As a student of RGU I have had the privilege of being a part of so many beneficial organisations, societies, students groups and events. RGU is amazing in supporting these activities that allow their students to grow and develop through learning new skills, socialising and by having some fun.
I have always felt since my first day on campus at RGU that not only does the university want to make a difference for staff and students but for the community. In a venture to investigate into some of the amazing groups that RGU has and supports, I thought of no better place to start off than interviewing members of RGU Go Green, Michele Kee, Treasurer and Maria Popescu, Co-President.
RGU Go Green are an enthusiastic and dedicated student group orientated around making a difference for our university, community and planet. They work effortlessly to raise awareness of sustainability and environmental practices with the aim of encouraging a behavioural change and reducing the community’s carbon footprint. The group has many initiatives available for both the university and the community such as their LivECO Café, Vegbag scheme, Bikepad and Kaim Shop.
The Liveco café was the first zero waste café in Aberdeen held every Friday 6-8pm in the Ruthrieston Community Centre on Holburn Street across from the Crathie student halls, one of the available student accommodation for RGU. On Friday afternoons the kitchen is full of the Go Green LivECO volunteers preparing a free vegan meal for everyone at the café. The ingredients that go into the meals are from foodbanks like CFINE and Fare Share as well as donations from supermarkets and fresh organic fruit and veg from a local farm in Stonehaven.
VegBag is a fortnightly scheme that provides the ability to sign up to receive locally sourced vegetables. The options are a small bag for £3 or a large bag for £6 containing a mix of seasonal variety of vegetables, both boxes contain the exact same just of a different quantity. Payments are made easily on campus at the RGU Union office or online at rguunion.co.uk and you can even order organic free-range eggs from the local farm (£1.60 for 6 medium free range eggs).
Bikepad offers services such as hiring, fixing, maintaining bikes as well as providing workshops on how to repair your bike yourself. The aim of this is to reduce the carbon footprint and help minimise the amount of pollution and energy we use to get to uni/work that is harming the planet. As well as this, it is beneficial in reducing the cost of running a car and going on the bus. All is provided from helmet, U-lock, Hi-vis jacket, lights, reflectors and a bell. A bike costs £40 annually to rent or £20 per semester (only for exchange students) including a deposit which you will receive at the end of your rental provided the bike isn’t damaged. The bike pad is located in SA 47C Garthdee House Annexe.
Kaim shop is a take on the swap shop idea. It is a hub of creativity and socialising for RGU students, staff and the wider community. This lovely welcoming home of the eco group is based in Kaim Cottage and is also functioning as a space for workshops. Here students are able to donate as well as pick up items for free and attend workshops to learn about reducing, reusing and recycling old fabrics and materials.
Why Join RGU Go Green?
As I sat down with Michele Kee and Maria Popescu, it was very evident that they felt a great passion towards the aims and purpose of what RGU Go Green was started for and continues to stand for. With enthusiasm Maria and Michele replied to my question of why choose RGU Go Green with a positive answer, that simply RGU Go Green is unlike any other society. It is unique in the amount they do for both the university and the wider community and how it is part of a big step that many people, businesses and countries are taking in a bid to reduce climate change. From the interview alone and how the members spoke even I felt myself that I may join RGU Go Green and that many more people should. As Michele said not only is it good for your CV but you feel great as you are making a change in a different way and it is greatly rewarding.
Maria also let me know more about what RGU Go Green have introduced on campus such as pop-up shops throughout campus of the clothes people have donated, they also introduced recycling bins on campus for food waste, recyclable pots and boxes that your lunch come in and the water fountains around campus to reduce the high percentage of bottled water that is sold on campus.
Overall, RGU Go Green is a very social, beneficial and empathic society that looks to the bigger picture and helps make a great name for RGU in the wider community. They are an amazing student experience on campus for anyone to join and it doesn’t matter whether you are already recycling, caring for the planet or being sustainable because, as Maria mentioned, joining Go Green will provide the information, tools and opportunities for you to help make a difference.
How to Join Go Green
If you find the sound of RGU Go Green innovative, interesting and inspiring, well you are in luck as RGU Go Green need you! There are many available roles within the team that currently need filling, ranging from people to work in the kitchen at the LivEco café, supporting the maintenance and distribution of bikes, driver to pick up the vegetables from the farm, source recipes, organise and coordinate the bag scheme, Kaim shop visual merchandiser, general volunteers for the pop up shop, creative workshop volunteers, to marketing team coordinator, events managers and fundraisers.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Instagram @rgugogreen or their Facebook RGU GoGreen and give them a message! Also, make sure look at their Instagram stories where they post amazing donations that you could grab for free!
By Sarah Millar