Tag Archives: Community

Meet UC’s new Rainbow Coordinator

Ari Nicholson joined UC a few weeks back as Rainbow Coordinator in the Student Success team.

We had a chat with Ari to find out about what the new role involves, Diversity Fest (which is coming up in September), and all about Ari’s background. Watch here>

Drop in to Ari’s office and say hello. Ari is in the office at the following times:
Monday, 9am – 5pm
Tuesday and Wednesday, 9am – 2.30pm
Location – Level 1, Forestry building

Are You Ready For The Challenge

The Australasian University Health Challenge is about to kick off on 19 August – today! If you haven’t signed up yet then head on over to website to get your step by step instructions on how to be involved. Join the other 113 other University of Canterbury participants who have said yes to the challenge.

If you still need some more motivation on joining then have a look at our Facebook below. You can have a chance to win a brand new Fitbit Charge 2 worth $269.99.

The challenge is not only just for steps either. You can record other forms of activities such as biking, swimming, or even volleyball. As long as you are physical active you can add it to your daily step count through the online physical activity to steps converter.

Remember keeping consistent and motivated is always better with a friend. Find someone who will keep you accountable and this challenge may change your life.

UC Alumni founds ethical soical enterprise

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight! Over the next two weeks, UC Sustainability is sharing stories of people connected to UC who are working to make the world a fairer place. Sneha Pulapaka graduated from UC in 2017 and has since started a social enterprise called The Native Loom which works with marginal artisan, weavers and tailors in rural South India. We recently caught up with her to learn more about what her business does, and the impact it is having on a community across the world.

You’re UC Alumni! What did you study during your time at UC?

Yes I am proudly UC alumni, I spent one of my best years at UC. I enrolled into course at School of Health Sciences at UC. I completed my Post-Graduate Diploma in Health Sciences, with an endorsement in Health Information Management from University of Canterbury.

My time at UC was full of new experiences, meeting people and acquiring some entrepreneurial skills.

 Since graduating, you’ve founded your own social enterprise, The Native Loom. When and where did this story begin?The earliest memory of sustainable textiles is from my childhood. As children, my sister and I wore handmade clothes and I remember my mother repurposed her old cotton sarees as baby clothes, nappies and baby quilts for both of us. The texture of the fabric was so soft and even after years it didn’t tarnish. While in college, I had this idea of repurposing an old dress of mine into new, so I got crafty and sew some coloured sequins. A few years ago, I visited some artisan clusters within rural South India and learnt more about how they made textiles. I was fascinated by the fact that all these textiles were actually woven by a person on a hand loom, which is very labour intensive. The process involves sourcing sustainable cotton, followed by preparing the yarn, dyeing the yarn and then weaving it over the hand loom. This process summarises the most sustainable way a piece of textile can be made.

I learnt that it takes 10 days for a weaver to weave a saree that is around 6 yards. Hand loom weaving skills are traditional skills, practised from generations. Within a family of artisans, you will see that all members participate in textile production process. Unfortunately, these skills are at the verge of extinction as there are no young people ready to learn the traditional textile making skills. And also, the fact that artisan communities need to compete with power loom is what drove me to help these artisan communities and The Native Loom was born.

Tell us about the ethos behind your business.

“People, Planet and Culture”

We are about all of these things: ethically made textiles, empowering artisan communities and caring for our planet through eco-friendly products. At The Native Loom, we believe our choices matter so we have carefully curated our products not just because they are natural or organic and ethical but because the people and the stories behind them benefit directly from our support, both through purchase of the products and through the giving of our profits back to these communities and also projects here in New Zealand. Our actions preserve the planet, empower the lives of artisan communities and provides possibilities to future generations.

What products are being made, and by whom?

We currently produce natural fibre based textile products. Our collections include homewares such as fruit and veggie produce bags, reusable tea bags, accessories such as totes, scarves and earrings.All products are designed here in New Zealand and made in India. Our artisan groups comprise of women from marginalized communities, they are part of cooperatives/self-help groups based in Southern India. The artisans work with only GOTS certified organic cotton.

We’d love you to share any key learnings you’ve had over the last year.

Sustainability is not a one off, it is a gradual process that becomes a way of living eventually. We consciously need to take notice of how we produce and consume together as a community and it’s no different for us as a social enterprise. Producing sustainable textiles is just part of what we do as a social enterprise. Building communities that thrive is our vision.Key Learnings:

  • Over the last year we had some leftover fabric post our production and we didn’t want to waste so we repurposed them as product tags, accessories like earrings, necklace, hair ties etc. We saved around 9 kgs of textile from going into landfills. Solutions are all around us and we just need to take a close look.
  • As a social enterprise based out in New Zealand and working with artisans from another country, it can be very overwhelming at times. The Native Loom is all about collaboration and communication plays a key factor in this process. We take measures to keep open communication with our artisan groups. It is very important that we hear them out first and how they plan to approach things. So we learn together and grow.
  • Over the last year we were able to empower 14 women from our partner groups in achieving fair wages and safe working conditions. We were able to eliminate the use of over 1,435 single use plastic bags and saved over 1,000 liters of water. We also donated our profits to support native New Zealand tree planting through the Million Meters Streams Project here in Aotearoa.

Where to next for The Native Loom? 

  1. Ethical: Our plan over the next three years is to provide a platform for the weaver and artisan communities through a digital interface. We are also working on reaching more artisan clusters that ensure safe working conditions and fair wages.
  2. Ecological: We plan to support more native tree planting projects and other environmental initiatives within New Zealand and also in Southern India.
  3. Empowering: We plan to empower women artisans with education and entrepreneurial skill training so they can use the digital interface (that we plan to develop) with confidence. Also, we plan to launch artisan and weaver well-being programs over the next two years that include health and nutrition.

