Transition University of St Andrews Final Report
Carol-Ann Cunningham Rebecca Petford
Lucy Anderson Iris Domingos Aiden Bowman
steering group 2011-2012
Rebecca, Jamie and Carol-Ann (from left)
Executive Summary page 4 Starting Point page 5 Headline Achivements page 6 Projects pages 7-29
Events pages 30-31 Media & Communications pages 32-33 Finances page 34 Learning and Reflection as a Whole pages 35-36
Appendix pages 37-40
Executive summary Transition University of St Andrews was funded by the Climate Challenge Fund for year 2011/12 with 3 full-time staff starting work in June 2011. Working to a project based on the successful funding application, Transition reduced carbon across energy, waste, transport and food behaviours of the community. The project connected with over 4,000 community members with online and with activities, with an estimated that 1880 of those could be considered as â€˜engagedâ€™ with the project. In addition, 139 community members were involved to a high degree with the project and volunteered to ensure that the project was a success. 631.94 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent were reduced through the Transition project and a number of positive social outcomes were evident from speaking and working with community members. The project can be viewed as a success not only in terms of carbon saved but by creating the links and networks between individuals and groups that would not normally have happened without paid staff to bring everyone together. The creation of further Transition projects and also future funding are cited as very important outcomes of the work. The ongoing difficulties in engaging large groups of people for environmental work are recognised. Transition University of St Andrews would also like to thank the CCF Development Officer, Rebecca Vivers, for her support during the project. Students in the Steering Group.
Starting Point for Transition Transition University of St Andrews was founded within the One World Society in St Andrews in 2009. One World Society is the University of St Andrewsâ€™ branch of People & Planet, the largest student campaigning network in the UK, and has been a fully-affiliated society at the University for over 20 years. One World, like People & Planet, works on specific projects to address issues of human rights, poverty, and environmental protection. In Summer 2009, the One World committee jointed the national People & Planet Transition Universities campaign, inspired by the success of the Transition Town movement which seeks to re-localise and reduce energy consumption as a response to peak oil and climate change. In September 2009, One World Society established the Transition University of St Andrews working group, hosting a number of workshops and visits from representatives from other Transition movements, and beginning the process of visioning and identifying key goals. Four areas of focus were developed: sourcing local goods, adopting localised renewable energy and promoting energy efficiency, campaigning for sustainable short- and long-distance travel, and reducing waste. The project aimed to primarily focus on the lifestyles of the 7,730 students and 2,105 staff members of the University, while acknowledging the important- links between town and gown within our University town. Social engagement and outreach was therefore also seen to be vital to the work of Transition. Transition University of St Andrews aims to establish a wide-reaching network to work towards a low-carbon, low-energy, resilient, relocalised University that is embedded within its local community whilst retaining global links and impact. Transition was formally launched to the University Community in December 2009 to an audience of more than 100 students, academic and support staff. In September 2010, Transition re-launched in Freshers week 2010, and held an election for a new Steering Group to follow on from the success of the previous year. The Steering Group is directed by students, with support from the Sustainable Development Programme, the St Andrews Sustainability Institute (SASI), the University of St Andrews Estates Department, and the Studentsâ€™ Association. This Steering Group prepared and submitted an Application for Funding to the Climate Challenge Fund in February 2011, which was successful and has funded three full time staff members to lead ten identified carbon-reduction, community-enhancing and skills-building projects in the University Community over the last year. Read on to hear more about the work undertaken in each project, and reflections on the work of Transition as a whole.
HEADLINE ACHIEVEMENTS FOR TRANSITION AS A WHOLE • 634.66 tonnes of carbon were reduced through the work of Transition University of St Andrews.
• 184 events were held within the community over the funded project.
• 2.16 tonnes of waste have been diverted from landfill through St AndRe-Use, saving 28,402.5kgCO2
• An estimated 4370 community members were aware of
Transition with the project website receiving over 18,000 single page views.
• 70 community members passed through the Carbon Conversations course, with 7 new community members being trained as facilitators and significant behavioural change occurring for many participants.
• The link with the University’s 600 years campaign allowed a lot
of publicity to be generated around the planning of 600 trees (420 within the project timescale).
• By working with members of the community Transition assisted in
the creating of an ambitious Sustainable Development and carbon neutrality policy paper for the University (a key stakeholder in the community).
• In addition, three projects started as spin-offs of Transition events and work which provides a fantastic legacy in addition to the additional funding secured.
What we did
Bins in your room
Interhall Energy Comepetition Non recyclables bin
Local Holidaying Scottish Registered Charity, number SC019883
Outside Bins – for exact locations see posters on noticeboards Aluminium
Waste Minimisation & Recycling
You can recycle or find re-use schemes for most items, please University Community www.st-andrews.ac.uk/transition for more information. Garden
Interhall Energy Competition Starting Point The Interhall Energy Competition has run in St Andrews for a number of years with a winning hall announced at the end of each academic year. Despite this, lack of student awareness and engagement with this was recognised as an area for improvement. The most obvious aim for this stream of Transition’s funded work was to make reductions in the energy use of student accommodation. However, a significant aim was to raise awareness of this competition and why it is run within the affected community members. Outputs Training sessions were held for student Environment Representatives from Halls of Residence, who it emerged are essential to a successful competition. Transition organised discussions with Environment Reps where progress of the project was talked about and feedback on how the competition could be more effective was given. Energy tips sessions on how to help your hall win/reduce energy use were offered to all halls but overall takeup was fairly low.
Much of the Interhall work was done via updates to students electronically with some of this being done by students in the halls themselves, once provided with data by Transition. This allowed a ‘student face’ to be given to the initiative rather than it be seen as a University project. New designs for posters to publicise the event were created and distributed. The online presence of the competition was also improved during the Transition project with social media being set up as well as a section on the Transition and University website for the Interhall Energy Competition. Events within halls were also carried out and organised by students and provided the chance to promote the Interhall Energy Competition and other green initiatives. Energy tip sessions were also done with students in halls. In total 5 events were held for the Interhall Energy Competition as well as various drop-ins from community members to learn new energy saving tips for their hall.
St Andrews is doing its bit. You can too
interhall energy challenge
“I’ve always been the person to turn off my lights and put my computer to sleep when out of the room, but I was unaware of the more minor things one can do to save electricity and also reduce heating.” The Interhall energy website page had 247 page views (of which 214 were unique).
