RGU Go Green – Join a group advocating for sustainability

Students don’t only spend their time at RGU studying towards their degree. They also try to positively influence our world by joining student groups and putting their skills to good use by advocating for important causes. This is the case for RGU Go Green, a student-led group raising awareness of sustainability. Go Green’s president Maja Huebers tells us more about their work, projects, events and the importance of what they do.

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Maja, a third year BA (Hons) Digital Marketing student at RGU. I’ve been part of the student group RGU Go Green since I started my studies. For me, this was a great opportunity to practice what I learned about marketing at university and apply it for Go Green. I’m very interested in sustainability and feel the urge to do something about the climate crisis. Since joining this group, I took on more and more responsibility and fulfilled the roles of vice-president and president.

Can you tell us more about RGU Go Green?

In 2014, Go Green was founded as a project of RGU:Union, fully led by staff. The group was supported by the Government and received funding over a 4-year period to establish the project. In 2018, Go Green was fully taken over by students. As such, we are now officially a student group. This means that we decide to spend some of our free time volunteering in various roles to keep Go Green running.

The aim of RGU Go Green is to promote sustainable living and making it more accessible to students. I know that what we do won’t change the world but it’s great to spend some time with like-minded people who feel the same urge to act against climate change.

I think it is important to raise awareness of environmental issues because this is our future. We should learn about the impacts of climate change because they will have a massive impact on our lives. Additionally, we need to find out how we can use our jobs for sustainable causes but also live more environmentally friendly in our free time. We are the last generation of students who can lessen the impact. We have to act now.

What are your main projects?

Our three main projects are the Kaim Shop, BikePad and Climate Action Network (CAN). Each project is run by a different committee member who can tell you more about their work.

1. Kaim shop

Veronika Grafova is a fourth-year BA (Hons) Public Relations student and the head of Kaim Shop.

Veronika: I decided to join RGU Go Green because I am concerned about climate change and overconsumption. That’s why I wanted to play a role in helping the local community. I was also motivated by the desire to gain new skills and meet new people.

Kaim Shop is a free shop on campus open to all students as well as staff members. The major focus currently is to encourage sustainable living by offering second hand items which would otherwise end up on landfills. We keep track of how much waste we are avoiding. Beside that, we also accept donations.

As the production and uncontrolled consumption of fast-fashion causes a huge damage to the environment, I like to see for myself how a specific item is taken from the shop and repurposed by others.

The shop is currently running online.

2. BikePad

Joseph Souter is a Stage 4 BEng (Hons) Electronic and Electrical Engineering student. As the BikePad head, he is in charge of the BikePad workshop, which offers bike hire and maintenance services.

Joseph: My role involves a lot of mechanics and administration. In terms of mechanics, I do everything from minor repairs, like flat tyres, to full on servicing and refurbishment. In terms of administration, I keep the documents up to date for the hire scheme, manage the waiting list and maintenance logs. I also coordinate the team of other volunteers to make best use of the workshop. It’s really good fun and very rewarding work!

I chose to volunteer because I’ve always been a keen cyclist and wanted to learn more about how to fix bikes. I also liked the fact that the role was directly doing something to help the environment by encouraging more people to cycle. As well as that, I enjoy doing practical work and it seemed like a great opportunity to do something relaxing and productive while meeting like-minded people.

My favourite part of the role is the mechanics side of things. It’s so satisfying taking in a bike that’s in a bad state and gradually fixing it up so a student can use it and experience the joy of cycling. It’s like bringing something back to life. And it is even more satisfying when I can repair a bike using mostly recycled parts. It feels like I’m really doing something to help the local environment both in terms of making cycling accessible and through recycling scrap bikes to fix up others.

3. Climate Action Network (CAN)

The Head of RGU’s student Climate Action Network (CAN), Matthew Clubb, is a Year 6 BSc/MArch Architecture student. He organises events and meetings to help raise awareness about climate change and believes that empowering others to take action is the best part of this work. 

Joseph: I chose to volunteer because not enough is being done to tackle the climate crisis and we need to raise awareness of the depth of the crisis.

Can you list some events that you have organised with RGU Go Green in the past?

One of the most important event of last year was COP26 in Glasgow obviously. We travelled there and participated in the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice protest. In advance, we held a sign making workshop and we brought our creations to the protest.

Aside from the sign making workshop, we regularly organise recycling workshops to create sustainable things from waste. This could be anything from old paper and milk boxes to old clothes and fabric from our Kaim Shop.

We also organised a series of events in collaboration with RGU Peer Support for Climate Anxiety Week. A graduate student hosted a yoga session to calm everybody’s minds and we had an interesting call with Nadine Andrews, chair of Climate Psychology Alliance Scotland, to talk about what climate anxiety is and how it can affect our thinking. We also held a session where everybody could come and talk about their experiences with climate anxiety.

More recently, we held a “Clips and chat” event where we invited everyone to come along and watch some movie clips about sustainability. Afterwards, we discussed the topics and exchange our thoughts.

What is your favourite memory of your time spent with RGU Go Green?

My favourite memory would be our trip to Glasgow for COP26 when we went to the demonstration. It’s just great to see so many – around 100,000 people actually – who feel the same urge to act on the climate crisis. Additionally, it’s encouraging to see these events coming up on the news. It gives me hope to build pressure on governments and big corporations.

What are your ambitions for the future of the group?

With most of us being in the last year of our studies, we are urgently looking for new volunteers to keep RGU Go Green running in the future. That’s why we are encouraging you to check out our open roles on the RGU:Union’s website. There are many vacancies available such as Events Management Volunteer, Marketing Volunteer, BikePad mechanic, Shop Assistant and more! If you can’t find one that fits you, we are happy to create a new role for you.

Sustainability is so important. It would be a shame for the students at RGU to not have the option to engage in something like this anymore. It is such a great experience to volunteer with like-minded people and achieve something good together.

How can students become members of RGU Go Green?

Students can become members through the sign-up button on the website. It is entirely free because we are a student group run by volunteers. You can also email us at gogreen@rguunion.co.uk to learn more and get to know each other. Or find us on Facebook and Instagram. Everyone is welcome!

Maja Huebers

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