about this one but that is what he said in his thrift shop song in which he really promotes the cool things you can find in these shops. If he couldn’t convince you I don’t even know why I am still trying.

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