Scottish Registered Charity, number SC019883
Interhall Energy Poster 9
Outcomes The Interhall Energy Competition needed to do more in engaging the community with the project. This was followed by an increased effort to engage with the community from the activities listed above. More dialogue with students and Transition on the competition was created which is extremely positive. Building skills, relationships and awareness of the competition and its aims with the key members of the target community, staff management and student representatives has been a success of competition. Drawing together these individuals helped to facilitate discussion on common problems in getting the competition to engage with a large group of students and staff in halls as well as identify ways to overcome these issues. Taking the residences electricity and gas consumption on a year on year basis, there was a reduction in electricity of 60,618 kWh or 32.8 tCO2, and gas of 2,273,709 kWh or 416 tCO2. It should be noted that there was a mild winter that invariable affected this measurement. The competition itself was based on electricity alone but tips for both heat and electricity were promoted.
Therefore, the reduction of 32.8 tonnes in electricity use and 416 tonnes in heating, with a total of 448.8 tonnes of CO2 was achieved through the course of the project
Interhall Energy Poster
I opened up to you and you just left me...
Turn down your heating before opening a window. 10% of heat energy is wasted from windows. Report any faults to your Environment Rep. the interhall energy competition. st andrews students doing our bit.
“People who already cared but weren’t always aware of what they could be doing were provided with a framework to act in.”
A new set of data records have been achieved as well as half-hourly meter reading data which is being rolled out to community members to give real time updates on their energy usage. The move from a yearly winner to more regular winners has allowed increased exposure of the competition and a system has been set up to allow this new method of measurement to continue. Learning and Reflection A lot of time was devoted to changing the model used for the competition to a fairer and more engaging one which will hopefully be of use in the future of the project. Like all aspects of Transition’s work, an attempt was made to ensure that the competition could be sustainable and carry on long-term. Face-to-face communication and working with small groups of community members appears to work much better that larger scale engagement techniques for this competition. This presents a problem in that there is a large number of students targeted within this area of the project and, overall, engagement with community is still fairly low. 10
Local Holidaying Starting Point This project aimed to work to allow access to halls of residence over holiday periods, specifically the Christmas break, so that those who wished to stay in town could do so, saving unnecessary trips (primarily flights) home due to people having nowhere to stay. Carbon targets suggested that 10% of students in halls would stay in St Andrews if the halls stayed open and savings were based on the average flight impact of a student. Following research, it was revealed that this project was both impractical (residences staying open with few students but still requiring heating and cooking provision, and janitorial and support staff would be a highly inefficient use of resources) and not required (as those students staying over the break tend to know in advance and have chosen a hall with Christmas access from the outset, and alternative accommodation is available for those who need it). This project was therefore reformulated with the support of our Development Officer and the Steering Group to form two separate projects: 1. Firstly, a programme of activities was organised for over the Christmas break, to provide a Scottish Christmas Experience to those who might otherwise never have one (due to the variety of student nationalities in the community), to entertain and link up those who were around, and to encourage attendees to get to know St Andrews a little better and learn new skills. It was hoped that having events throughout the break would also encourage those unsure about whether to travel home or not to stay in St Andrews, preventing carbon emissions. 2. Secondly, a series of webpages (http://transitionuniversityofstandrews.com/local-holidaying/) were created to give information on the link between climate change and travel, to share information on local travel, day trips and holidays, to allow students to share their experiences and advice, to provide carbon calculating advice and links, and to advertise the activities within the Scottish Christmas Experience. This section is outlined under Transport and Travel Footprints. Outputs 43 Scottish Christmas Experience were organised, and 40 took place as planned (3 were cancelled due to weather / low sign-ups). A full schedule of events is available here: http://transitionuniversityofstandrews. com/christmas-events/.
â€œBeing able to lift my head out of books and make something with my hands for a change was a great way to relax and do something different for a while.â€?
Rebecca Petford calculating carbon outside the University Library during St Andrews Green Week 2012.
31 individuals attended over the project, with an average of 3 per event. It is not known how many of the 7,730 University students remained in St Andrews over the break.
Around 70 volunteer hours were contributed to ensure the success of this programme
The webpage of events for the Scottish Christmas experience received 1,400 unique visitors, each staying for an average of 3 minutes.
Outcomes This project did not achieve the outcomes laid out in the bid (for the reasons stated below under ‘Learning and Reflection’), but had a large number of other positive social and carbon-related outcomes. local holidaying
– scottish christmas experience
Feedback by questionnaire from the Scottish Christmas Experience showed that although around two thirds of the participants were international students, none of them had chosen to stay in St Andrews over the break because of the events. However the vast majority of participants said that they had met new people they would stay in contact with, and had enjoyed the Christmas Break more than they would otherwise have, due to the events. A third felt that they now feel more connected to St Andrews and Scotland than they did when the programme began. local holidaying
– transport and travel footprints
28 people visited the page to calculate their travel carbon footprint on the website, which shows increased awareness of the link between travel and climate change and an interest in addressing this. This facility has only recently been added to the website and will remain active in the long term, and it is expected that many more will access the page in the future. A number of requests for feedback on the information online have been distributed through social media. All feedback has been positive, and several members of the University community have also submitted suggestions for travel tips or personal stories to be added to the website, showing their interest in sharing their knowledge about the local area. Discussions with the University Travel Service on flights within the UK have let to the assertion by the Travel Service that they will encourage the use of trains over flights for all students travelling down south during holiday periods. Stroll along the pier as part of the local holidaying scheme.
Learning and Reflection On reflection, the revision of the project was the right decision. Although it led to no direct carbon emissions savings and a great deal of work both sections of the project were beneficial, increasing the awareness of the carbon impact of travel. The Scottish Christmas Experience was particularly useful in providing what was essentially a feasibility study for continuing this project in the future. The reflection and advice for the future of the Scottish Christmas Experience, containing a full schedule of events, is provided within the Supporting Information. Supporting Information See attached document ‘Scottish Christmas Experience Reflection and Schedule’ http://transitionuniversityofstandrews.com/local-holidaying/
“This is a great initiative (especially for students in their first years here, for whom spending the holidays away from home can get a bit lonely).”
Poster advertising the Local Holidaying 13 Scheme.
“It was a great programme. It’s a shame that not more people considered staying over Christmas.”
