News Green Week 2024 ‘Massively Successful’ 15.04.2024

Numerous events have been taking place at Collyer’s to support Green Week 2024.

Dr Ian Carr, Collyer’s Assistant Director of Faculty for Science, Head of Geology, and Sustainability Co-ordinator, explained: “A number of initiatives and activities at Collyer’s and other local colleges including Reigate and Varndean, have actively supported Green Week.”

Caroline Holder, a waste prevention advisor for West Sussex County Council, helped kick off Collyer’s contribution to Green Week. Caroline based herself in the café over break and lunch, answering questions on the recycling of waste. Dr Carr and Caroline helped to run a Recycling Club as part of Collyer’s “360” enrichment offer this year and were joined by student Ben Dowd who had attended that club. Caroline brought with her a range of materials that challenged students’ understanding about what can be recycled. West Sussex County Council kindly provided recycled plastic pens and recycling bags to give away.

Meanwhile, The RCU (Collyer’s student union) supported by teachers Lana Douangchak and Claire Savage, set up a ‘Vinted’ style business during Green Week called ‘S2 – Styled 2 Saved’. The group sold ‘preloved’ branded clothes, for a maximum of £5, to prevent the clothes from being thrown away and ending up as landfill. Sussex Green Living provided three mannequins for the students to display the clothes on.

Claire Potter, Senior Lecturer in Product Design and the Circular Economy from Sussex University, gave a talk titled ‘The role of design in the circular economy’. This talk was broadcast to colleges and introduced the concept of the circular economy, outlining how products could be designed to be part of the circular economy and gave examples of brands that are striving to embrace its ethos. Andrea Quigley, who has has been keeping bees for 20 years, gave an inspiring talk about the range of bees we see in the UK and beyond. She described their important roles in our ecosystems, their life cycle, and the threats to their existence. Ben McCallan, Senior Climate Officer at Surrey County Council and Chair of Zero Carbon Guilford gave a talk focussing on innovative community projects and increasing public engagement in Surrey to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in affordable ways. He gave inspiring examples of communities that had worked together on projects to reduce carbon emissions. There are similar projects in West Sussex, including locally in Horsham.

In addition, Sussex Green Living brought their Inspiration Enviro Station to Collyer’s, engaging students in environmental issues, including climate change and reducing waste. Horsham Community Fridge joined Sussex Green Living and gave away food that would otherwise have gone to waste, which was very popular with students at break and lunchtime! Barbara Williams, Architect of the UN Charter for Ecological Justice gave a talk titled ‘Degrowth Dawns’, that challenged the idea that economic growth is essential. Barbara argued that growth will lead to exhausting natural resources and is unsustainable and challenged students to think of alternative ways to live.

Collyer’s Engineering teacher Amarjit Chana has been running a Repair Shop Enrichment Group throughout the year. Repairing furniture and electrical equipment is a more sustainable method to reduce energy use and natural resource consumption than recycling. As part of Green Week, students showed what they have been repairing and upcycling. They displayed their products in the café and even sold several items including coasters upcycled from table legs.

Dr Carr added: “Huge thanks to everyone involved, including our very own Kirsty Mitchell and Han Valente. They produced an amazing SharePoint site with incredible posters for each event, organised bookings for the sessions, and helped to sell RSPB pin badges.

“Green Week 2024 has been massively successful, and it is wonderful to see that many of the projects are long term and sustainable.”