Note from The Environmental Officer


by Sam Foley


If you were a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed fresher, what would you find a new passion for? For some, it may be croquet or perhaps crochet, but for myself, I realised that I wanted to be part of the movement to create a more sustainable campus and to become an advocate for promoting biodiversity and precluding climate change. This tongue twister of a passion was derived from an appreciation for the incredible work completed and ongoing in Trinity from the brand new to not so new members of the college. However, a crisis of this calibre should not have had the opportunity to come about, and the least that we can do is to take a stand.


Each journey towards becoming environmental activists must start somewhere. Trinity Halls was the catalyst that started my integral experiences in environmentalism. Through coordinating with a small committee of freshers in Halls, better known as Trinity Green Halls, I realised that small individual actions have immense power; a DIY Christmas decorations video can get 900 views or a student swap shop with over 100 swaps. The grey walls of the Arts block contrasted to the colourful swaps that swanned campus in the following days, and all by sustainable means. It was a source of inspiration to see how willing people are to make small changes even when the world is caught up in a global pandemic.
Another avenue ventured down by many, including myself, is participation in the Green Campus Committee. A unique combination of staff, undergrads and postgrads, this committee broadened the scope of my knowledge and the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people on projects and ideas. From the Junior Common Room to the Green Campus Committee, I found myself knocking on the door of the Student Union role of Environmental Officer. However, being proactive in this sphere is an open playing field and you can find your own path.

“it was a source of inspiration to see how willing people are to make small changes even when the world is caught up in a global pandemic”

If you are looking to step on the first rung of the ladder, there are many ways through which to do this, but naming a few: Residents Sustainability Champions, Uni- Eco summer schools or perhaps a society such as Envirosoc. There are also initiatives within the student union that you could take part in during the year, such as the Lab Coat scheme, and there will be many new initiatives within the SU to get involved in throughout the year.


As Environmental officer, it is my aspiration to build on the achievements of the past officers, with a focus on the return to campus after Covid-19. The difficulties of the global pandemic were overcome successfully by the past student union environmental officer, securing a substantial online presence for green week. Green week is a fundamental week in the college calendar, and although every week should be a green week, this week in Hilary term provides a perfect opportunity to dip your toe in the waters. I hope to maintain an online dimension for green week this year, ensuring that events are accessible for all, blending in-person and online to optimise the spread of environmental awareness and conscientiousness.

In this role, I also hope to focus on education, in particular education for waste management, as this can be carried forward throughout life. The promotion of biodiversity will also be a key focus of mine throughout the year.

As we return to campus, amid all of the excitement and nerves, we must remember to make sustainable and ethical decisions, and I look forward to helping everyone on their environmental journey.
If you have any questions, ideas, concerns, would like to get involved, or would just like a chat, you can reach me at environmental@tcdsu.org.

How to Get Involved in Environmentalism on Campus

by Faye Murphy

Everyone has the capability to help to create a more environmentally conscious campus, whether it be through joining societies, creating your own eco-friendly initiative or just introducing your household to zero waste tips and tricks. Depending on what you are looking for, Trinity has many different ways for you to get more involved.

Green Campus
Trinity’s Green Campus Committee is part of the international green campus programme that supports environmental action, management and education in third-level education. Green Campus consists of 9 student lead subcommittees which correspond with each of the nine main aims of the Green Campus programme. These include biodiversity, communication and engagement, education and entrepreneurship, energy, resource consumption, green procurement, waste, water, and green week. Each subcommittee has its own team and initiatives; for example, the Biodiversity Subcommittee were responsible for the introduction of the wildflower garden at Trinity’s front lawns. This sustainability network not only inspires students to make positive change but gives you the opportunity to learn more about campus’ biodiversity and sustainability matters. The Green Campus Committee meets once every month during the academic year to discuss environmental issues. In addition, Green Campus monthly meetings are a great way to stay up to date with environmental initiatives taking place on campus and volunteer to get involved in these initiatives.

Societies
Societies are a great way to get involved in environmentalism, especially with earth-centred societies such as the Zoological, Botanical, Vegan, Joly and Environmental societies. These societies have fun events to get to know like-minded students and often have collaborations with external organisations to carry out beach clean-ups and discuss environmental issues in detail, such as rewilding. Most societies stay active on Instagram and Facebook throughout the academic year so follow them to stay up to date! Who knows, maybe a bee talk or pub quiz is what you are looking for.

Provost Sustainability Fund
Are you interested in creating and carrying out your own environmentally conscious project? The Provost Sustainability Fund, awarded by the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability and Low Carbon Living, supports new initiatives that will improve campus sustainability and aid Trinity in achieving its 2030 goals. The fund provides up to 5,000 in funding to bring new ideas to life. Initiatives that the fund have previously financed include envirolend, the Trinity Green Labs programme and this very magazine.

SU Environmental Officer
The Environmental Officer of the Student Union’s main priority is to ensure the college and union is working to further and achieve their objectives relating to sustainability and environmental issues. As the Environmental Officer is a part-time officer for the SU, they can put forward a motion that another council member must second. If you have any environmental thoughts or issues that you would like the union to discuss and change, you can send your concern to the Environmental Officer at environment@tcdsu.org.

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