Car Sharing Starting Point Transition began this project using a scheme called Liftshare (http://www.liftshare.com/content/default.asp ?sid=678&sid2=1403&sid3=1398&skin=fifetripshare.com&lang=EN&country=GB). On closer inspection of the site we realised that it was not particularly student friendly and one of the big tasks for this project was to overhaul the University official car-sharing site with a more interactive student facing one. Previously car-sharing had been the remit of the Environment Team, however to really make an impact with a scheme of this kind there needed to be considerable promotions put into it so this was the role that Transition took. The original project plan suggested targeting postgrad students, however comments from the CCF Panel suggested that looking at staff primarily as well as trying to engage students would produce more carbon savings so the project took this angle. Headline Achievements The Transition project focussed on spending time developing the new car-sharing site in partnership with goCarShare. goCarShare is a student friendly car-sharing website who wanted to work closely with a University partner to re-develop their site. Several key changes were made to the functionality of the goCarShare site, namely allowing repeat journeys as well as creating bespoke sites for different universities at low cost (www.gocarshare.com/standrews). The site has a login through Facebook which was something we were keen to try and goCarShare added additional functionality to allow people to create accounts if they did not want to login through Facebook. 200 posters were distributed across the campus, several announcements were made on the Wednesday and Friday memos (targeting students and staff respectively) and the number of clicks through the memos were tracked. In October the application form to apply for a car parking permit was changed to include an opt-in to be part of the car-sharing site also. Promotions in Halls of Residences took place, with Environment Halls Reps being provided with promotional t-shirts and hoodies. During Green Week a joint event was held with some students and goCarShare promotional materials were on display.
left: goCarShare Event right: Car Sharing Poster
DRIVING SOMEWHERE? When you travel, hire out your empty car seats on goCarShare for cash.
Lifeâ€™s a journey - share it! www.gocarshare.com/standrews
The goCarShare website had 1,193 hits on it from Sep â€“ mid March. This translated into 88 journeys being registered by drivers and 30 by passengers. Due to the nature of carsharing sites it is often hard to tell how many journeys have successfully been shared, however looking at the messages being exchanged we can estimate that 15 people successfully found shares. 40 messages were exchanged between users of the site. Car Sharing Poster These journeys included one-off trips from St Andrews to Doncaster and London and regular trips from St Andrews to Dundee and the South of Fife. Assuming 10 journeys were long distance (200miles) and 5 were repeat local journeys, approximately 7,000 miles over a years period were saved. This equates to 2,721 kg CO2e for the year and 8,163 kg CO2e over the lifetime. Learning and Reflection The key barrier to the project reaching more people was the lack of institutional support. The ability to contact everyone within the University through internal mail and email would have been a real boost for raising awareness of the website, however this was not possible. There are many more general barriers to carsharing which in an academic staff setting are hard to overcome e.g. staff working different hours. For the student population, very few students commute to St Andrews as most stay within walking distance of the University. The focus became on targeting one-off journeys that students make, e.g. when travelling home for holidays and for weekend trips.
Lifeâ€™s a journey - share it! www.gocarshare.com/standrews 15
Skill Share Starting Point The aim of this project was to ‘facilitate re-use and recycling activities among students by enhancing the practical skill base of the University community’, with a focus on increasing community engagement. The bid discussed the importance of linking this project to other Skill Shares and specifically stating the aim to increase skills around bike repair. Carbon emission targets were based around 10 bikes being repaired and passed on to students then being used for small trips instead of cars. The University partners with BikeWorks in Glenrothes to sell reclaimed bikes to students, through which 70 bikes have been distributed since late September. The SkillShare project was therefore reformulated from that outlined in the bid to provide a range of individual skills workshops with one each week, then due to a low turn-out reformulated again to have bi-monthly larger events with multiple skills present which were open to the local community as well as students. Headline Achievements • Seven different SkillShare events have taken place • Volunteers have donated over 152 hours of their time to the project. • Just over a hundred people have engaged with the SkillSharing project over the year
16 Skills share event in conjunction with the craft society
Outputs Seven different SkillShare events have been organised by Transition in St Andrews, including 5 single-skill events and 2 large-scale multiple-skill ones. Seventeen different skills have been consciously shared through this project, including bike maintenance, clothing repair, knitting and crochet, making button jewellery and juggling – although discussions often turned to other skills and projects and it is likely that many other skills and ideas where shared which have not been accounted for. Transition SkillShares linked up with the skill shares taking place in Falkland and at Dundee University, sharing ideas for events and ideas around best practice. The Skillshare page on the website had 161 page views (of which 140 were unique).
Outcomes Questionnaire feedback from participants at the events has shown that the events were effective in teaching people to do new things, and enjoyable to participate in. People left the events with new knowledge and having met new people, increasing community resilience and social cohesion. Several of the skills shared will lead to a reduction in waste through increased skills in repair (clothing, bicycles, snowsport equipment) and re-use (items made of material, wool, plastic bags, buttons etc.), and a reduction in consumption as people ‘make their own’ in the future. However there is no reliable way to track this and so data on the waste and consumption impacts has not been collected. This project has no associated carbon savings as the focus is on skill-building and community engagement as opposed to direct carbon-reduction. Learning and Reflection On reflection the reformulation of this project was the right decision, making the events much more successful in terms of interaction between the skill-sharers and increasing overall turnout. It is hoped that these events will continue regularly in the future, with the support of the Steering Group. Marketing is an issue for SkillShare events, as they are a novel concept to most, and through trial and error we have discovered that they work best at attracting a range of University and community participants when in a central location on a weekend afternoon. Feedback from participants at most of the SkillShares mentioned a lack of advertising, and advice on this will be given to the Steering Group as the project is handed over.
“I think Transition brought both a motivating force and organizational capabilities to the community.” Skills Share event. 17
Poster advertising the Gift Share holiday event.
