The growing network of student Green Officers has once again delivered an exceptional Cambridge Green Week - Easter Term 2023!
Building on the achievements of the previous two iterations (Easter Term 2022 and Michaelmas Term 2023), an impressive range of 18 events and 5 Green Formal Hall dinners saw around a thousand students, staff, academics and local residents meet-up, discuss and act for the climate and environment.
Well-conceived and with something for everyone, the programme was certainly compelling.
Equipped with their self-chosen theme of Action and with an Easter exam term looming, events were led, organised and hosted by the elected Green Officers from across the Cambridge’s 31 Colleges. Activities varied from well-being yoga, gardening and sustainable banking workshops, to donate’n’takes, community bike rides and film screenings, to clothes swaps, C-Sunday litter clean-ups, ‘Climate Craftivism’ and campaign training. There was even a Town Hall with the Cambridge Students Union and Nigel Topping to investigate ties with the fossil fuel industry.
The standout success of the week was the day long campaign on Thurs 27th April 2023 organised by Plant-Based Universities (PBU) Cambridge, founded and led by Cambridge SU Ethical Affairs Officer and Green Officer Chloe Balhatchet (Selwyn College). With between 15-60 people joining each event despite a particularly rain-filled day, it was excellent to see so many contribute to such a diversity of sessions.
Here’s what PBU Supporter and Green Officer Haley Huang (Clare College) had to say: “With Action being the theme of this Green Week, Plant-Based Universities Cambridge focused on encouraging action and campaigning towards more sustainable food provision. We provided training for students in setting up campaigns within their Colleges, held panels introducing a variety of behavioural nudges, and discussed larger institutional changes that can incentivise students and staff to consume more sustainably. It went really well - we were desperately looking for more chairs for the attendees!”.
It’s this student leadership and action that makes the Green Officer-led Cambridge Green Week’s so worthwhile.
Green Officers are the elected students within the various Student Associations of the Cambridge Colleges, commonly referred to as JCRs or MCRS (Junior / Mature Common Rooms). Green Officers democratically represent the student voice and are often the initial drivers of sustainability or climate related change making within their respective Colleges.
With successive Cambridge Green Weeks, what was individual Green Officers working independently has begun to grow towards an increasingly communicative, resilient and impactful Green Officer Network.
With opportunities to meet like-minded green student leaders from across the University of Cambridge, Green Officers Adam Waters (Fitzwilliam College) and Rose Amey (Lucy Cavendish College) exemplify this best, organising a multitude of events between them and often supporting other Green Officers in their endeavours. Adam had this to say: "Green Week was an amazing experience that brought together environmentally conscious students and boosted engagement within the wider community, providing an effective platform to build on over the next year".
This sentiment was shared by Green Officer Charlotte Boggon (Newnham College): “This Green Week I worked with the Gardening Club at Newnham to run a "Gardening Wellness" event. They showed how they use permaculture principles and got everyone involved in some weeding and raking. Lots of the students attending said they had just come from the nearby Sidgwick Site, and that the gardening event was a perfect revision break. Thanks to Magdalena and Eliza from Gardening Club for making it possible!”
“I also helped organise the Jesus clothes swap, alongside the Lucy Cavendish (Rose Amey) and Jesus College (Ezra Grosz) Green Officers, starting the swap with some leftover clothes from a previous swap at Newnham College”, says Charlotte. “It was great seeing how many students turned up and brought along their own clothes, with some students even dropping by several times to see the new clothes that had been added.”
Reflecting on the week as a whole, Charlotte adds: “Some of my favourite events from the week were the C-Sunday litter pick and 'The Oil Machine' screening. I also enjoyed creating post descriptions for some of the amazing graphics made by Haley as part of the Green Week communications team. Working with all the Green Officers as a collective was really rewarding and I'm looking forward to the next Green Week!”
Indeed, the communications team for the Green Week surpassed all expectations. Comprising Green Officer Charlotte Boggon (Newnham College), Cambridge Climate Society Green Officer Coordinator Deidre Boodoosingh (Wolfson College), and the aforementioned Green Officer Haley Huang (Clare College), they produced, managed and posted all the communications plans, materials and content before and during the Green Week, including all social media (Instagram and Facebook).
“It was great seeing how the planning of Green Week has improved with each iteration”, says Haley, who took over from the previous communications team leader student Sylvia Lei (Churchill College). “By collaboration and improving communication, we've managed to develop a workflow to effectively track changes in events and plans for communication. This allowed us to respond to last minute changes more effectively and hopefully made Green Week much more professional”.
And with that, effective collaboration between the Green Officers continues to grow. The emerging networks that make up the Cambridge Green Week demonstrate how student leadership, open collaboration and trust can build towards climate action, resilience, support and accessibility.
By offering healthy excuses to get outdoors with a wide focus on well-being, these student leaders exemplify how we must get clever with what sustainability and climate action actually means to us both on an individual and societal level. Inclusion, collaboration and leadership are what we’ve come to expect from this impressive network of student green leaders.
Cambridge Climate Society’s Green Officer Coordinator Deidre Boodoosingh (Wolfson College) says it best: “This Green Week is not just a celebration of sustainability, but a reminder of our collective power to make a difference. Witnessing the passion and hard work of the student Green Officers has been truly inspiring, and it's a testament to what we can achieve when we work together towards a common goal”.
Sharing of knowledge and respect at all levels of seniority, interest and background is essential. We are one humanity and must come together to affect the action and outcomes that are needed for all.
A huge well done to all the Green Officers, volunteers and attendees from across the University and City for a successful and inspiring Easter Term Cambridge Green Week 2023! 🌿
The next student Green Officer-led Cambridge Green Week is currently under discussion with the Green Officers Network and Cambridge Students Union & Ethical Affairs Campaign, supported by Cambridge Zero and the Sustainability Team.
Find the Green Officers Cambridge Green Week Instagram @cambridgegreenweek
More information or how to get involved can be requested from Charlie Barty-King (Cambridge Zero): firstname.lastname@example.org