RAU holds its first ever Go Green Week

12 April 2024

Sustainability is one of the key pillars of the Royal Agricultural University’s (RAU) strategy and the University is encouraging staff and students to practice what they preach during the University’s first ever Go Green Week (Monday 15th to Saturday 20th April).

A number of events have been organised throughout the week including a clothing and book swap, a no print day, a talk about beekeeping, and a collection for the local foodbank. RAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery and Alexandra Godfrey, Vice-President of the RAU Students’ Union, will also plant a tree on campus to commemorate Go Green Week 2024.

RAU Chief Operating Officer Graham Pollard is the Chair of the RAU’s Sustainability Action Group which meets monthly and involves both staff and students. He said: “As an agricultural university, we are already making great strides in sustainability but we hope that Go Green Week will encourage both students and staff to think more about what they could do to help make a difference.

“The purpose of this inaugural Go Green Week is to raise awareness of climate change and help the University reduce its carbon footprint, as well as to learn about the RAU’s strategy around sustainability, encourage behaviour changes, discuss the environment, and look at sustainable options for the future.”

There are also a number of student-led events taking place including a littler pick along Chesterton Lane, organised by the University’s Conservation Society, and a mending workshop run by the University’s Craft Society.

On Friday 19th, second year BSc in Environment, Food and Society students Laura Finch and Immie Jones have arranged for an exclusive screening of Six Inches of Soil, a British independent feature documentary shining a spotlight on soil health and regenerative farming, to take place on the RAU campus.

The film, which follows three new farmers on the first year of their regenerative journey, is an inspiring story of British farmers standing up against the industrial food system and transforming the way they produce food - to heal the soil, benefit our health, and provide for local communities.

Laura said: “The RAU is leading a culture of change in food and farming and this event will give people the opportunity to engage with much needed inspiration and discussion as to how we can create a regenerative future.”

Immie added: “We are so proud to be hosting this screening and to share the positive messages in the film to help shift UK food and farming towards more nature friendly practices within a more resilient system, told through the story of the next generation of farmers.”

Six Inches of Soil will be screened in the University’s Boutflour Hall on the evening of Friday 19th April and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with a panel including the film’s producer Claire Mackenzie, RAU Professor Tom MacMillan, and Tom Herbert from The Long Table.

Tickets for the screening, which cost £10 each and include a light supper and drinks, are selling fast but are available at bit.ly/RAU-SIOS.

As part of Go Green Week, RAU students and staff are also being encouraged to make a sustainability pledge towards climate change in 2024.

Go Green Week organiser Sara Papps, Head of Planning at the RAU, said: “A sustainability pledge could be something major or just a small thing – perhaps walking, cycling, or taking the bus on a route where you would normally drive, turn off the lights when you leave a room, or eat sustainably at least once a week.”

The initiative is also being supported by parkrun which takes place every Saturday morning at the University’s Cirencester campus. Parkrun organisers will be encouraging participants to use a more sustainable form of transport, other than driving, to get to the event.

Sara added: ““This special Go Green Week will involve the whole RAU community and we hope it will encourage us all to think a bit more about the impact of our actions. We’re in a state of climate emergency so it’s crucial that we each do our bit to protect our environment.

“We really hope that, while it carries an important message, Go Green Week will be fun and offer something that both staff and students can get involved with. We plan that it will become an annual event in the University calendar.”