Queen's Sustainability Campaigns and Events
This page is dedicated to the events hosted by the Sustainability Team during campaigns throughout the year. This is also a great place to highlight the volunteer work that staff, students and the local community undertake as part of the campaigns.
Active Travel Month
June is Active Travel Month and Queen’s encourage staff to go green by cycling, walking or taking public transport into work.
During Active Travel Month, Queen’s run a number of events, including ‘Bike to Work Week’ and ‘Walking Week’.
Gear Up for Bike Week 2023! Bike Week is returning on Monday 5 June with a range of on-campus and online events aimed at encouraging you to get on your bike: Cycle Clinics, Information Talks, Staff Social Cycles and a Bike Week Breakfast.
View the full 2023 Bike Week programme here. Queen's is committed to supporting active travel.
Find out about Cycle+, the University cycle to work scheme, here.
Earth Day 2023
22 April 2023
The Earth Day 2023 theme is focused on engaging the more than 1 billion people, governments, institutions, and businesses who participate in Earth Day to recognize our collective responsibility and to help accelerate the transition to an equitable, prosperous green economy for all. We are focused on reframing the conversation, accelerating action, and bringing everyone together to understand that this is within our reach if we work together. #InvestInOurPlanet
RSPB wildlife presentation, birdwatching tour, birdfeeder-making and gardening... what's not to love! Join SU Volunteer and friends in unwinding with nature this Earth Day Weekend! In today's eco-conscious world, it is more important than ever to remind ourselves of the earth around us, and to appreciate the wonders of wildlife.
Join SU Volunteer, the International Student Guides and Queen's Accommodation for two days of bird-themed events, including:
- An RSPB wildlife presentation and bird-watching tour on provisionally Friday 21 April
- A birdfeeder-making workshop, followed by a gardening session in the new Gardening Allotments (weather permitting) on Saturday 22 April. Food will be provided for both events.
Sign up for the events here.
European Week for Waste Reduction
19 - 27 November
As part of the European Week for Waste Reduction, the Sustainability Team, in association with Belfast City Council, hosted a number of events in order to raise awareness for the campaign and highlight the need for Sustainable Textiles in a world where purchasing fast fashion dominates consumer trends.
As part of EWWR, the Sustainability Team and Belfast City Council hosted a panel discussion that allowed staff, students and our community to join key leaders in our fashion and sustainable textiles industry to discuss the topic: 'Does Fashion have to Cost the Earth?'.
Panelists included Dr. Laura Steele from Queen's University School of Management, Kathryn Tims from Wrap, Alison Gault from Ulster University and Becky and Connor from Another World Belfast.
Quotes from our panellists:
- ‘Make a difference by making good decisions’ - Alison, Ulster University
- ‘If more of us are doing it imperfectly, we will still be moving forward’ – Connor, Another World Belfast
Some take aways from the panel:
- Slow down our consumption- have a think before buying new clothing: do you really need it? Where has the clothing come from to get to that shop?
- Only buy what we need- don’t purchase clothing for the sake of it.
- Learn to care for our clothes. Repair clothes where possible- use the skills of a seamstress if you can’t sew yourself- this helps support local businesses as well as saving you money needing to buy new clothes!
- Ask questions from the brands we buy from- are they being environmental and ethically responsible for the fashion they provide us?
- Try Preloved clothing or rent your clothes- https://www.hirestreetuk.com/category/ms-capsules.
- Try not to be heavily influenced by marketing campaigns- they are designed to draw you in.
- Switch off your notifications from big brands and retailers- don't let them influence what you buy!
Another World Belfast offered a pop-up shop during EWWR, where they priced clothing at either £10 for one item of clothing or £5 per item if you bring an item of clothing to swap. They had a very busy day at the stall with lots of people interested and purchasing items. They have even had some students visiting their Swap Shop on Winetavern Street in Belfast since the event to swap clothes!
Rags Vintage Clothing also offered a pop-up shop during EWWR, with set price rails of £5, £7 and £10. They also offered 20% for the week, which was brilliant for helping people in the run up to Christmas! The day was very successful, with lots of happy students purchasing vintage clothing at massively reduced prices!
In association with SU Volunteer and Community Engagement, the Sustainability Team hosted a community litter pick as part of EWWR. Our Autumn Community Clean-up, which took place in the Holylands and Stranmillis, went incredibly well and all our hard-working volunteers collected 13 bags of waste! We were lucky to have some local residents join in the litter pick, and even had some pizza in the SU afterwards as a reward.
Hear how important events such as our Autumn Clean-ups are from Rachel Vaughan, Project Support Officer on the Sustainability Team, in a new video created by Queen's Staff.
In partnership with Belfast City Council, the Sustainability Team hosted a screening of the movie ‘The True Cost’ which delves into the world of fast fashion.
This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a ground-breaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?
If you missed the showing, The True Cost documentary is available online via YouTube: https://youtu.be/NHp1ucQvQ9I.
Annual Holiday Switch Off
22 December 2022 - 3 January 2023
At Queen's, we believe that reducing emissions in response to the growing threat of global climate change is imperative. Eevery year, we encourage you to work together more collaboratively to create a sustainable future, by switiching off computers, lights and equipment (where possible) over the holiday period.
The Sustainability Team are encouraging you to do what you can to make a difference by switching off before you leave for the holidays. The impact of small changes and actions by a large number of us working together as a staff community can make a big difference.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2023
27 February - 12 March
Climate change is making crops like cocoa, bananas and coffee harder and harder to grow. Combined with deeply unfair trade, communities growing these crops are being pushed to the brink.
