Friday, 18 March 2011

Naomi Debrah: Fairtrade Intern

This Friday it is the turn of Naomi Debrah, the Sustainability Team's intern on everything Fairtrade to take over the blog. Naomi joined the team a few months ago to help organise Fairtrade Fortnight and help the University achieve Fairtrade University Status. Here is what she has to say on it all.....

Naomi at Green Week in Medway

A few months ago, John from the Sustainability Team and I met up with Greenwich council to discuss our plans for Fairtrade Fortnight. It feels just like yesterday as the events have gone by so quickly. This was an opportunity for the University to be proud and loud in showing off its Fairtrade label. The catering and hospitality providers, ABM and Sodexo and the Student’s Unions SUUG and UMSA played their part by supporting the theme for Fairtrade Fortnight “Show off your label”.

Many of the items in the shops on campus are Fairtrade including tea, juices, coffee and chocolate. Being part of Fairtrade Fortnight has helped put the University one step up the ladder towards achieving Fairtrade accreditation and we are delighted to be associated with improving and promoting fair terms of trade for farmers and encouraging ethically sourced produce. Switching tea or coffee brands may not seem much, but it can make a huge difference and can put smiles on the faces of the farmers who depend on their products to support their families.

Being awarded the Fairtrade status is a huge achievement for the University and it will help towards raising awareness of the disadvantaged farmers around the world and continue to promote sustainable development. We are proud of this achievement and would therefore like to thank everyone who helped in making this happen!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Greenwich Green Week in the News!

Our Green Week has been recieving nearly as much critical acclain and press coverage as the Oscar winning King's Speech has! Well perhaps not but here is a take on the event from the University's PR department and also through the eyes of the local newspaper Greenwich Time.

Click on the picture for the larger size

Monday, 7 March 2011

University of Greenwich Achieves Fairtrade University Status

On the 1st march 2011 the University of Greenwich achieved Fairtrade University Status.

University of Greenwich Fairtrade Accreditation Certificate

The achievement reflects a lot of recent hard work and developments across the University towards promoting Fairtrade products, the Fairtrade Foundation and what Fairtrade does for farm workers across the globe. The arrival of the certificate and the accreditation is very timely as the University is very much involved with Fairtrade Fortnight as we speak.

SUUG are running a Fairtrade Wine Week at their bars, where you can get into the spirit of things and enjoy a glass of Fairtrade wine or two. Meanwhile we still have the competitions to win a Fairtrade hamper and a Fairtrade Chocolate fountain experience at the Mansion Site, Greenwich and Avery Hill Campuses, Fairtrade give aways at UMSA and SUUG shops and an attempt to break the world record for the longest continual piece of bunting at the Dome.

As well as the goings on in Fairtrade Fortnight we have received the accreditation for a year’s worth of effort, changes and actions. All the coffee and tea served in hospitality is Fairtrade, along with the sugar, which is refined locally at North Woolwich Tate & Lyle sugar refinery. The University has been working together with the caterers (ABM and Sodexo) the students unions (UMSA and SUUG) and collectively we have increased the amount of Fairtrade products available at the University, promoted the virtues of Fairtrade at events like the Freshers Fayre and Green Week and we are looking at a vast array of options for taking our collective commitment to Fairtrade further.

Rest assured we will not be resting on our laurels and you will see the range of Fairtrade products increase over the course of the next 12 months, various promotions and events and hopefully this time next year I will be able to report that we have achieved Fairtrade University status for the second year running.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Stefano Maggi Guest Post - Green Week 2011

Today I am rescinding my duty of chief blogger and handing over to Stefano Maggi who has been a brilliant addition to the Sustainability Team in the form of a Sustainability Communications Intern. Here's what Stefano has to say on Green Week 2011 at the University of Greenwich:

Stefano the Sustainability Team Communications Intern.


The week from 7 to 14 February has been the UK Green Week for the year 2011. And for the first time, the University Of Greenwich has had its own one.

As intern at the Sustainability Team of the University, I have been involved in the promotion and the fulfilment of a series of events which took place in all campuses and aimed at raising awareness regarding several different aspects of sustainability such as recycling, cutting energy usage, drinking tap water, buying local and organic food and, last but not least, car sharing.

Greenwich Council Green Travel stand being set-up at Avery Hill

A significant contribution to the project has been made by the Greenwich Council as well as by other companies or organizations which have participated in the events. Thus, it’s worth to mention and Bywaters - which deals with the University’s waste management and recycling.

Along with the actual organization of these events, a relevant part of the Sustainability Team’s work throughout the latest weeks consisted in running a communication campaign, mostly but not entirely based on the web, in order to spread the word of greenness and foster participation to the Green Week among students and University staff members. Such campaign allowed us not only to make people aware of the Green Week but also to divulge the event plan in details.

One of the Green Week Posters created by Stefano

In doing so, I and my mentor John Bailey have planned some promotional activities to be conducted through social media and the University’s portal as well as the production of some off-line materials.

Precisely, we tried to exploit virtual and physical social networks to reach as many people as we could and make the events visible on and off-line. Through social media like Facebook and Twitter for instance, we have been able to create a partly self-fed flow of information concerning the Green Week and its remarkable purposes. For example, we have created a Facebook event and invited a relevant number of students that invited other students too.

Follow Sust_Greenwich on Twitter
Click here to follow the Sustainability Team on twitter

Furthermore, thanks to the University’s Information Library System department, the Green Week has been allowed to be present both on Students and Staff portal. So, since the portal is accessed daily by most of the people enrolled in or employed by the University, it turned out to be very useful for our target.

Finally, taking advantage of some supporting students’ skills, we also could make use of very nice and engaging posters and fliers that have been stuck around campuses and residence halls.

Heart shaped poster lovingly made by Stefano and his peers

All these activities led to a positive and satisfying response; therefore I can undoubtedly say that the Greenwich Green Week 2011 has been successful. Many students during the three days event have showed their interest in and curiosity about sustainability asking questions, joining competitions and demonstrating their willingness to pledge for a more sustainable life-style.

One of the things that most pleased me has been talking to my peers. That gave me the opportunity to answer their questions, share our thoughts, compare different countries’ life-styles and ask them their opinions about the event and the issues at stake. Moreover, I and all the other members of the team have been able to collect ideas and suggestions on how to enhance the University and its services in order to make them “greener” and more efficient. Then, all these ideas have been handed to the University’s Vice-Chancellor.

Stefano looks over people's ideas to give to the Vice Chancellor

Personally, the Green Week has been an interesting and useful chance for me to learn simple but important things that are too often unheeded. Knowing how much we could save drinking tap water, reading statistics about the dreadful increase of emissions and being aware of the consequences of our non-green behaviours are really essential to comprehend entirely the risks we are heading for.

What we all need to realize is that our life can be lived in a more responsible manner and that a sustainable life-style enriches us and, above all, will benefit the future generations.

So, I have been very glad to take an active part in the promotion of the Green Week and, most importantly, its messages. I have really enjoyed being part of the Sustainability Team and our activities made me feel very proud. I hope that these three days represented only the beginning of a path that will lead to a much more environmentally friendly use of resources and a healthier life.