Want to learn more about Sneha and The Native Loom’s story? Catch her at our Fair Trade Fair on Wednesday 14 August, 11am – 1pm in Haere-roa. We’ll be showcasing the incredible suppliers that make our Fair Trade University possible, and celebrate the impact they are having on communities around the world. See the Facebook event here for all the details.

This message was brought 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 is part of our contribution to Fairtrade Fortnight, where we encourage our UC community to get involved and support the empowerment of producers overseas. For more information on the fair trade movement, see the Fairtrade NZ website.

 

 

 

Australasian University Health Challenge (10,000 Steps)

AUHC

Yesterday (1 August) marked the first official day for signups on the Australasian University Health Challenge. If you haven’t heard much about it then visit our website for a bit more information.

In short there are 12 universities from Australia and New Zealand, challenging each other to see who can get the most steps from August 19 to September 29. So we invite you, your friends, colleagues, students, and anyone with two legs to join us in feeling healthier whilst beating the Aussies.

Why are we doing this challenge you may ask? Well less than 20% of Australian adults reach the recommended level of 10,000 steps per day on average. What is more shocking is nearly half (49%) of all New Zealand adults do not achieve at least 30 minutes of physical activity on 5 days or more per week according to the Ministry of Health annual update 2013/14. That there is a shocking number! Multiple studies have shown that physical activity and exercise can help lower cholesterol, improve cognitive function, improve blood pressure, and bring happiness. With all these benefits this challenge is literally a walk in the park.

Join up by visiting our website or heading to the 10,000 steps page

UC Sustainability Champion: Meet Mikaila

Mikaila Ceelen-Thomas | Masters in Commerce, Green Marketing Guru 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 the 5 – 31 August.

In the meantime, read on and enjoy our next Sustainability Champion profile from the wonderful Mikaila – our social media superstar, ray of sunshine and Eco Volunteer (all while studying towards her Masters in Commerce). You might even recognise her from the latest issue of Canta – fittingly, it’s the Environment Issue!Mikaila zooming on her bike in the latest issue of Canta (photo credit: Java Katzur)

Tell us about yourself!

I am currently doing an MCOM Majoring in Marketing, my focus mainly on over consumption and why people choose to consume less / follow a sustainable lifestyle. Marketing for me is the gateway to reduce environmental impacts in the workplace and society – raising awareness about green marketing and leading by example. A fun fact about myself I love marmite on ice cream (don’t knock it till you try it).

Tell us how you become involved with sustainability at UC.

 After coming home from my exchange in the Netherlands I realised the huge passion I had for the environment and ensuring we maintain our relationship with mother nature. When coming back to UC I sought out for sustainability focused clubs and the got in touch with the Sustainability Office. I found some pretty awesome clubs in relation to making a difference and getting involved, and joining the Eco Volunteer team was a great move, allowing me to meet and hang out with like minded people at sustainability events on campus. I also gained a better understanding of my personal relationship with sustainability and where I fit in. The UC Sustainability team played a big role in helping me get more involved – now I work with Chloe from the Sustainability Office on social media and communications to promote sustainability events we have around campus. Helping get the message out and showing students how to get more involved with sustainability is key to increase engagement for students both on campus and in their personal lives.

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Mikaila (right) at UC Sustainability’s Rethink Your Wardrobe Clothes Swap event earlier this year, where she coordinated the social media coverage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What has been a sustainability project that has meant a lot to you?

One area for me would be combining sustainability and engagement through social media. My main focus is communicating with students and staff the work we are doing around campus and our upcoming events. Ensuring that students are aware of the cool events we put on such as our Bike Breakfast or Zero Waste Workshops and then sharing a snippet of the action through blog posts, Instagram takeovers and Facebook. It’s so exciting to see all the people who come along to the events, and you can see this is often the start of something bigger for them. For example, we had 100 students come along to our Plastic Free July workshop! Right now I’m helping Chloe run some really cool giveaways over social media for Plastic Free July and Fairtrade Fortnight, and boy do students love giveaways!! It’s been really cool seeing students tag in their friends and flatmates in the competitions, and watching how excited people are getting about winning eco products like reusable straws and beeswax wraps is so cool!

I’m also a major contributor to the latest edition of Canta, which is the Environmental / Sustainability Issue (find me in Flat Famous – wohoo!!), and I’m doing some Plastic Free July blogging for the Sustainability Office on campus this week, so watch this space!

Mikaila with the pile of eco giveaways for Plastic Free July and Fairtrade Fortnight, where she has been coordinating the content for social media giveaways and competitions

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

How UC is continuously striving to become more sustainable, little things such as the Cup Library in both the Eng Core and the Undercroft are big for me. Since being a fresher at UC I have seen some pretty cool developments and become much more aware of how sustainable our campus is. Who knew we have plenty of fruit trees on campus? Also how the UCSA’s Tea Party and other events have switched from plastic disposable cups to reusable ones – and not to forget our beautiful community garden – it makes me proud to be a student at UC.

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Mikaila (bottom left) and her flatmates featuring in the Environmental Issue of Canta (photo credit:  Java Katzur)

Where to next for you?

This is my final year studying (woohoo), after finishing my thesis I shall step out into the real world and find myself a job. Ideally I will be working with a clean, green company that’s positively impacting the way we consume products. However, I would love to help guide businesses with sustainable practices, helping them grow and gain a better appreciation for our environment and why we need to take great care of it.

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. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.