Monday, 28 February 2011

Fairtrade Fortnight

Look out for the Fairtrade guarantee mark this fortnight

Today sees the start of Fairtrade Fortnight at the University of Greenwich and there is a plethora of events, deals and treats lined up for you over the next two weeks. The Fairtrade Foundation who organise Fairtrade fortnight nationally, are set up to promote and empower workers within less economically developed regions to gain a fair price for their produce. One of the ways that they do this is through the instantly recognisable Fairtrade mark which they award to products that comply with the Fairtrade Foundation’s standards. Put simply when you a buy a product with a Fairtrade mark on it you are guaranteed that the people who farmed or picked the product in its raw state, whether coffee, chocolate, cotton or banana are receiving a fair price for their work and often working in much improved conditions than farmers and workers who are working to produce products that do not receive the Fairtrade mark.

Fairtrade banana farmer (Photo: Simon Rawles)
The University and Students Unions have long been supporters of Fairtrade, and many Fairtrade products have been available across campus for some time. Recently though the University has decided to organise its efforts towards Fairtrade through the creation of a Fairtrade steering group last year and the approval of a Fairtrade Policy this year: Earlier in the month the University applied for Fairtrade University status which we hope we will be awarded before the fortnight is up.

So to encourage everyone on campus to support the cause we have brought together the University’s caterers ABM and Sodexo along with the Students Unions SUUG and UMSA to offer you the best deals on Fairtrade throughout the fortnight and a chance to learn about the difference your money can make to these people’s lives.

In all ABM outlets and cafes you will find an increased range of Fairtrade items being sold, including home baked cakes made with Fairtrade ingredients and Fairtrade bananas on top of all the usual delicious Fairtrade teas, coffees and chocolates. To encourage you to try Fairtrade ABM have arranged for some mouth watering prizes including a Fairtrade hamper and a Fairtrade chocolate experience to be won at each campus. Each time you buy a Fairtrade item you can claim a Fairtrade raffle ticket which will give you the chance to win one of these fabulous prizes. The winners of the prizes will be announced and contacted after the fortnight is over. While you are eating and drinking your Fairtrade delights in the cafe you will be able to read all about how Fairtrade helps the workers and farmers who grew and picked the product in the first place.

Fairtrade Chocolate experience to be won at each campus

In Sodexo’s outlet at the Dome there is a power-point presentation on loop across all the screens telling the story of Fairtrade farmers that you will be able to watch while you enjoy the increased range of Fairtrade goods on offer. As well as this, if you are feeling creative, you can join in the Fairtrade world record attempt at creating the longest continual piece of bunting ever with Fairtrade cotton bunting and drawing attention to the ‘great cotton stitch-up ‘.

SUUG poster for their Fairtrade Raffle
The Universities at Medway Student Association (UMSA) are holding a free raffle to win a Fairtrade cotton hoody, have an increased number of Fairtrade products on sale and will allow you to sample their Fairtrade products in the UMSA shop at Medway. The Students Union University of Greenwich (SUUG) are continuing with the theme of raffles and also offering you a chance to win a Fairtrade hamper full of all sorts of wonderful items including a University of Greenwich hoody made using Fairtrade cotton. For the drinkers among you there is good news too as Sparrows Farm and Bar Latitude are launching Fairtrade Wine Week from next Monday – all week long you will be able to get special offers on Fairtrade wine and perhaps get the creative juices flowing enough to contribute to the Fairtrade bunting record attempt. See more info on the SUUG website

The message is clear, this fortnight get yourself to the cafes, shops, canteens and bars on campus, enjoy the Fairtrade products that we have on offer and use the experience as a chance to learn about Fairtrade and what it means to the people whose lives are affected by it.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Photos from the Greenwich Green Week

The final day of Green Week saw the fayre roll into the Greenwich Campus. The day at Greenwich brought together staff and students who work and study on the campus. Along with the popular stands the day also saw Camilla Goddard take a number of staff and students to see the hives at the Mausoleum despite the pouring rain!

