Origins of Eco Week

Eco Week snippit 2In less than two weeks, UC Eco Week 2016 is kicking off (19 – 24 September). The Sustainability Office will be bringing you a variety of awesome events that celebrate and promote what you can do for the environment, your community and your life.

A bit of history

Eco Week evolved out of Health Awareness Week. The Sustainability Office used to partner with the UCSA to deliver an annual programme of events in September to promote healthy living.

In 2010, when the UCSA decided not to run Health Awareness Week, the Sustainability Office launched Eco Awareness Week instead, which later became Eco Week. The first Eco Week in 2010 was of course affected by the September earthquakes and as a result we ran it as Eco Survival Week – focusing on practical sustainability skills for surviving in an uncertain environment.

ENGS5715_Eco_Week_WordPress_BNRTo begin with, Eco Week involved a series of small events that continued the theme of healthy living with an eco-twist: so we did things like vegan cooking and gardening workshops.

In 2011 we expanded the idea of Eco Week to really showcase all the sustainability programmes at UC and package them as a comprehensive whole. We also trialed the Sustainability Awards, which, for the first time, rewarded, members of the UC community for their sustainability efforts. After a hiatus in 2014-15, the awards are back in 2016.

They are so important because “lack of recognition” for sustainability efforts has been identified as one of the key barriers to people getting involved in activities that are not part of their work programmes or courses of study.

Growing Eco Week

In 2012 we experimented with a high profile, large scale event. Cycle Runway was a fashion show on bikes that was attended by 200 people, gained national media coverage and involved dozens of designers.

Since that time we focused Eco Week around a few high impact events, such as film nights (we are screening the award winning doco Just Eat It this year!), the tiny house tour, the edible campus tour and the fair trade banana ice cream and coffee launch (all free!),  which is always very popular and has now become a tradition.

Since 2014 the communications around, and the reach of, Eco Week has improved dramatically, and every year more staff and students get involved. Every year students and student clubs volunteer at the Eco Week events, or organise their own events during Eco Week. (Check here to keep an eye out for the clubs are holding during Eco Week.)

What’s on

We have some great events lined up for you:

Monday 19 September, fair trade Eco Week launch: Come and enjoy free fair trade All Good banana ice creams and free shots of fair trade Jail Breaker coffee in the Undercroft, 12 noon – 1.30pm.

indexTuesday 20 September is about Food Waste. Come for a short food waste get-together with speakers and nibbles, followed by the award-winning doco ‘Just Eat It’ – 6pm to 8pm (C Block). It’s free and non-UC folk are welcome too.

Thursday 21 September, tour two Tiny Houses built by UC alumni. The Tour leaves at 1.30 (meet Katie at Science Road Car Park), back at 4pm. Booking essential, email Later on Thursday, Cowspiracy screening by VCUC. Kirkwood, 6-8 pm.

Friday 22 September, learn about where to find free food on UCUntitledcampus when you join the Edible Campus Tour! Meet tour guide and community gardener Jane Aistrope outside Café 1894 at 12 noon sharp. Later, come celebrate student and staff achievements in sustainability at the 2016 Sustainability Awards ceremony! Undercroft 101 – 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

Saturday, UC’s very first Sustaina-ball presented by the UC Eco Club Network, and the theme is Garden Party. Visit here for more information.

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