New students: Introducing the UCSustainability Office

img_0464aWelcome to UC! Did you know that UC has a Sustainability Office?

We are an on-campus hub for people interested in creating positive change. We promote sustainable practices (like sustainable transport, re-usable cups); inform (about recycling practices, social or environmental issues) and host events (Eco week, Tiny house tours, etc.).

We work on healthy waterways and bike stands; and currently, together with other parties at UC, we are also guiding UC towards becoming a Fair Trade University. We work closely with the UC Eco Clubs and do  innovative projects, like UC’s compositing coffee cups trial.

We also run the UC Community Gardens (join in with a working bee, Fridays 1-5 pm) and Dr Bike (yes, they will do your small bike repairs for free!).

Stay connected: follow us on Facebook or Instagram, or check out our website.




Eco Club Network established at UC

In late February, the Eco Club Network was established, bringing together various eco clubs on campus including Kakariki, DigSoc, GenZero, CUTC (tramping club), Fossil Free UC, VCUC (Veg Club), SVA, Biosoc, GEOGSOC, Engineers without Borders (EWB) and more.

The aim of the network is to improve coordination between UC’s many eco clubs and events, and ultimately increase the number of people taking part in eco activities. They are also hoping to organise a big eco-event later on in the year (September) – watch this space.

The formation of the network originated from a meeting between George, UCSAs Johnny Duncan and Katie Nimmo (Sustainability Office) in January this year, with the idea to get more collaboration between eco clubs happening. The first ECN meeting was a success, with  close to 20 people attending and UCSA president James Addington stepping in as well. Exciting and important sustainability ideas and concerns were shared (like garden rooftops, reducing foodwaste and plastic pollution, UC building materials, Avon river conservation).

Want to know more? Check out the The Eco Club Network facebook page, or get in touch by email

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Eco Club Network established!

The Eco Club Network is a network of various eco clubs on campus including Kakariki, DigSoc, CUTC (tramping club), Fossil Free UC, VCUC (Veg Club), GEOGSOC and more. The aim of the network is to improve coordination between UC’s many eco clubs and events, and ultimately increase the number of people taking part in eco activities. We’re also hoping to organise a couple of big events ourselves later on in the year… watch this space!

It came about for a number of reasons including (a) there is now a sustainability portfolio on the UCSA exec (held by Johnny) and (b) I noticed multiple clubs were trying to organise tree plantings for 2016… it made much more sense for one club to organise it, and invite other members along!

If you’re interested in eco events, like the Facebook page or if you’re interested in helping organise – flick the page a message for details!

– by George Moon from the Eco Network

New UCSA exec Johnny Duncan keen on sustainability

Johnny Duncan (3rd year BCom) has been newly elected into the UCSA General Executive for 2016. He will be heading up the Post Graduate portfolio but he also has a strong interest in sustainability issues. We had a quick chat to him about his aspirations … DUNCAN 1

Congratulations, Johnny! So … what got you interested in sustainability and what does it mean to you? Well, I grew up in Asia, I spent 3 years in Manila (Philippines), and 3 years in Seoul (South Korea), as well as various other places. And I could not get over the pollution in those two countries. In the Philippines it was the rubbish, it was everywhere, I’ve seen beaches where you can’t see the water. South Korea was different, Seoul was a bit cleaner than the Philippines, but the pollution there was still horrendous. Growing up in these places and coming home to New Zealand and seeing the polar opposite here has made me passionate about preserving what our country has, as well as playing our part as global citizens to help others.

Sustainability to me means preparing for future, if we want to ‘sustain’ and last we must prepare accordingly. In this case it means looking after our environment, cutting down our CO2 emissions and renewing/rationing our resources.

What are your aspirations for your time as an exec? I want students at UC to have the opportunity to enjoy their time at UC as much as I have enjoyed mine. But also I want to give students the opportunity to make a difference.

Have you had a thought about what sustainability issues (or initiatives) you would like to address (or promote) on campus? Paper wastage is a huge issue on campus, if there would be a way to encourage people to recycle or reuse their paper that would be great. I also want to tie in sustainability initiatives with clubs as I believe this a great way to get more students on campus involved.

What are your sustainability-related aspirations for the student union? For starters I’d like to try reduce the carbon emissions of the UCSA, this is quite a broad goal but I will try to find a way to accomplish this. Secondly I’d like to get some carbon neutral paper into circulation around campus, currently the library doesn’t use carbon neutral paper so I want to talk to them to see what I can do about getting this changed. I am open to more ideas on how to make the UCSA a bit more eco friendly.

A few years back, the UCSA had a sustainability portfolio that they were working on, have you had a look at that? It is quite difficult to find information on where they got to with the sustainability portfolio, which will require some more investigation. What I have managed to get my hands on is the UCSA’s sustainability policy, which is quite an interesting document that could use some more publicity.

You have been aJohnny Duncan OpSoc BBQ #1 2015ctively involved in OpSoc, one of the newest eco clubs on campus, what was your role there and what are you taking away from that experience sustainability-wise? Last year I was social representative for OpSoc, and this year I was the president. So I’ve gone from helping out with a bit of everything and doing a lot of promo to running the entire show. It was a big step up in responsibility but I loved every second of it. Sustainability- wise I just think that big clubs can make more of difference as at the moment a lot of small clubs pick up the workload.

Do you see a role for UC clubs in contributing to UCs sustainability journey? Absolutely, I think clubs have the biggest pull in terms of getting people together and enthused about a project or event, so using the clubs we can hopefully get more people involved in sustainability projects and practices through their member bases.

We’re here to support you if we can! Is there any way in which the Sustainability Office can support you in achieving your goals? I’m open to all ideas on ways to cut down the UCSA’S CO2 emissions so if you have any creative ways to do this then please let me know!

