The Eco Club Q & A profiles a campus-based student club that has an environmental and/or social interest. In this profile they explain what they are about and what projects they are involved in.
This time we focus on the UC environment club Kakariki and talk to Katie Collier (2014 President).
Who are you?
I’m Katie Collier, the club’s president. I study law and environmental science, and I’m in my second year.
Some quick facts about your club:
– What does your club name mean?
Kakariki, is Maori for ‘green’ and also the name of a native parrot.
– When was your club founded?
We were founded in 1989 when a set of students got disgruntled about the state of the waterways around campus, and though the university has taken on responsibility for those it’s now our job to be less disgruntled perhaps, but very active about recycling, energy use, promoting green innovation – all the standard roles of an environmental club.
– How many members do you have?
We currently comprise 88 members.
In a few sentences, what is the focus of your club?
In the long term we aim to ensure true sustainability at UC. Not many people know this, but over winter the buildings are heated by an onsite coal burner, hence the big chimney. That’s the kind of thing we want to be a distant memory, but unfortunately it’ll be a while into the future before that happens.
In the short term our real goal is to change the perception of ‘environmentalists’ around campus. We want to show the social side to the movement, while maintaining the importance of keeping it green. In particular, we’d like to demonstrate the kinds of innovation that can grow from a more environmentally aware community.
Can you give an example of the projects Kakariki is/has been involved in?
So far our major success of the year has been ‘The Green Gig’; that was my little Summer project. Post-earthquake the club had languished, and people didn’t really know that we existed, much less what we did as a club. So in March we had a pizza and drinks night in the community garden that advertised not only what Kakariki did as a club, but we invited the other sustainability-based clubs on campus to join us, and pitch their ideas.
Since then we’ve worked to maintain our connections with the clubs involved: DigSoc, Generation Zero and many others. In fact I can’t really say too much, but BioSoc, who were a key club in the event, have something really cool in the works that we’ll be working in the near future. In the mean time, we’ve had bike trips to urban farms, movie nights, and are currently planning for another end of year ‘Green Gig’ and maybe a quiz night to disseminate some epic environmental wisdom.
Also, in the early 2000’s, we were the catalyst for the creation of the community gardens on campus.
How do students have an opportunity to participate in sustainability issues through Kakariki?
This question should be so simple, but it’s hard to put into words without saying it outright – our entire club is sustainability issues. Everything we do is geared towards bringing students to consider them and their solutions. We take trips to see people composting from new café developments in the city, restoring poisoned rubble. Even our social events are based around the merits of sustainable living – home brewed beer, home made and grown food, and of course speeches by anyone with an idea and a voice to share it.
So for future members: Who should join Kakariki?
Of course I’m going to say everyone. But I do mean it – we aim to engage everyone, from fanatics to free-food-ists. In fact I’d say we particularly want the latter. Because there’s nothing more rewarding than cajoling someone who came along (for whatever reason) into providing an opinion, or having them listen and take something away from ours.