E + E (Environment and Ethics) day has had something of a rebrand this year. On Thursday 28th a whole group of dedicated ethically-minded students braved the winds, alongside SUSU and the university, to show off all the things they are doing to make our campus more sustainable and have a positive social or environmental impact. New E + E officer, Josh Cox, outlined his aims for the ‘Kind of a Big Deal Day’; ‘to increase interest in ethical issues but also show that they are at the heart of SUSU’.He also pointed out that ‘we’re not all radical tree huggers’ and stressed the importance of this work to SUSU and students alike.
So, joining the committee for the day were the ever popular Uni-cycle and Bike Doctor stands. Unicycle refurb old bicycles left on campus and sell them on to new loving owners and the bike doctor graces the concourse every month to service bikes for free. The queue was never ending! Not only that, Hampshire transport groups, recycling initiatives and local food producers came along, and, slightly incongruously, Cadburys were hanging out inside selling their newest Fairtrade bars. You could even blend your own smoothie with pure cycle power.
The university also had a stand promoting their work on sustainability. They have yet another new recycling scheme being rolled out in halls and university buildings. Environments Manager, Neil Smith, explained that from this year no halls waste will go to landfill. Food waste will be composted and everything else recycled, with plans for this to be expanded. They’re also holding a competition to win Ben & Jerry’s – you can still join in by tagging yourself in a pledge on the SUSU Facebook page to be in with a chance to win.
Most importantly, however, a host of student groups were there to promote their campaigns and events for the coming year; Student Switch Off, the Conservation society, Southampton Hub and Green Action. President of new society WaterAid, Alice Dibblin, told me about their campaign for the year; they hope to introduce Belu water to shelves and drinks fridges across campus. Each bottle is carbon neutral with all profits going to WaterAid, providing zero increased effort for the consumer with maximum impact for the charity; a great example of some of the small changes these groups hope students will take part it. Alice also outlined a great point about why E+E is so crucial, as campaigns like theirs aren’t just about raising money but also looking at changing they way we think about things, as simple as bottled water. The idea being campaigns like these will ‘sow the seeds’ for attitude changes that last beyond university life.
‘we’re not all radical tree huggers’ Josh Cox E+E Officer
This isn’t to underestimate the huge work the Ethics and Environments committee have done, and are planning to continue. Not only do they support and promote student groups and societies they also had their own impressive projects on show. The Green Label, which started as a small student project highlighting the most ethical options in the SUSU shop, looks set to grow this year; look out for those little green symbols in The Bridge, SUSU Café and even Lattes.
Lastly, did you ‘black out’ last year? By which I am, of course, referring to the hugely successful energy audit run by E + E. 188 students ran around campus turning off all unnecessary lights and electrical equipment saving several tonnes of carbon in a bid to highlight just how much energy we waste on campus every single day. This year the night looks set to be even bigger with the scheme being rolled out nationwide.
The day clearly demonstrated that the small choices we make on a daily basis have much bigger social and environmental impacts then we might think. By making small adjucstments in our choices, a more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible world starts to surround us.