Promotion of Waste Minimisation & Recycling Starting Point At the beginning of the project, recycling at the University was already at a high of 61% materials recycled and 4% re-used (in the 2010-11 academic year). In 2009-10 the rate was 60% recycling and 5% re-use. The infrastructure to support recycling across campus was excellent, and all round awareness of the importance of recycling seemed high in the student and staff population. Signage was identified as the key issue within the original project outline and upon starting the project the lack of food waste collections was also identified by a large number of students as an issue. The Transition project to encourage waste minimisation and recycling ran alongside the day-to-day work of the Estates Department who have a Recycling Team of 5. The original bid to the CCF included a weekly collection service run by paid Transition interns for 300 privately rented student houses, however this strand was not funded. Outputs The outputs for the waste minimization project are mostly awareness raising and promotional. The Transition team worked closely with the University Environment Team to support them in their activities. The Transition website hosts information about what to recycle where, and at the beginning of the term in September we produced 1,700 posters explaining the recycling system in place in Halls. Transition then employed student interns to post these posters in every bedroom in Halls of Residences in the University. We also liaised closely with Fife Council and supported their new 4-bin roll out in the St Andrews area. We ran an advert in The Saint (the student newspaper) to announce this for them. From the Kitchen Cannies that we gave away we anticipate that we have reduced food waste in each household by 37%.
91kg is the estimated saving, or 409.5 kg CO2e . We gave out 15 kits so the estimated saving is 1,365kg of waste or 6.14 tonnes CO2e.
How much food do you throw away each week?
See how much food your family wastes each week with a free kitchen canny kit! Transition is giving them away to staff who want to measure their waste whilst improving their habits. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to pick up your free kit or for any other information.
Poster advertising free Kitchen Canny kits. 18
Outcomes There were no CO2e emissions attached to this strand of the project and due to the fact that the project was mostly awareness raising, most of the outcomes are qualitative. From the Kitchen Cannies that we gave away we anticipate that we have reduced food waste in each household by 37%. 91kg is the estimated saving, or 409.5 kg CO2e . We gave out 15 kits so the estimated saving is 1,365kg of waste or 6.14 tonnes CO2e. The waste awareness training that we ran with Environment Reps for Halls in September had great feedback, equipping students with the skills to understand the waste system and take that back to their peers. Learning and Reflection The main barrier to the project was the fact that very little could be changed with regards to the infrastructure to help increase recycling. This is due to the fact that the University Estates Department are in charge of this system, and it actually works very effectively at the moment. The aspect of waste minimisation which should be looked at in more depth is to standardise bins and labelling across the campus, however this is a massive undertaking and would have been far beyond the scope of the funded project this year. The composting of food waste was one aspect which we found a real barrier, however implementing this within the University has been halted by Zero Waste regulations currently being passed through the Scottish Government. As a way of responding to questions from students and staff about the possibility of getting food waste collections, we set up a system whereby people can take their waste to the University Community Garden and use the composting facilities there.
The University is dedicated to sustainability and we are always striving to reduce our use of materials, re-use as much as we can, and increase our recycling. In 2009-10 the University recycled & re used a massive 65% of our waste.
As a student in this Halls of Residence we ask that you do the following to help us do even more. More information on your responsibilities can be found in your Hall Handbook.
Bins in your room Non recyclables bin
Outside Bins – for exact locations see posters on noticeboards Aluminium
You can recycle or find re-use schemes for most items, please see www.st-andrews.ac.uk/transition for more information.
Poster describing the different recycling facilities availble to students in halls.
St AndRe-Use Starting Point The aim of this project was â€˜To enhance the existing programme of the St AndRe-Use Project, as a means of minimising waste generationâ€™. This was to be done by increasing promotion, assisting with the student-run operations, and establishing an online forum for swapping items. The bid suggested a 25 tonne turnover of waste diverted from landfill for reuse could be possible within a year, resulting in an 11,175kgCO2 saving.
606 unique visitors visited the St AndReUse website page, and 630 visitors visited the forums to list items / see what was on offer, between October and March
2.16 tonnes of waste have been diverted from landfill through St AndRe-Use, saving 28,402.5kg CO2
Outputs The intended audience was primarily the students of the University of St Andrews, of which there are 7730, although the 2141 University staff are also free to participate (population data from Dec 2010). Around 300 people attended 40 events between June and March, which were a range of collections, give-aways and swap events. A committee of 4 and 11 volunteers contributed 131 hours to the work of St AndRe-Use between September and March. The St AndRe-Use Facebook Group (http://www.facebook.com/groups/128369933455/) has 960 members as of 26th March 2012. 276 people have registered to the St AndRe-Use forum on the website (http:// transitionuniversityofstandrews.com/standre-use/), with 15 large items (bikes, furniture etc) passed on through this rather than through give-aways and collections.
Outcomes Each item collected was weighed (items passed online were given an estimated weight from the Furniture Reuse Network) and carbon savings calculated using the Waste spreadsheet provided by CCF for monitoring, which is produced through information by Zero Waste Scotland. Awareness of St AndRe-Use has been increased through the events held, with new participants taking home over 250 business cards during the initial Give-Away event in Freshers’ Week 2011. 10 volunteers came forward to support the work of St AndRe-Use between November and March, showing that this interest is deeper than just a wish for free stuff ! “I am really impressed by the work of St AndRe-use. This scheme prevents so much pointless landfilling of our waste and gives others the chance to enjoy good they may never have been able to have” “I love attending their giveaways, I almost always pick up something I can use; much better than having it thrown away! I’ve also given unwanted/needed items to the collection, I am so happy the stuff can be reused rather than thrown away.” It is estimated that this will have a lifetime behaviour change carbon saving of this project taking into account the participation this year is likely to be around 142,012.5kgCO2. A multiplication factor of 5 was chosen to reflect the semi-personal nature of this project with face-to-face contact, and the fact that habits of reuse endure beyond a change in location or circumstance. This project also has a legacy beyond March 2012, however, as responsibility for it has been passed on to a new committee, and it is hoped that this saving will continue to be made annually. Learning and Reflection This is the first time that the work of St AndRe-Use has been actively monitored, and as such the estimates of tonnage and carbon savings were highly inaccurate (although the carbon saving target was greatly exceeded). Now the monitoring process exists it will be easy to continue, and this will provide the committee with greater feedback on its success in the future. The St AndRe-Use committee were of limited support during the project, but the Project Officer was anxious not to step on their toes too much. An official understanding between the committee and Project Officer as to job roles, and the inclusion of volunteers earlier in the year, may have led to additional savings. The support of the University, and particularly the Estates department, was vital to the success of this project and this link is incredibly important to maintain. However, for the scheme to expand further a new storage area will need to be found, as the current storage location has limited space. This will need to be tasked to the St AndRe-Use Event
right: Plastic bottle greenhouse. left: Introduction to beekeeping display. below left: Tree planting event. below right: Students and staff at work on the community garden.
