Sam Bailey


03 May 2016 10:16

Do something to change your world

As students at a University surrounded by groundbreaking research, you have the potential to make a massive difference to the future of people around the world. For Change Your World Week and International Women’s Week we showcased some of the brilliant sustainability activities going on in the Union – from boosting your employability to thinking about ethical shopping. I asked some the people involved in running some of the events to share their thoughts with you!

Inspiring Women & Researchers’ Café


The two events we did for International Women’s Week were the annual Inspiring Women event and the special Researchers’ Café with subjects related to gender equality. Events like this are so important to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality. There shouldn’t be ‘male jobs’ and ‘female jobs’, anyone should be able to have the ability to choose what they want to do and International Women’s Week is the start to making this the norm.

Check out the video of the event by SUSUtv (filmed by Sophie Pitman) and find out more about Researchers’ Cafés here

Edible Bugs – the future of food?

Amy enjoys a delicious snack...

Amy enjoys a delicious snack…


If you saw our stand then I’m sure you don’t need much reminding that we were promoting eating insects! We had quite a selection: giant waterbugs, flavoured grasshoppers, BBQ bamboo worms, crickets, locusts and mealworms. Despite some people being slightly hesitant everyone seemed to really enjoy the taste of the insects. However we weren’t promoting eating insects just for their taste, although that is an added bonus, but because of the fantastic environmental benefits they provide. The land required to produce a kilogram of crickets is only 15m2, whereas the same quantity of beef would require 200m2. This therefore frees up more space for growing crops or even just to live on. Additionally, for the same mass of food production they only need 1/20 water usage of beef and may also produce 100 times less greenhouse gases, this is especially important as livestock production releases more greenhouse gases than global transport. Also it may be useful to know that insects are cheap and quick to grow and provide a fantastic source of protein, up to 70% of their weight, as well as B vitamins and iron. Although we only had a few types of insects on show there are around 1900 different edible species globally and enough for 1.4 billion per person! Despite all their benefits there are reservation about incorporating them into our diets, at least in “western countries”, and are treated as novelty items. However, as we become more aware of their advantages and an environmental need to change our current practices don’t be too surprised to see many more similar stands.


Interested in a spot of insect-eating? Energised by entomophagy? Take a look at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Edible Insects report for a lot more information!


Grow Your Own Food!


On Wednesday, the Grow Your Own stand gave students the opportunity to plant their own edible plants. Our goal was to educate students on eating healthily, being more aware of where their food came from and a more sustainable way of eating. On top of this, all of the pots were recycled bottles, for a sustainable double-whammy! The event was a great success, with students really excited to have their very own plants complete with care sheets and recipe tips. Even SUSU’s President came along and the infamous Basil the Basil plant is now a resident of the Union Sabbatical Office. Check out Save the Student’s blog on growing food in your student accommodation to find out more about producing your own food.


My basil 3 weeks later… Estimated harvest: several years


Invest Positive Green Heart Campaign


For Change Your World Week Invest Positive ran a green heart campaign; asking our University to #showthelove for our planet and sell its shares in Shell. Shell are a giant oil and gas company and are a big player in tar sands oil extraction; just about the dirtiest and highest carbon crude oil there is. Several top universities (including Oxford, Warwick and Edinburgh) have decided that they won’t hold shares in any company engaged in tar sands extraction because their exploitation is totally incompatible with preventing dangerous climate change. We want Southampton to take the same stance and divest from coal, tar sands and Arctic development. We were delighted with the response and you can see from the pictures how many people signed hearts. We still have some left if you want to add your name so join our Facebook group and get in touch!

Mike and the Invest Positive UoS group have since sent a letter and the green hearts to the Vice Chancellor to ask for a meeting to discuss the University’s ongoing investments in the fossil fuel industry.

150 students asked the University to divest from fossil fuels

150 students asked the University to divest from fossil fuels

Been inspired to do something?Swap Shop

Become an Action Officer – getting involved in projects fighting for equality, helping students make ethical and environmentally-friendly choices and promoting students wellbeing.

You can buy fairtrade and local items in the Union Shop, The Café, The Stags’ and The Bridge (including all tea and coffee!) all year round, boost your employability with our regular LinkedIn Labs, pop into SURecruit or make a difference with a student group.


We’ll be holding a Swap Shop on the concourse in Building 42 on Monday 9 May so you can give your summer wardrobe a refresh with ethical and recycled clothes!

P.S. Check out the photos of the annual Sustainability Action Awards here, congratulations to all the amazing winners!

Get in touch! Questions, queries, opinions and thoughts

Email me at

Add me as a friend on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter @zoology_sam

Or come and find me in the Sabb Office on Level 2 of Building 42!

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