going green. an interview with a student

swansea university logo

This year we have partnered with People & Planet – a student led movement – for their Go Green Week.

As it gets off to a flying start – 30 institutes; 407 pledges; over 20 tonnes of CO2 pledged so far – we decided to catch up with a few of the students that are managing to successfully get others Doing.  First off, we spoke to Rob from Swansea Union over in South Wales…

What we’ve enjoyed so far?

Usually when we get involved in campaigns or raise money for causes that we care a lot about, we get so little interest. It isn’t unusual for everyone to just get frustrated with poor results. It makes you feel as if you can’t effect a change.

With the DoNation pledges, people have been surprised by actually how little we want them to do. However, they don’t seem to notice that it isn’t actually that insignificant at all. With each of our pledgers doing anything as little as not boiling so much water in the kettle, we have now saved over 3,500 kg of CO2!

Tell us a bit about how people have taken to the pledging

The uptake has been fantastic. We have tried out quite complex campaigns in the past, and the people we engaged seem to be impressed with the effectiveness and simplicity of this campaign. Everyone from members of staff to students of all kinds and members of the local community have been keen to get stuck in and almost compete against one another, making their pledges a bit of a realistic personal challenge.

How have people reacted toThe DoNation

The reaction to The DoNation has been quite funny. When we have mentioned you people – desensitized by years of traditional charity – have immediately dived into their wallets asking ‘ok, how much do you want?’ Then we break it to them that it’s not like that!

What has helped you get pledges?

There’s quite a simple answer to this question, we have SO many people at our university who genuinely want to do a good-turn for the environment, but as students and full-time members of staff, most people just don’t have the time in the day to join our group and get involved in the organisational side of things. So when we have put up posters about our The DoNation page, and shared images online, all these people who keep saying they’ll come and do things at some point have just immediately clicked on to it and shared it. The badges were also a massive help. There was a massive correlation between us distributing badges and more pledges being made. It’s clear that people like having something like the badge to remind them of their pledge and to tell others about.

What have you got planned for the rest of the week?

Well, our Go Green Week doesn’t actually happen till next week when we plan to launch a petition to stop plans to drill for coal in Swansea Bay. We’ll also be doing a drive to get our student nightclubs to recycle, a cycling-themed day, a meat-free Monday that we have got our University’s catering department to run, as well as film showing of ‘Tarmageddon’. We’ll also be running a special session in our student allotment to kick start a self-sufficient leek-growing contest.

Sounds like they are going to have a very green & busy week! You can check out all the universities, schools and colleges that are involved with Go Green Week here

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