University Community Garden.
Sign leading to the University Community Garden.
University Community Garden Starting Point In 2004/5, the University supported a small student group to start up a garden on campus. Since then the garden has been relatively small scale in its production and also outreach, with around 4 regular volunteers attending every week in the 2010-11 academic year. The role of Transition was to support the growth of the garden, assist with outreach into the University of St Andrews community as well as the town community, and run additional training for the users of the garden. Upon beginning this project in June 2011, the garden was being tended by a few dedicated volunteers but it was particularly struggling over the summer months. Transition quickly identified that there was the need for more volunteers, a stronger structure for the running of the garden and greater integration with the University itself. The original project plan also included looking into a Landshare scheme with townspeople and building a greenhouse out of plastic bottles. One of the first changes which was made was that the name of the garden was changed from the ‘Student Garden’ to the ‘University Community Garden’ to signify that the garden is open to all. In addition to the original project plan, several other mini-projects have sprung up through Transition’s work which will be explored in greater depth in subsequent sections. These include a tree planting to commemorate the University’s 600th Anniversary and the creation of new gardens across campus. Outputs From September 19th 2011 (Freshers’ Week) until March 31st 2012, 50 different volunteers worked in the University Community Garden. Overall 430 volunteer hours went into the garden during this period. We also ran training sessions for volunteers. These were: Training Name Introduction to Beekeeping Composting Workshop Introduction to Permaculture - 2 day course
Provider Fife Beekeepers Association Zero Waste Scotland James Chapman
Dates 15th Oct 19th Nov 25th - 26th Feb
No. of Attendees 12 9 16
The plastic bottle greenhouse is well under development, and so far we have collected around 600 bottles to go into it (see photo). These bottles have been collected by Transition staff members through adverts around the University and also by working with the University Recycling Team. Transition were successful in an application to the Woodland Trust’s free trees scheme and on the 21st March 2012 400 trees were planted on campus beside two sets of Halls of Residences, University Hall and Fife Park. The event is part of a larger series of planting events which Transition will co-ordinate going forward called ‘600 Trees for 600 Years’. In total 600 trees will be planted in 2012 to commemorate the University’s 600th Anniversary. 90 volunteers attended the first event on the 21st March and we had excellent feedback from individuals who attended the event, commenting on how interesting it was as well as how well organised it was. Due to the success of the University Community Garden, several other gardens are in development across 23
campus. A small garden at the St Regulus Hall has been set up by one student and another much larger community garden is planned for another student housing area called Albany Park. Albany Park has 340 students. Transition has spent a significant amount of time on outreach activities into the town’s community, forming informal partnerships with several key groups. These are namely the Community Council, the St Andrews Orchard Group, Fife Conservation Group and East Fife Organic Gardeners. The Fife Conservation Group is one group who, in partnership with Transition, has rejuvenated a large disused garden space for one of the academic departments at the University. Transition worked hard on increasing publicity for the garden and this included getting the garden marked on the official University map online, getting several University branded signs produced, creating a successful Facebook page and designing posters which were distributed across the University. Outcomes From mid-October until March, 5,547g of produce was harvested which was distributed between the volunteers to take home. Using guidance from ‘A Low Carbon Route Map: Food, 2011’, the lifetime carbon savings using data from this winter harvest period are 86kg CO2e. The most significant change which has occurred with the University Community Garden is the increase in volunteers. There has been an increase from 3 to 12 in the number of committed volunteers. The garden used to have around 15 ad hoc volunteers, but this had increased to around 40 people who come back to the garden at different times but cannot commit to the weekly sessions. The garden has 70 people on the mailing list (last year there were 25), and 166 people on the Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ universitycommunitygarden). The numbers of people who return to the garden more than once is high and this is a good indicator that the programme is engaging people. The community garden webpages on the Transition webpages had 309 page views (275 of which are unique). A questionnaire was sent out to those that have engaged with the garden, and the results showed that 70% of people found working in the garden ‘very enjoyable’ and the other 30% found it ‘enjoyable’. 60% of people are very likely to continue working in the garden and 40% are likely. “I have been involved in the garden for four years and there has been more progress made in the last year than in the previous three years put together. The Transition staff member has been able to support us developing the garden and has increased the numbers of volunteers significantly and I’m really excited to see how it develops over the coming years!” “It’s a fun, creative learning experience. It’s not about weeding or getting bad knees, it’s about getting stuck in and finding out about how you relate to your environment and how plants relate to each other.” “Relaxing and Peaceful. It’s a great break from studying. And everyone is FRIENDLY!! And accepting, even if you only manage to go once a month! No pressure to do anything but just what you want to.” “This year, the funding from CCF has allowed the garden to run some fantastic, stimulating workshops, including Beekeeping and Permaculture. Both of these courses taught me knowledge and skills that I would not have had a chance to gain elsewhere and that I highly value. I loved them, plus they will look great on my CV!” Feedback from the training sessions we ran has been excellent. Verbal feedback from the beekeeping and composting workshops was very strong and the Introduction to Permaculture course was rated at the high end of the spectrum for content, presentation method, organisation and, most importantly, joy! (see photo) 24
The creation of new gardens has opened up the reach and is teaching people new skills in growing their own. The 600 Trees for 600 Years events which we are running have many knock-on benefits and are a key tool in supporting town/gown relations. The 600th Anniversary celebrations are extremely high-profile within the University and town at the moment and it is an honour to run an environmental event as part of its programme. Learning and Reflection Overall the work with the garden was a positive experience. The relationship Gardening Session with student volunteers and Transition/ University staff members was one aspect which will need to be clarified moving forward. At the moment the garden does not have a specific governance structure nor development strategy and this is something which would be recommended by Transition on finishing the first funding phase. The working relationship between the University (specifically the Grounds team) and the Transition staff member was excellent and it is hoped that this relationship will continue for the continuation of the projects. right: Tree planting at Fife Park. left: Poster advertising the â€˜600 Trees for 600 Yearsâ€™ event held as part of the jubilee woods project. below: Tree planting at Uni Hall. below left: University Community Garden below right: Path in the garden.
