Tag Archives: event

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.

 

 

 

The Beauty of Chamber Music set to delight this weekend!

The UC School of Music | Kura Puoro are delighted to be partnering with The Arts Centre | Te Matatiki Toi Ora to present the first in an annual series of three unique concerts in the stunning Great Hall.  The first concert is this Sunday, August 11. This concert will feature a beautiful programme of chamber music, and guest violinist, Isaac Shatford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A semi-finalist in the 2018/2019 National Concerto Competition, former concertmaster of NZSSSO, a member of the Dunedin and Christchurch Symphony Orchestras, and a prize-winning composer, Isaac is a fantastic musician.

Isaac is no stranger to chamber music. His piece for a string quartet, Frost and Fire, won him the composer award at the New Zealand Chamber Music Contest in 2014 and was recorded by Radio New Zealand’s Concert Programme. He also says that, “I probably enjoy playing chamber music the most. Concertos and showpieces are fun, but you constantly feel as if you’re under a microscope. The pieces I’ve enjoyed most have been where I’ve been collaborating with awesome people, and working towards something much bigger than my part alone.” (Interview with Down in Edin magazine, 2018)

The concert is a celebration the beauty of chamber music, with winter delights for the soul. It will feature music by Isaac Shatford, Charles Ives “transcendent” 3rd violin sonata played by UC professor Mark Menzies and local piano star Yifan Yang, and music by Beethoven and Leclair.

Other concerts in this series include the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Percussion Quartet on Monday September 23, and Sing! Sing! Sing! a concert of vocal fireworks, percussion masterpieces and much more on 13 October.

The Beauty of Chamber Music will be held in the Great Hall at 2pm, Sunday August 11. Tickets are available online at this link – $20 (waged) or $10 (unwaged). Come along and feed your soul!

Nominate your sustainability hero today!

Know someone at UC doing great things for Sustainability? Or maybe it’s you? We want to hear about it!

Get your thinking caps on… nominations for the UC Sustainability Awards are open from 5 – 31 August.

The Sustainability Awards are about the recognition and celebration of all things sustainability – both on and off campus. This is a great chance to acknowledge the hard work, innovation, imagination and optimism of many of our students and staff who are working hard to make our world a better (and greener) place.

Maybe it’s a sustainable student-led project, academic or post-graduate research, or a green thinking department on campus? Maybe it’s the flatties who compost like crazy, and bike to UC rain or shine?

Tell us all about them (or yourself) by finding the nomination form and all the info you need here. Nominations are open until the end of August, and the Awards Ceremony will be held on 2 October.

If you know of someone whose work deserves acknowledgement and celebration, nominate them! We want to hear from you.

For a recap on 2017’s Sustainability Awards, have a read of this blog here, or check out our Sustainability Champions for some inspiration.

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 plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.

 

 

DIY Beeswax Wraps for Plastic Free July!

Last week, UC Sustainability held a DIY workshop to celebrate our favourite month – Plastic Free July!

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be a part of the solution to plastic pollution. It’s a month long challenge which encourages all of us to ‘choose to refuse’ single use plastics – like takeaway coffee cups, drink bottles, straws, bags and plastic wrappers. We decided we would tackle Plastic Free July by showing our UC community how to make their own alternatives to single use plastics – and we had so much fun doing so!

Almost 100 students (and staff too!) came along and learnt how to make a DIY beeswax wrap and a produce bag with us, so we could all ‘choose to refuse’ this month (and hopefully longer!).For those that missed out, we’ve put together a guide for making your own wraps at home – they make great presents for friends and family too! Read on to see how we made our own beeswax wraps with nothing but some organic beeswax (grated), cotton fabric, scissors, baking paper and an iron. We hope you’ll be inspired to tackle Plastic Free July with us!

Step one: gather your materials

We recommend using only 100% cotton for making beeswax wraps – but don’t feel as though you have to rush off to a fabric store! All the fabric in these photos are either old tee shirts, or are from second hand stores (sheets and pillow cases are usually 100% cotton, and come in funky patterns – just give them a wash and an iron before use). If you want to buy new, Spotlight often has sales on cotton, and there’s a heap of different fabrics to choose from.

We sourced our beeswax from a friend who has bees, but you can get unpackaged beeswax in a small block from most Farmers Markets (including Riccarton Bush and Lyttelton). Bin Inn also sells beeswax in small cubes, but we prefer a block for grating.

We went through a whopping 1kg of beeswax making 100 wraps, but 100g – 200g of beeswax will be more than enough for making your wraps at home.

Step two: cut to size
What sizes you’re after is totally up to you! Here’s the guidelines we used:

  • Small (17cm x 20xm) is good for covering leftover dips, the end of a cucumber, half an avo, or the last mouthful of cheese
  • Medium (31cm x 27cm) is the popular size – it covers a small plate, wraps a sandwich, fits over the end of a 500g block of cheese and perfect for smaller snacks and treats
  • Big (35cm x 33cm) perfect for a large sandwich, wrap, easily covers salad bowls and leftovers in the fridge, and also doubles as an excellent plate on your picnic!

Step three: let’s make your wraps
Now for the fun part!

1. Place your fabric onto a piece of baking paper (we put a towel down first, to avoid a mess!). Sprinkle a small handful of grated beeswax onto the fabric (less is more, as you can always add more afterwards). Make sure the beeswax is spread evenly.

2. Place another piece of baking paper on top of the fabric.

3. Using the iron, firmly press down onto the baking paper. You’ll see the beeswax melting almost immediately. Iron the baking paper as you would normally iron fabric – making sure the beeswax is pushed all the way into the corners (you’ll be able to see through the baking paper – see the pictures below).

4. When all the beeswax is melted and your fabric looks wet, you’re done. Remove the top layer of baking paper and check the beeswax is melted. It should look like the picture on the left below, with an even amount of melted beeswax. The picture on the right needs another go with the iron to melt and re-spread some of the beeswax that has already started to dry.

5. Next, remove the beeswax from the bottom piece of baking paper and hang to dry before it hardens and sticks (you have to be a bit speedy here, but be careful as the wax will be hot). We recommend pegging the wet wrap to a coat hanger or a washing line. It will only take a few minutes to harden and dry completely.

6. You’re done! You’ve just made a beautiful beeswax wrap which will help you say goodbye to plastic cling film for good (plus it makes for much prettier lunches!). To use, wrap around your food or bowl as you would with plastic wrap, and use the warmth of your hands to ‘seal’ the wrap in place. Instant eco-warrior!

Just a few things to note…

  • to clean your wrap, gently hand wash in cool water with a small amount of dishwashing liquid. Hot water will remove the beeswax!
  • please don’t cover raw meat with your wrap – if you need to cover raw meat, use a container or cover it with another plate in the fridge
  • if your wrap starts to lose its ‘stick’ – simply begin the process again! You’ll be able to re-wax and continue to use your wrap for years to come. If it eventually starts to look a little worse for wear, pop it into your compost bin (another reason we love cotton!).

Thanks to everyone who came along to the workshop last week, we hope you had as much fun as we did, and are enjoying using your beeswax wraps. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more Plastic Free July activities later this week, including student bloggers and the last of our plastic free giveaways.

If you make these at home, we’d love to see the results! Send your best wrap pictures to sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz. 

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 is part of our contribution to Plastic Free July, where we encourage our UC community quit single use plastics for the month. For more information and tips, see the Plastic Free July website.