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 firstname.lastname@example.org.