Cookery Classes Starting Point There was no strong history of Transition led low carbon cooking classes within the community prior to the CCF funded aspect of Transition. However, upon starting work within the community it was clear that a number of other groups and student societies were already active, or had been active, in having some sort of cooking class for students in St Andrews. Outputs A range of messages were presented to the community from cookery classes. Low carbon cooking was demonstrated and taught in different forms. For instance, cooking with reduced meat in your diet, vegetarian cooking, vegan and organic cooking, sustainable ingredients, cooking with energy efficient techniques and local and seasonal diets were all discussed throughout the series of classes that involved 12 different sessions. In total 72 community members attended a session. Schedule here -http://transitionuniversityofstandrews. com/food/cooking-classes/ . Many of the cooking classes were carried out by community members themselves and others were carried out by quest chiefs or outside organisations such as Fife Diet.
Outcomes Working alongside community members to make low carbon food, the Part Time Carnivore initiative was discussed and promoted as a means of reducing the carbon intensity of the community’s diets. This resulted in 59 sign ups and 30.856 tonnes of carbon reduced and over the period of the Transition funded work. http:// st-andrews.parttimecarnivore.org/stats/ The recipes of each class were also distributed more widely than the attendees alone and made available online (http://transitionuniversityofstandrews.com/food/resources-recipes-from-previous-classes/). Positive feedback was evident from those that attended classes: “It was great to see how other people prepare their food and I learned a lot about food, cooking and the impact it can have. Most of all, however, I enjoyed the conversations that I had with a variety of interesting people while cooking or sharing the food. I think the atmosphere was fantastic. Thanks to Transition for organising it!” One of the benefits of the community members leading the classes was facilitating peer-to-peer learning in the same way that some of the Interhall Energy Competition aimed to function. Links with current student societies who also carried out cooking classes, though not necessarily low carbon classes, was created over this period and will hopefully serve as something that can make a sustainable food section of this project in the longer term. An initiative that has been successfully running prior to the CCF funded Transition work was an organic veg box scheme ran by a student society One World. This was promoted by Transition, which also served as a drop off point for bag collection and payment Learning and Reflection The cooking classes were generally well attended and successful in communicating with members of the community. There were attempts made integrate low carbon cooking into the current cooking classes. pointed out at the start, that exist in St Andrews student body. However, the presence a lot of these groups and their current successes made it difficult to get full support from societies to change their cooking classes to meet the same aims as Transition. Another reflection of this area of the project’s work is that many of the participants in the classes were already involved or aware of the importance of low carbon cooking techniques.
Transition Cookery Class
Carbon Conversations Starting Point This project aim suggested that eighty people would complete the Carbon Conversations course within the funded period, average a tonne of carbon savings per person and resulting in a 80,000kg CO2 saving. Outputs • 65 members of the almost 9,900 University community participated in Carbon Conversations between October 2011 and March 2012. A number more are signed up to start classes in April, with details as http://transitionuniversityofstandrews.com/carbon-conversations/ • Nine courses were run, totalling 54 different meetings. • Ten Carbon Conversations facilitators were trained in total (eight by Transition), seven of which will remain at the University beyond March, and at least six for at least one further year. • The Transition employees held a large re-union for all participants in March, a taster session in November, and ran small workshops with the fourth year Sustainable Development class to further advertise the programme. • A Carbon Conversations Participant Space has been set up on Facebook to allow participants a way to keep in touch and continue their discussions and share relevant articles and videos after the course. • Each participant has received a certificate to acknowledge their completion of the course. Outcomes The Carbon Conversations Monitoring Spreadsheet provided by Pam McLean from Edinburgh University has been used to assess the carbon savings associated with the course. This has shown average carbon savings per participant of:
left: Carbon Conversations Poster right: Carbon Conversations Meeting
1.802 tonnes so far
5.788 tonnes within a year
10.267 tonnes over the long term
These figures mean that this project has prevented 117.105 tonnes CO2 so far, will save 376.251 tonnes CO2 within the year, and will prevent 667.349 tonnes CO2 over the long term. All participants were asked to rate the ‘effectiveness’ of the course on a scale of one to ten following the final session, giving an average effectiveness rating of 8.4. In total, 97% reported that the course had had a positive effect on their environmental behaviours. ‘It was nice and relaxing to have the time for this set aside, because even if I’m aware of it in my normal life I wouldn’t normally go and reflect on it’ ‘To hear different perspectives on it was really interesting, different generations and different occupations can have different views and different problems, and I learned a lot from that.’ ‘…it has been a really powerful way of encouraging me to change my behaviour even further than I already had, in a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere.’ ‘Climate change is a complex topic. The Carbon Conversations programme provides an interesting pathway to navigate the issues and how to do things.’ ‘The course [Carbon Conversations] helped me understand my personal behaviour better; the whole process of thinking about what to say/what not to say (too shameful to share!) really made me see myself more from an objective point of view. I also found that I’d been much more generous when applying sustainability principle to the personal level than when I thought/talked about what ‘others’ should do.’ ‘As a foreigner, getting to know about the Scottish housing system/culture/food/local policy was fascinating…I guess many international students would find this course insightful.’ The programme brings together groups of people who might not normally interact, and has established a sense of community between past participants, and strengthened links between students and staff and different student groups within the university. The carbon conversations webpage had 332 page views (293 of which were unique). Learning and Reflection This project has proven to be very enjoyable for both facilitators and participants, and due to the strength of engagement is likely to show long-term carbon reductions. It does however tend to attract those who are already engaged with environmental issues (although they did report increased motivation to act due to the course). It is hoped that as Carbon Conversations continues the uptake amongst non-environmentally minded people will increase as word spreads about it being accessible to all. The course is however not aimed at transient student populations in rented accommodation, and it would be good if the course could be adapted in the future to be more relevant to students and to the socio-economic situation in Scotland/St Andrews. This would make the course content more accessible to participants and may lead to increased behaviour change as a result of the course. In addition, if information relevant to each section about what is going on in St Andrews through Transition and other groups was distributed in the appropriate session this might lead to participants becoming more engaged in on-campus action through the course. These recommendations have been passed on to the facilitators remaining at the University in the longer term. 29
