UC Sustainability Champion: Meet Jessica

Jessica Aldridge | Eco Clubs Network Exec, Student Fair Trade Rep, Engineers Without Borders Exec and Eco Volunteer

This year, we’re proud to be profiling students and staff who we believe are contributing to the culture of sustainability at UC. We are running this campaign in the lead up to the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards, so get thinking about who you’ll be nominating this year! Nominations for the Awards are open from now until the 31 August (see our website for the nomination form and all the details).

In the meantime, read on and enjoy our next Sustainability Champion profile from the wonderful Jess.  She’s our student Fair Trade Rep and Eco Volunteer, is an Exec member on two of the coolest clubs on campus (in our opinion), and is doing all this while studying towards her final year in Natural Resources Engineering!

We caught up with Jess just in time for Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 2 – 15 August. As our Fair Trade student rep, we thought it was fitting we chat to her during our favourite fair trade awareness campaign!

Tell us about yourself!

I am in my final year studying Natural Resources Engineering. I am also completing the Diploma in Global Humanitarian Engineering. I love to dance and regularly attend Zumba classes at the Rec Center. I am very passionate about Humanitarian Engineering and sustainability.

Tell us how you become involved with sustainability at UC.

I started volunteering with the Sustainability Office at the start of 2018. Since then I have been helping to run and organise events on campus with the team of Eco Volunteers. Some of my favourite events have been the Fashion Revolution Week clothing swap this year and the Zero Waste workshop during Plastic Free July. I also get involved in Fairtrade Fortnight at UC every year.

You’re the Fair Trade Student Rep on the Eco Clubs Exec. What does that mean?

This year I have been helping the Sustainability Office with engaging and involving students in fair trade on campus. UC is a Fair Trade Accredited University and this year we have already run events during Fashion Revolution Week plus we’ve got awesome events planned for this years Fairtrade Fortnight – we are holding a Fair Trade Fair in Haere-roa on Wednesday 14th August so make sure you come along! (see the Facebook event here for all the details). There are so many wonderful fair trade initiatives on campus that I am sure a lot of students and staff don’t realise.

And you’re part of Engineers Without Borders NZ… Tell us more!

I am on the events team for Engineers Without Borders NZ (EWB) student chapter at UC. Engineers Without Borders is a humanitarian organisation that aims to improve access to engineering skills and knowledge. Our biggest event of the year is Running Without Borders in which runners take part in the Christchurch Marathon and raise money for EWB. We also run regular documentary screenings on campus.

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What is something that has made you feel really proud and a part of UC?

Working with the Sustainability Office and the sustainability community at UC. It’s great to see so many people and volunteers turn up to help out at each event and it makes it really fun.

Where to next for you?

Next year I will be moving to Tauranga to begin my professional career. I will be working as an environmental engineer and I hope to continue to be involved in fair trade and sustainability events at my work.

Some ‘did you know’ fair trade facts from Jess and Chloe from UC Sustainability:

  • UC has been a Fair Trade Accredited campus since 2017
  • Being recognised as a Fair Trade University means our community (that’s you!) is committed to being a socially responsible institution. We’re proud to stand with fair trade producers and encourage ethical sourcing, and we encourage you to do the same in your personal lives.
  • 100% of coffee supplied in our campus cafes is Fairtrade certified, from a variety of NZ roasters
  • And it doesn’t just end with coffee! Our cafes on campus also stock fair trade chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, dried fruit and nuts, and even fair trade fizzy drinks
  • Our staff department kitchenettes also stock fair trade tea, coffee, sugar and drinking chocolate for a fairer morning tea break
  • If you’re looking for apparel for events, uniforms or clubs tees – we’ve got fair trade cotton tee shirts available for order through our suppliers Little Yellow Bird. Last year UC’s fair trade apparel orders provided 328 hours of fair labour!
  • We hold events to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight each year. It’s two weeks of everything fair trade and ethical! To get involved, see our Facebook page, and check under ‘events’ for our annual Fair Trade Fair (we promise there is free fair trade goodies to get your hands on!)


This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on FacebookInstagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This blog is part of our Sustainability Champions Campaign, where we profile UC students and staff doing great things for sustainability. This is part of our wider communications plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.

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