Monday 10th of February saw Go Green Week kick off throughout the campus and wider community. Each day was themed: Waste and Recycling Monday, Sustainable Travel Tuesday, Wellbeing and Advocacy Wednesday, Environment and Biodiversity Thursday and then finally Food and Fashion Friday. Societies were invited to get involved throughout the week, with many signing up for stools and activities on multiple days!
Be the Change Society organised interactive Eco-brick sessions, veg shares and a vegan food stall. UNICEF also held stalls raising awareness of their clean air for all children campaign. The members from Community Gardens promoted their work along with tasters of delicious foods made using their homegrown produce. A successful tree planting session took place on the Wednesday with around 18 trees being planted by students and members of staff which was led by the university’s ground team. The Slow Food Society also had a large involvement throughout the week holding a stall promoting the Giki app which calculates the environmental impact of food products by just scanning the bar code!
As well as university-based groups getting involved, there were also a number of external companies and businesses participating. Sarah, the owner of Nourish (a local zero waste shop) promoted her business and sold some of her popular products on the Monday. She also participated in a Q&A session on the Friday afternoon along with Izzie, founder of Dopplle. Dopplle is an app in the making which will be a platform for clothes swaps to be organised within a university community. Izzie teamed up with Fashion Society to hold our very own clothes swap on the Friday.
St Luke’s Campus also held a variety of activities including a plant sale, an open session in their community gardens along with the opportunity to go and get a bike safety check for free!
Other activities were being held consistently throughout the week, including free morning tea or coffee for anyone with a reusable cup. Our pledge tree enabled you to commit to making a personal sustainable change as well as letting you have your say of what you would like the university to be doing differently. Our donation station was up and running the whole week, where you could donate shoes for the British Heart Foundations Shoe Amnesty, donate and collect any preloved stationary as well as donate any non-perishable foods to our Food Bank. Further afield from the forum there were discounts around campus outlets including 10% off the Guild Shop Dispenser, 50p of hot drinks with your own reusable cup at Comida, not to forget the amazing vegan/vegetarian meal deals available all week.
The engagement was high throughout the week with so many people making pledges, getting involved in society events and interacting with the stalls within the forum.
For those who could not attend the Food and Fashion Q&A on the Friday, they were given the chance to suggest questions! Here are the answers to all the questions discussed during the event:
Guest one: Dopplle, Izzie Hurst
1. Has there been a noticeable rise in the demand for clothes shares since you started developing the app?
Since beginning the development of the app and launching the idea of Dopplle, I have seen an increase in conversations regarding the sustainability of the textiles industry. Beforehand, people didn’t understand the impact of the industry and the issue was detached from any purchase they made. Brands themselves are now starting to look at their own unsustainable practices too. So, the awareness of the issues has definitely increased and with that, people are choosing more sustainable acts.”
2. What is your long-term goal?
“I want to have swap shops happening in universities across the country. Ideally there will be a presence in 50 to 100 universities in the next academic year, this can be anything from clothes swaps to stalls. Universities are a big target for tackling unsustainable attitudes towards fashion.”
3. How are you planning/currently trialling the app?
“There are three prototypes of the app at the moment and all of the functions within each one are being tested to identify any flaws. I’m aiming for the platform to be open to the public in the next academic year.”
4 How are you planning on reaching a wider age group?
“I have a three to five year plan in place of how the app will develop. Within this, older age groups and companies are involved. I want to make the app accessible to everyone so we all have the chance to live more sustainably. Within university communities, the app will be available campus wide, for students and staff alike.”
5. Do you think clothes sharing will have more positive effects than changing how clothes are initially manufactured?
“I think a lot of big brands and retailers are in too deep to be able to undo the damage anytime soon. There’s a lot of sustainable shops up and coming that have been environmentally conscious from the beginning, these are the businesses that will be able to make a difference now. Clothes swaps are how we can make an immediate impact, unless all fast fashion stores stop making and selling clothes…which is obviously unrealistic.”
6. Have you had any personal challenges of not buying new clothes?
“Since the new year, I have decided to stop buying new clothes (it is my New Year's Resolution). I have been in clothes shops with my friends since the start of the new year and it has actually been really nice. I can see what items are fashionable and what the current trends are, which in turn helps me realise what clothes I do have already and how I can adapt them.”
7. Why is it called Dopplle?
“It comes from the word Doppelgänger. With clothes swaps, you might see someone wearing/taking the clothes you once had, so it fits into this term.”
8. Will it be one large platform or lots of little communities?
“It will be kept as small, university specific community platforms. I like the idea of creating a community within a closed environment (eg. Universities). This will reduce the impact of travel and postage. I’m starting to think about how the swaps with happen without affecting the SU/university logistics, I have a few ideas about amazon style lockers or just face to face swaps.”
9. Now we live in a society of social media etc with influencers, do you think that fast fashion will be able to become less popular?
“Younger people tend to be less aware of the impact clothes, that they buy from retailers like Pretty Little Thing, have on the environment. I want to educate and encourage these younger groups to at least share the clothes they buy from fast fashion sites. I’ve also discovered men are less willing to share clothes. I have a lack of guys clothing to be able to run clothes swaps, so this is something I want to work on in the near future.”
Guest two: Nourish, Sarah Martin
How can you ensure your suppliers are zero waste?
“All the suppliers I work with are at least working towards being zero waste. I don’t order from suppliers that aren’t working towards this. It is important to me that my suppliers have integrity, which can be harder to be sure of with bigger suppliers compared to local ones.”
What is your long-term goal?
“I’d like to produce a successful business model and franchise from this. I’m not at this stage yet though. Media coverage of shops like mine has really increased in the last 6 months. I was one of the first ten shops top open in the UK.”
By making products more sustainable, is the price always affected?
“We live in time where products are artificially cheap due to how and where they are made. A lot of consumers are surprised that it is not expensive to shop in my shop. I don’t compare my shop to chains like Aldi…I buy from ethical suppliers. The last 30 years have been reigned my supermarkets and we have abandoned animal welfare and sustainable practices to the point that prices are so cheap, but it is not sustainable anymore.”
How can students live sustainably on a student budget?
“My biggest tip is to cook for yourself from scratch. You can cook in bulk and it stops you buying things for inconvenience which is more expensive. Buy less and don’t waste. Be mindful about the nutrition contents of foods you eat and eat for yourself and not for Instagram.”
What is the waste of your shop?
“We have no food waste due to dates as most of our food products are non-perishable. Our plastic and paper bags are all recyclable and we offer any large bags and sacks to the public, especially gardeners. Our suppliers are really working hard to reduce their waste and to work towards being zero waste. One supplier of coffee, Exe coffee roasters, use plastic containers that they refill each time, meaning there is zero waste.”
Other articles from that week: https://www.exeterguild.org/news/article/6001/How-The-Guild-Went-Green/