events A number of events took place which were not directly related to a single area of the funded Transition project. These events were useful in appealing to wider audiences in the community, disseminating relevant information and creating discussion on behavioural change in relation to environmentalism. Freshers’ Week One of Transition’s initial series of events and communication with the main student community was Freshers’ Week, the week prior to academic classes starting in St Andrews. Alongside the student society One World, a film screening was held. The Peace One Day film was shown with over 30 students in attendance. Also in partnership with One World a Fairtrade Café event was carried out for the community. This was well attended and created a space for discussion on sustainability and future Transition events. Again, alongside student societies Transition promoted a Freshers’ BBQ held at the community garden. A Transition Drop-In Day was organised in the Transition office for Freshers’ Week and provided a great opportunity to introduce the project to new students and community members. This Drop-In Day also allowed Transition to gain a significant number of sign-ups for project streams and the newsletter. Also in Freshers’ Week a St And Re-Use giveaway was held, a Fife Diet talk about local and sustainable diets was given as well as an Introduction to the University Community Garden. Green Week In the second semester of the academic calendar a Green Week was held in the community with Transition as one of the key organisers and promoters for events. A stall promoting Transition and the Skillshare initiative at the Green Fayre was held on the first day of Green week and followed by a variety of other events. Local food organisation Fife Diet held a ‘Weird Veg’ Workshop; a talk on how youth can engage with climate change negotiations was given; a staff cycle to work day was again organised and a travel calculator map to calculate community members’ carbon footprints was held. Events that were also promoted or supported in some way by Transition included: the sports teams energy competition and energy generating electricity, a Green Week photo competition, a student society community dinner and an Interfaith Society Sacred Space on nature. In addition, events within student accommodation were put on with Environment Reps and Transition working together. Raffles with eco tip to win a Fairtrade Hamper were organised and Green Parties in halls took place. An energy advice stall in a hall and efforts to carry out a meat free Monday in student café were initiated. Other Events In addition to Freshers’ Week and Green Week events, Transition organised or contributed to a number of other events and initiatives throughout the project. Two talks from experts in their field were arranged by Transition for community members: Morag Watson from WWF Scotland talked about behavioural change in relation to climate change and shifting people’s values; and Kevin Dunion, outgoing Rector of St Andrews, presented about his own experience as an environmental activist. A range of other events and gatherings were incorporated into the work of the project over the past few months. A music festival called Kaleidoscope was attended by Transition and a taster of Carbon Conversations 30
was given to attendees. Transition talked at an event during the University’s Accommodation Week to discuss energy saving aspects of renting in St Andrews for students. Transition assisted in a Student Radio discussion relating to food and sustainability. Transition attended the People and Planet Sustainable Futures event and contributed with a talk on Transition Universities and youth participation in climate change talks. Transition University of St Andrews also attended and helped with Transition on Tour’s Energy Ambassador training as part of Climate Challenge Fund’s CASP work. Working alongside One World Society, the project promoted and helped with the screening of the Just Do It film. A PV Promotion event in St Andrews, Energy Saving Scotland was attended by Transition and promoted to the community. As outlined above, a very successful tree planting event with trees from the Woodland Trust was held at the end of the project with around 80 participants planting 420 trees in the community. A key series of events that the funded Transition project was central to was the Transition Open Forums that were organised to bring together the wider community and foster further Transition projects. These were held in September, October, November, December and in February. In addition an AGM for Transition was also held in March. There events were key in increasing participation with the project, forming a new steering group, initiating new Transition projects outside of the funded work and also submitting a further, successful, bid for future CCF funding. The project also supported a campaign for a local community windfarm in Kenly. Community members organised a campaign in support of this which Transition helped with and attended stalls and two events in relation to the turbines. Transition assisted and advised on a University wide environmental awareness scheme with the Estates Department. This launched in February and will be on-going after this funded Transition project ends. In order to make use of our social media presence competitions were organised looking to engage with our online community. Valentines Day promotions and competitions looking for the best Eco tip and photographs were carried out with winners receiving organic VegBags. In addition to the events that have been held Transition has also increased its presence via other means in an effort to increase engagement with our values and aims and create further meaningful behavioural change. Transition staff gave talks to various community members and gatherings to promote the work of the project and increase engagement. Talks were given at three staff inductions, five talks to classes, assisting in a lecture with carbon conversations discussion, a lecture to a Sustainable Development class, a talk on Transition’s work to Fife Environmental Partnership and a presentation to a Staff Council. A sustainability survey was carried out amongst the student and staff population of the community in an attempt to gather some baseline information and awareness of Transition initiatives. This should be able to serve as a means of reference for any future Transition projects. Transition added to an online induction that staff at the University of St Andrews undergo. This integration into Human Resources serves as important step in increasing the exposure of Transition’s work. 31
Media & Communications Website The Transition project spent a considerable amount of time developing and populating the project website (www.st-andrews.ac.uk/transition). As part of this the team were trained in basic web design skills and a student intern was recruited to work 8 hours a week maintaining and updating the website along with other communications tasks. This website has a blog section which was updated by guest bloggers and used to publicise our work. We used Google Analytics to track the website usage from November 14th 2011 – March 27th 2012. Overall the website had 4,379 unique visitors and 7,071 visits. This represents a 38.25% return rate. Of these visits, 57.69% of them were directly from the University of St Andrews network. This accounts for 4,080 individual visits.