Graeme from ABM catering gets in early to prepare the culinary delights offered up by caterers ABM to the participants of Green Week. He has cheeses all local and organic, apples from Kent and cakes and flapjacks baked in house using Fairtrade products.

Dr. Bike gets onto some major bicycle repair, kindly provided by Greenwich Council for staff and students for absolutely nothing. After having his bike fixed one student remarked, 'this is the best event a student could wish for!'

Free food draws in the punters.

Camilla Goddard prepares the smoker before opening up the hives. The smoke helps to calm down the bees and allows beekeepers to tend to their bees without them getting angry.

Twelve staff and students came along on the 'Meet the bees' walk and got a chance to peer into the inner workings of the hive.

And this is what they saw. Bees reduce their numbers considerably in the winter time but come summer time and at the height of the pollen and nectar collecting season this hive could have as many as 70,000 bees inside.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Walking Works Quiz

As mentioned on this blog before the University is involved in an initiative to encourage staff members to walk more, whether it is going to and from University, or getting up in lunchtime and having a stroll to stretch their legs and see the local scenery. Run by the charity Living Streets and supported by the Greater London Authority, Walking Works have been supplying the University with support and ideas to get more staff members walking.

The latest initiative is a walking quiz that can only be won by staff members getting out of the office during the lunchtime break and exploring the local area surrounding the campus. Questions require staff members to explore and pick up answers from local sites of interest. At Greenwich the questions will take you out to Ballast Wharf and up to the Royal Observatory and at Avery Hill you will need to explore the further reaches of the campus and walk across Avery Hill Park to find the answers. My advice to you is to get out there and explore - but before you do write down the questions and take a pad and pen with you - I managed to forget two of the answers before I got round to filling out the quiz!

On to of this there is a £50 voucher to be won, one for Avery Hill Campus and one for Greenwich Campus.

Take part in the quiz by clicking here (staff login required).

You will find Ballast Wharf by heading towards the Power Station at Greenwich

Look out for the first signs of Spring as you walk through Avery Hill Park

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Avery Hill Green Week Fayre

Today the Green Week fayre arrived at Avery Hill. Staff and students came along to the Dome to find out what the University is doing to reduce it's environmental impact, get their bicycles fixed by Dr. Bike, try out the bicycle powered generators and have a go at out rubbish competition!

Joanne  from the School of Architecture explains the rules of her 'Rubbish Competition'

Staff and Students write down their green ideas on what they would do if they were Vice Chancellor for the day.

Vanessa from Greenwich Council and Simon from the Transport Team promote the virtues of green travel to staff and students.

Moira and Ian get ready to attempt Joanne's 'Rubbish Competition'

Mike from explains to Gerrard how the average person spends £25,000 in a lifetime on soft drinks - switch to tap water and imagine what you could spend the money on.

Carol from the Avery Hill Library and John showing off the University's sustainability credentials.

Iain Metters and Tony Dodson race to see who can generate the most electricity

Lots of staff members went to try out cross-campus videoconferencing as a way of cutting down cross-campus travel

Green Week Photos

Photos from the Medway Green Week fayre

Medway Green Week fayre in the Pilkington Building

Graeme from the University's caterers ABM shows off their sustainable food credentials and Fairtrade products.

Two students race each other on the bicycle powered generators supplied by the School of Engineering

Naomi our student Fairtrade representative shows of what the University is doing to reduce its negative environmental impact.

John and Kat from the Sustainability Team race each other on the bicycle generators.

The bicycle generators continue to be a hit with competitive students wanting to race.

Can you pedal for long enough to make a cup of tea?

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Green Week is here!

Happy Green Week Everyone!

Today we are in Medway for the first day of our travelling Green Week Fayre make sure you come along and check out all the different stands. Look to the next blog post if you can't remember what they all are.

Also remember tomorrow we have a Medway Campus exclusive tour of the School of Engineering renewable energy projects and a chance to look at the brand new solar wall. If you want to come make sure you get to the fayre before 1pm as the tour will be leaving the Pilkington building at 1pm.

In the meantime make sure you download your Green Challenge Sheet for the chance to win the title of the University's Greenest Student/Staff Member/Department and of course the opportunity to be interviewed on this very blog!