Thanks Johnny, we wish you all the very best in your endeavours and look forward to working with you in 2016.

Interested in a UC club with a sustainability focus? Check out some ideas here.


UC tramping club going carbon neutral!

We had a quick chat with the captain of the Canterbury University Tramping Club (CUTC), Josie Dransfeld, about their exciting initiative to become as climate neutral as possible. CUTC also won the Green Club Award during the recent UCSA Supreme Club Awards!

Hey Josie, what can you tell us about your club? The CUTC was established in the 1930s, with the main purposes being: to promote safe enjoyment of tramping and the outdoors; to encourage the learning of tramping and outdoor skills; and to further the cause of conservation of areas for tramping and outdoor recreation (Club Constitution 2010). We had 550 active club members this year!

Your club decided to become as carbon neutral as possible, why is that important for you guys and what made you decide that? Lacking sophisticated public transportation in New Zealand, unfortunately cars are our main means of transport to get to the start of a track. Since we run 30-40 trips each year that results in a lot of carbon emissions, which is why we decided that we should be doing something to remedy that!Tree planting on Quail island - photo by Carla Gomez and Michelle Lambert

So what are you currently doing towards that? We try our best to car pool and always have those cars filled completely. For trips with more than 20 people we usually hire vans in order to minimise the amount of cars we have to take. We also have a designated ‘Environmental Officer’ committee role now.

This year we did the following to offset our carbon emissions: We did a tree planting day on Quail Island and we are also using carbonless paper.

What do you plan to do in the future? We’ll keep up the good work of our Environmental Officer this year by hopefully having more tree-planting days.

Biking to the start of a track where appropriate could be a thing. It’s workable around the Christchurch area and the Bank Peninsula but not really for Arthur’s Pass and beyond (where we normally end up going to J).

Any other comments? I think it is important to remember that for the CUTC it is not really an option to increase trip costs (say, in order to purchase carbon credits) as this would prevent people from coming along. Students can’t really spend their allowance on carbon credits.

My personal opinion is, that being carbon neutral is all nice and good and we, as the Exec, can totally enforce this “top-down”. However, it’ll only really be successful if we have our members on board. Luckily, most of them are aware and keen to make improvements where possible. Resources are limited, though, so we do the best we can.

Finally, one of CUTCs members did a project on what your members think about becoming carbon neutral, what did she find?

Yeah, one of our members is studying Outdoor Education at CPIT and she found that

90% of our members were very concerned about environmental issues

80% wanted to go on a tree planting day

70% wanted to undertake sustainable travel (e.g. biking to the track start)

63% wanted to do another community activity that would reduce our carbon footprint.

Cheers Josie, keep up the great work and happy tramping!

Interested in joining CUTC? Find out more here.



Eco Club Profile: Generation Zero (October 2014)

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.                      1403044_735489019799098_1175685806_o

This time we talk to Rosalee Jenkin fron Gen Zero, which is both a UC Club as well as a national organisation.

BxaCyJlCcAAWBlJ.jpg largeWho are you?
Rosalee Jenkin, I am the volunteer co-ordinator at Gen Zero. I studied fine arts and psychology at UC from 2008-2012. I am now working for UC CEISMIC as a digital content analyst.

Some quick facts about your club: When was Gen Zero founded and how many members do you have?

Generation Zero was formed in 2011 by a small group of young New Zealanders who attended the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. The Christchurch group didn’t get off the ground until mid-last year however, just before the local body elections. We formed a UC club as well, as most of us were studying here and it seemed like a good way to get things happening on campus! Nationwide we have over 10,000 members and 500 active volunteers.

In a few words, what is the focus of your club?

Education and advocacy on solutions to free New Zealand from fossil fuel dependence, in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.


Gen Zero and Climate Voter

Can you give an example of the projects Gen Zero has been involved in?  

We ran a local body elections campaign last year, interviewing all council and mayoral candidates on their attitudes and policies relating to climate change, and provided this information online to help the public make informed decisions about who vote for.

In June of this year we ran a ClimateVote summit, which saw around 70 attendees come together for a weekend of speakers, workshops, learning and planning about how to get climate change on the agenda for the national election. We then played a large part in the collaborative Climate Voter initiative, which had 62,000 New Zealanders pledge to vote with climate change in mind.

Locally, we’ve contributed in a large way to the District Plan Review, writing a comprehensive submission and gathering a large amount of public support for this.

How do students have an opportunity to participate in sustainability issues through Gen Zero?

Gen Zero in action
Eco Week 2014: Gen Zero during the Eco Club Mash-up

There are loads of opportunities to get involved at a local level given we are in the process of rebuilding our city! We will be campaigning for better public and active transport facilities, increased urban density, and energy-efficient buildings. All of these things are important for reducing our carbon footprint.

So for futcliamte summit (3)ure members: Who should join Gen Zero?

Anyone who wants to see New Zealand make smart decisions in the face of climate change, and is excited about the opportunities we have in Christchurch to re-build a low-carbon, liveable city!

 Famous last words?

Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time, and as young people we are the inheritors of humanity’s response. We believe that moving beyond fossil fuels and creating a safer and healthier New Zealand is 100% possible. Join the movement!

For more information on Gen Zero, see here: or join their  FB page (Generation Zero Christchurch).

Also, if you are interested in learning more about Climate Change, check out this upcoming Abrupt Climate Change NZ Speaking Tour by internationally renowned climate scientist Dr. Guy McPherson (Wednesday 29 October, C3 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury @ 7.30 pm). Dr. McPherson peaks out about the latest findings of the scientific community on climate change.