There were 18,403 page views over this period, with the five most popular pages detailed in the following table: Page Views Home Page Local Holidaying – Christmas in St Andrews Local Holidaying – Christmas events St AndRe-Use forums St AndRe-Use main page
Avg. Time on Page
Unique Page Views 1,750 1,262
Online publicity The project has utilised various methods of publicity for events and individual projects. Namely the University of St Andrews Wednesday (for students) and Friday (for staff ) memos have been very useful. The University Events calendar has been used as well as a press release written for the 600 Trees for 600 Years event. The Christmas holiday project was featured on the University webpages over the Christmas break and we have had car-sharing feature on the Students’ Association webpage also. 32
An aspect of the website was that we had blogs updated on a weekly basis from people within Transition and guest bloggers. We had the following hits on our blog posts: Page
Blog homepage Common Cause Green Week is on its’ way Flying Home for the Holidays Transition Gets Funded (Redux) What the UN*FC
86 82 69 55 55 743
Unique Page Views 68 74 48 45 46 42
Avg. Time on Page 00:00:57 00:04:37 00:01:49 00:02:06 00:03:48 00:04:34
Social Networking The Transition website was built to be fully integrated with both Facebook and Twitter and we have been utilising these networks for the project. Facebook was a particular success this year with 248 people liking the page. There were 181 people talking about us with our weekly total reach at 5,617. Facebook has two analytics applications, so from 1st January 2012 – 27th March 2012 we had 1278 wall and timeline views and prior to the 1st January we had the following page views:
Our most ‘viral’ post on Facebook was photos of the 600 Trees for 600 Years tree planting event in March 2012 followed by Interhall Energy competition results. Twitter was also used extensively in the project and we now have 198 followers on this platform. Mailing list/Newsletters The Transition mailing list has 350 people on it currently. We have sent out 12 newsletters with open rates of between 5.32% - 13.25% per newsletter. Printed publicity We have had two articles published in the St Andrews in Focus magazine which is a community publication within the town. We have also had mentions in The Saint, which is a student newspaper run out of the Students’ Association. We have additionally taken out two advertisements in The Saint for carsharing and waste. 33
Finances & Administration A reliance on the University of St Andrews for much of the administration of the finances of the project existed. Staff contracts were put through the University Human Resources department and various consumables were also put through the University financial system under a Transition cost code. This arrangement led to some difficulties in the budgeting of Transitionâ€™s work. The relationship between Transition and the University for financial matters was a new one and had various communication problems manifest themselves. Transition had difficulties in obtaining project spend under the Transition cost code and in turn receiving an invoice for all project spend associated with the University. The knock-on effect of this was that claims to CCF were delayed. In addition, as the University were administrating a large portion of the overall budget this presented a lack of visibility over total project spend until very late in the project. This resulted in an underspent on the project. Transition did have its own bank account set up for purchases which it used once the system had been set up in July. This allowed items to be purchased when needed. A further unexpected outcome of using the University as a means of managing part of the budget was that a 20% VAT was added to all spend via the University. This was not included in the initial project and was not established until late in the project. Due to the lack of visibility in the budget, outlined above, this could have had serious consequences for Transitionâ€™s financial management. As things transpired, it only served to take up some of the underspend that the project had. Nevertheless, this was an unwelcome consequence of working with the University for financial matters. Overall, the project learned a lot about how future projects could be financially managed. The difficulties with using the University as a means of tracking project costs were recognised. The projectâ€™s Development Officer was extremely supportive through the outlined difficulties.
Press Clipping from the St Andrews Citizen.
Learning and reflection for transition as a whole: Over the course of the funded project, it is evident that Transition has carried out significant positive work within the community and that a tremendous amount has been achieved within the project initiatives. The carbon savings and other community benefits of the project have been outlined above. However, it is important to note that Transition did encounter many difficulties in getting mass engagement for many aspects of the project. Getting to know a community emerged as an essential aspect to a successful project. The funded aspect of the Transition project recognised the time the project had to fully engage with a large portion of the community members (students) was extremely short due to the project start and end times and student timetables. The academic term of universities and the one year funding model present difficulties, especially when staff start in June. A huge positive from the work carried out with CCF funding has been the spin-off Transition concepts that have occurred principally from the brining together of community members and visioning at Open Forum events. Through this type of event there have been three separate (from funded work) projects that have started. Keep Cups (reusable mugs), an art project and a LETS initiative have all been started directly because of Transition Open Forums. This both serves as a great legacy to the funded work and also a very positive look back on the benefit of having paid staff organising events that bring together interested individuals in the community. There is now also more inter-societal collaboration on events and dialogue this year as a result of these Open Forum projects and events organised by Transition - helping them all do what they do better. One aspect of the inevitable learning curve that Transition recognised was that establishing our position as not belonging to a support or academic department, or part of the Studentsâ€™ Association, has created some mild uncertainty over where exactly Transition University of St Andrews is placed in the community. The relative benefit of not belonging to any of these groups also brings some difficulties, and sound assertion of Transitionâ€™s role in relation to other bodies and organisations is needed. In relation to the functioning of CCF funded work, Transitionâ€™s line of command has not always been simple to establish. The importance of support structures in funded community projects was very clear throughout the project, and work has had to be continually carried out to ensure that they not only exist but are serving the correct functions. The development of these structures during this project will be helpful in ensuring success of the Transition University of St Andrews strand of St Andrews Communities Acting Together project over the 2012-15 funded period. A disproportionate amount of time may have been spent on administration of the project, specifically the budget for reasons outlined in the finance section. This is not the best use of staff time, when creating behaviour change is the ultimate aim of the project. Indeed, staff time is the best use of resources in achieving this goal. This is reflected in the additional work that the project interns allowed Transition to do. Ultimately, the project carried out a lot of very positive pieces of work and integrated itself into many aspects of the University community, as well as reaching out to new stakeholders in the University and town communities (evident in the new partnership for successful funding). Many of the expected outcomes were delivered in full and a great many unexpected ones were also achieved. However the success of our project should ultimately be measured through the eyes of the funded community, who have provided a few final reflections overleaf. 35
transition as a whole: Reflections from Community Members
Katherine Ellsworth-Krebs – Steering Group Coordinator 2011-12, Undergraduate Student ‘In just one short year Transition in St Andrews has grown to incorporate and engage a diverse group of students, staff and locals and rose from relative anonymity to create a community and network of support. While the Project Officers have fulfilled developing their own projects and leaving a legacy in this time, Transition has taken on a life of its own by creating a foundation for students and staff to pursue their own initiatives. An unprecedented amount has happened this year for raising awareness and starting practical sustainability projects which is due in no small part to the efforts of the Transition Project Officers and Steering Group.’ Alex Gnanapragasam – PhD student in Education for Sustainable Development ‘This year, the Transition project has been instrumental in building and strengthening links between students and staff at the University of St Andrews. Furthermore forging relationships between the University and wider community has enabled them to successfully win a joint 3-year Climate Challenge Fund bid. All who have been involved with the Transition project, from tree-planting to skill-sharing and running Carbon Conversations among other things should be very proud of their achievements!’ Shona Russell – Lecturer in Management ‘As we learned from Transition in the little room in the Bute Building, there are many ways to take action whether that’s in gardens and kitchens and on buses and bikes. These actions might occur in St Andrews and elsewhere as we each connect past experiences with future possibilities – to reduce emissions and grow the Transition St Andrews community. We have no doubt that the future of Transition St Andrews will be successful following the tremendous achievements of the first Transition project.’
Press Clipping from St Andrews InFocus. 37
Press Clipping from St Andrews InFocus.
Plan of the University Community Garden.
Press Clipping from The Saint (Student Newspaper). 40
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