But here’s the good news. Choosing Fairtrade means extra income, power, and support for those communities, as they work to build sustainable and prosperous futures. So not only is choosing Fairtrade best for people and planet, it could help save everyday treats like chocolate bars, bananas and a warm cuppa!
This year, Fairtrade Fortnight is focusing on how choosing Fairtrade helps protect our most-loved foods, and our planet.
You can get involved in Fairtrade Fortnight via a range of events, and activities:
- Within your Faculty or Directorate, we are encouraging you to host your own Fairtrade Fortnight Coffee Morning. Send photos of your coffee morning, containing your baked goods, to the Sustainability Team. Best photo will win a fairtrade hamper!
- You can shop a range of Fairtrade items in Spar and Union Shop (One Elmwood), such as tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits, snack bars, chocolate bars and sweets. All clothing is Fairtrade, and they will be running a 20% off promotion on Fairtrade products for the fortnight. All departments are welcome to set up and pay by account in the shop.
- A range of events are being hosted by the Fairtrade Foundation. An overview can be found here.
- A great selection of Fairtrade items can be found in your local Co-op and a range of fairtrade inspired recipes can be found here.
Queen's Management School hosted a Fairtrade Coffee Morning on 15 February 2023 as the start of the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign.
Sean and Breige from the Management School prepared some lovely Fairtrade treats, including Dark Chocolate Fridge Cake and Banana Breakfast Muffins. The photos don't do the treats justice, look how delicious they look!
And, importantly, the ingredients used had the Fairtrade seal of approval.
The School of Dentistry hosted a Fairtrade Coffee Morning on 1 March 2023, and encourage dentistry staff and students to try some Fairtrade products, as well as bringing their own reusable cups to enjoy Fairtrade tea and coffee.
Faculty Office (Medicine, Health & Life Sciences) hosted a Fairtrade Coffee Morning to coincide with their Team Brief on 1 March 2023. As you can see from the picture, all treats were Fairtrade, staff were encouraged to bring their own mugs and reusable cups and some even sampled the new Cadburys Plant Based Chocolate, which was created in partnership with Fairtrade.
The Graduate School hosted a Fairtrade Coffee Morning on 3 March 2023 in the Graduate School Social Space. Staff and students gathered together to enjoy some Fairtrade tea, coffee and snacks, and to discuss and learn a bit about Fairtrade practices along the way.
As part of Green Week, QUBeWell Week and Fairtrade Fortnight, SU Volunteer hosted a Community Gardening Event for staff, students and local residents. The twist was drawing a community map on recycled paper, which then was used to create plant pots. Also, staff and students were tasked to create some bird feeders out of pipe cleaners and cheerio's! All snacks provided were Fairtrade, as you can see from the lovely snack table pictured. Well done to everyone involved, and thanks to the team at SU Volunteer for organising such a fun event!
Green Week 2023
6 - 10 March
Green Week is an annual campaign which aims to raise awareness of the importance sustainability and encourage positive change among staff and students through a week of ‘green’ activities.
Stay tuned in the New Year for events happening that you can get involved in!
Green Week is taking place from 6 to 10 March 2023. This year, Green Week is focusing on education and learning that tackles climate change and protects nature. During Green Week, make sure to get out in nature and do your bit to help the planet!
Click here to view the timetable of events for Green Week, including a Geopolitics talk from the School of Natural and Built Environment's very own Tristan Sturm.
To start off Green Week, the Institute of Electronics, Communications & Information Technology (ECIT) hosted a coffee morning and E-Bike trial in the Titanic Quarter for staff and students. It was great to see so many people interested in sustainable travel, and even giving the E-bike a go!
If you are interested in trialing an E-Bike, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As part of Green Week, QUBeWell Week and Fairtrade Fortnight, SU Volunteer hosted a Community Gardening Event for staff, students and local residents. The twist was drawing a community map on recycled paper, which then was used to create plant pots. Also, staff and students were tasked to create some bird feeders out of pipe cleaners and cheerio's! All snacks provided were Fairtrade, which volunteers enjoyed very much. Well done to everyone involved, and thanks to the team at SU Volunteer for organising such a fun event!
On Wednesday afternoon, we hosted Belfast City Council in the Elm's BT9 sharing kitchens to run some sustainable cookery classes. The idea for the cookery classes came from a student called Fionán McBride, who sent in an application for the Queen's Green Fund and successfully received £300 to pay for ingredients for the classes. Some of the ingredients were purchased from the Refill Quarter on the Lisburn Road, including flour, sugar and baking powder.
Some of the food that has been made so far are tortilla pizzas, minestrone soup and banana pancakes (made with Fairtrade bananas!).
Overall the Sustainable Cookery Classes have been a great success, and have helped students learn the best tips and tricks to avoid wasting food and using up leftovers in their fridges.
You can see highlights of the classes over on our TikTok.
The science is unequivocal: climate change is real, and it is driven by human activities. But how will it influence our everyday life, our communities, our nation-states, and geopolitics?
Is catastrophic climate change an inevitability and what can we do—as individuals, societies, and as a university—to mitigate and adapt to these changes?
Thank you to Tristan Sturm from the School of Natural and Built Environment for hosting this stimulating geopolitics talk, we thoroughly enjoyed it!