This week, UCSA’s Post-Graduate Representative, Katie Mills, takes us for a look at some of the great club facilities in the new student building Haere-roa. Inside, you’ll find a club meeting room, printing facilities, and lots of bookable event spaces. Over the coming weeks, we’ll also take a peek inside the Ngaio Marsh Theatre, which will be another amazing club facility for shows, balls and other events.
Helena Ruffell | Masters Student in Environmental Science, Eco Volunteer and Zero Waste Inspiration
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 the 5 – 31 August.
In the meantime, read on and enjoy our next Sustainability Champion profile from the wonderful Helena – our passionate Zero Waster and Eco Volunteer, all while studying towards her Masters in Environmental Science (with a recently submitted thesis on micro-plastics to boot!)
Tell us about yourself!
I’m 23 now and have been at uni for nearly five and a half years! I first came to uni with no idea of what career I was interested in, and managed to find something I enjoyed along the way studying biochemistry as my undergraduate degree. I love being outside and exploring new places.
You’re studying Environmental Science. What made you decide to follow that path?
Through my undergraduate courses I learnt a lot about harmful chemicals and their effect on the environment (and us!). The more I learnt, the more responsible I felt to do something about the way we are trashing the earth (and ourselves). I started a Masters in Environmental Science to learn more about what I could do. My research project is on micro-plastics – plastics which are smaller than 5 mm, and are harmful to the environment as animals can mistake them for food. Eating too much plastic can result in a whole range of nasty effects on these poor animals. I’m looking at how much micro-plastics end up in the environment from what we wash down the sink in our houses (as the wastewater treatment plants can’t remove all of the micro-plastics).
Helena analysing the “pesky” micro-plastics in her wastewater samples to see what kind of plastics they are (polyester, nylon, acrylic etc). She’d like to say that this picture was taken before she started her Masters, and her lab coat is definitely not that clean any more!
What influence has this had on your personal life?
I couldn’t do a research topic about micro-plastics and not change anything in my life!! I started to stop using all sorts of unnecessary plastic (cling film, drink bottles, cutlery) and that just transformed into avoiding as much plastic products in general to reduce the amount of rubbish I make. It’s a scary thought to think that your first toothbrush as a baby still exists, and it might be in the belly of a whale!!
What is something that has made you feel really proud of UC?
I’ve met so many switched on people who are doing awesome things regarding sustainability! But the university is also really trying to reduce their impact too, just have a look at all the rubbish bins you can sort your waste into to stop some things like paper, organics, and recycling from going straight to landfill.
Where to next for you?
Once I finish my Masters I’m off on a trip overseas to Europe!! Follow my Instagram @eatsleepsustain to follow my progress and see my tips on how to travel without plastic (like using zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars, and my homemade natural deodorant below!)
This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on Facebook, Instagram 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. Fore more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.
The first conference of the Australasian Animal Studies Association to be held in Aotearoa New Zealand takes place in Ōtautahi Christchurch this week, following a successful bid from UC’s New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies (NZCHAS) and TourismNZ.
Located at The Piano from 1-4 July, Decolonizing Animals focuses on human-animal interactions and in particular, indigenous approaches to such relationships.
Some 150 national and international academics will be in attendance, including renowned scholars on topics such as decolonialism and the environment, veganism and sustainability, feral and introduced versus native species and the place of animals in literature, art and film.
As Director of NZCHAS, UC Professor Annie Potts is thrilled to have Kirsty Dunn, Ngata Centenary Doctoral Scholar and postgraduate member of NZCHAS, as a keynote speaker at the event.
Kirsty will share her PhD research ’Into the Dark, We Are Moths’ – Representing and Reimagining Animals in Māori Writing in English, on the opening night of the conference, which will also feature a keynote address from acclaimed author Witi Ihimaera.
She will also run a panel on Māori perspectives on plant-based food ethics.
Kirsty was previously recognised by the Australasian Animal Studies Association for her research on Māori plant-based food ethics, receiving the award for best postgraduate paper at their 2017 conference in Adelaide.
NZCHAS brings together scholars whose research is concerned with the conceptual and material treatment of animals in culture, society and history. Professor Potts looks forward to showcasing UC’s unique NZCHAS teaching and research programme as well as the Centre’s new doctoral degree in Human-Animal Studies (HAS) at the conference. UC is the only university in the southern hemisphere offering a PhD in HAS.
The PhD programme, convened by UC Professor Philip Armstrong, is attracting high-calibre candidates from within Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.
“We are over the moon at the enthusiasm of the postgraduate students coming through,” Professor Potts says.
Decolonizing Animals: Australasian Animals Studies Conference
1-4 July 2019
The Piano, 156 Armagh Street, Ōtautahi Christchurch
The work of both Kirsty and Professor Annie Potts will be featured in the upcoming 2018 Research Report, which demonstrates the breadth of UC’s research into the future of food through food equity, food intelligence and food innovation, from across the extensive range of disciplines available at the University.
Come to a session in Teaching Month and find out how your teaching can help your chances of promotion.
Session: Teaching as a Pathway to Promotion
Date: Wednesday 3 July 2019
Venue: Undercroft 101, Puaka James Hight
This session features a series of short presentations from various perspectives. Questions welcomed. No registration required.
On Saturday 29 June 2019 from 9am we will be performing scheduled maintenance of network infrastructure.
The target time-frame for this maintenance window is approximately 6 hours.
Network services in the following buildings may be temporarily unavailable at times during these scheduled works: