Make Your Mark

Aim

Students at Reading have a better experience and can feel proud as a result of improved sustainable awareness alongside the university investing ethically and sustainably.

Outcomes

  1. The university and union change their buildings/ processes to become more sustainable so that they become more efficient and the money saved in the long term can be invested into students.
  2. The university and union provide more opportunities for students to be sustainable so that students can actively make changes.

Progress

  • RUSU's Changes

    We have had a review carried out of the RUSU building on how we can be more sustainable and have suggested times for implementing the recommendations.

    A new subcommittee of the RUSU Trustee Board has been created with the environment at its heart. This group will meet monthly to discuss how RUSU can become more environmentally sustainable.

    We will shortly be launching out first ever Environment & Ethics Network. Keep an eye on our Student Networks page to find out when it will be.

  • Refillables

    Maya’s Refillables is creating a click and collect service for campus. More info later! Eat at the Square and Park Bar have a range of products for you to switch to a more sustainable option, or you can refill your own containers.

  • Tips guide

    A student friendly tips guide has been made so students know what changes they can make.

  • Fossil Free Win

    The university have committed to completely divest from the fossil fuel industry! It has been a long time coming… you can find out the journey RUSU’s Officers have been on to achieve this here.

  • Affiliation to Electronics Watch

    After months of lobbying the university have affiliated to Electronics Watch. This means that the university will be protecting the rights of workers in their electronics supply chains.

We need to make sure sustainability is on RUSU’s agenda, the University’s agenda, and the student agenda.

So far Molli has worked closely with the Sustainability team to ensure maximum impact across campus. Keep an eye out here for the progress.

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.

Tips

Knowing how to be more sustainable can sometimes be overwhelming. Molli has put together this handy tips guide to help you know where to start!

Divestment

As part of the campaign Molli has been lobbying to get the University to fully divest from fossil fuels. Officers have been lobbing the university to divest for 5 years. Check out our People and Planet’s scorecard to see Reading’s current investments.

The university have committed to fully divest from fossil fuels! Find out about the commitment and the journey RUSU Officers have been on.

NUS also used this as an example case study for other unions wanting to lobby their university to divest.

What has happened this year?

Molli has been meeting with the VC to check on the progress of this project, which was started a few years ago as part of the Fossil Free campaign. See their letters here:

Zeid has been on the panel to shortlist, interview and appoint a new Investments Manager at the university.

Ethical Technology Sourcing

After months of lobbying the university have affiliated to Electronics Watch. This means that the university will be protecting the rights of workers in their electronics supply chains. Molli wrote an article to tell you more!

November/December challenge - No New Clothes

This month Molli has challenged herself and the other officers to not buy any new clothes. They can buy from charity shops but nothing new. The aim is to raise awareness for fast fashion and the impact this can have on the environment.

Do you think you can take on the challenge too? You could try shopping at a charity shop instead of buying new – check out some around Reading’s on our map.

January Challenge - Veggie Pledge/Veganuary

For the month of January (or as long as you can!) our officers are challenging themselves, and you, to eat more sustainably. Often cutting out meat, reducing your meat consumption, or even eating meat which is more locally sourced, can have a huge positive impact on the environment. So can you do it too?

Check out our Veganuary menu in Mojos to taste some yummy vegan food!

Find out why eating less meat is sustainable

We also have some recipes here to get you started (all based off takeaway/fast food meals – yum!). All recipes are vegetarian, but could also be made vegan easily! They also all work using meat- if you choose meat, make sure you buy locally-sourced British meat rather than factory farmed. This supports family businesses and massively reduces the carbon footprint of your meal.

All recipes serve two people.

Vegan fried chicken

Vegan option, gluten-free option

  1. On a medium heat, heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and fry a packet of fake chicken for 10 minutes until warm through- my favourite brands are “THIS”, or Iceland’s “No Chick”.
  2. Set up three bowls- one with flour, one with egg mix (you could use British free-range eggs, or a vegan egg-substitute), and one with breadcrumbs. Substitute the flour and breadcrumbs for gluten-free versions if you like.
  3. Dip each piece of chicken in the flour, then egg mix, then breadcrumbs.
  4. Deep fry! I did this using about 2 inches of sunflower oil in a saucepan because I don’t have a deep-fat fryer. Once the oil is hot (test it with a small piece), tip the pieces in and rotate them occasionally with tongs until they are browned (about 4 minutes). You may have to do a couple of batches.
  5. Let them sit on kitchen roll for a minute to absorb extra oil, then serve with chips/salad/spicy ketchup/ etc!
Sloppy joes

Vegan option, gluten-free option

  1. On a medium heat, heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan. Fry two diced onions and a packet Quorn mince (but you could use a vegan mince, or locally-sourced British beef mince) until both are soft.
  2. Add a tin of kidney beans, a jar of passata, and a heaped teaspoon of chilli powder.When the beans are heated through, check the taste and add salt, pepper, or other spices if you like.
  3. Spoon the chilli mix onto a burger bun- you could layer on top fried halloumi (or vegan alternative), roasted peppers, or Quorn “bacon”
Fake Nandos

Vegan option, gluten-free option

  1. Defrost four Quorn fillets in the fridge overnight. In the morning, pour over half a bottle of Peri-Peri sauce (the real deal, or a cheaper supermarket alternative is fine). By dinner-time the flavour will be soaked in.
  2. Place the Quorn fillets on a baking tray and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes until hot in the middle.
  3. Serve with home-made versions of your favourite sides- I like halloumi and chips, but you could also do mash, salad, corn on the cob…
Bang Bang Cauliflower

Vegan option, gluten-free option

  1. In a bowl, make a batter: whisk together 1/2 cup gluten-free self-raising flour and 1/2 cup milk or plant-based milk
  2. Chop up half a head of cauliflower into 1-2 inch chunks and stir them into the batter to lightly coat them
  3. Deep fry! I did this using about 2 inches of sunflower oil in a saucepan because I don’t have a deep-fat fryer. Once the oil is hot (test it with a small piece), place the pieces in and rotate them occasionally with tongs until they are browned (about 4 minutes). You may have to do a couple of batches.
  4. Let the cauliflower rest on some kitchen roll (to absorb oil) whilst you make the sauce. Try your best not to eat all the cauliflower at this stage, cos it tastes yummy just like this…
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan, then fry 2 tsp chopped garlic. After a couple of mins, add 1/3 cup of a cup (gluten-free) soy sauce, 2 tbsp water, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp siracha. Leave to bubble for a couple of mins
  6. Mix 1 tbsp corn flour with 2 tbsp cold water in a little bowl. Add this mixture to the pan and stir immediately- this thickens up the sauce and makes it sticky.
  7. Chuck the battered cauliflower in the pan, stir it into the sauce to coat.
  8. Serve with rice and sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Voilà!

Vegan option, gluten-free option

  1. Cook come oven chips
  2. Cook some beans (baked beans? BBQ beans? It’s up to you!)

Done… it’s that easy (and you get your carbs, protein and one of your five-a-day)!

Sometimes people worry that eating less meat means less variety – wrong! Have a look some of these for some different ideas.

March Challenge - Think Before You Print

Printing is easy to do, we get that, but it’s not helping our planet! This month we are challenging you to Think Before You Print! Do you really need to print that article? Can you read your draft essay and annotate it on your screen?

The March initiative didn’t quite go to plan because lots of people began to work from home (including us!) because of COVID19 but we still managed to cover 6 buildings on the Whiteknights campus and the whole of London Road campus.

Think before you print sticker, with a graphic of a tree beneath it
You may notice these popping up on printers near you!

April challenge

For April we are challenging you to be more sustainable at home. We are all spending a lot of time there at the moment but that gives us plenty of time to make small changes so they come naturally when we are back to normal!

See how many things you can check off on this list.

Events

  • Nov
    18

    Green Menu

    Mojos Bar, Reading University Students' Union
  • Nov
    21

    Sustainability workshop

    Monterey Lounge, Reading University Students' Union

    Drop in to get involved with interactive activities looking at how we can be more sustainable.

  • Nov
    21

    Quiz & Karaoke

    Mojos bar, Reading University Students' Union

    Test your sustainability knowledge in this week’s quiz!

  • Nov
    21

    Smoothie bike

    Front of RUSU

    Want to find out more about the campaign and make a pledge to be more sustainable? Come along and get your free smoothie!

Videos

Sustainability Top Tips

Where did the idea come from?

Climate change is a huge issue, as we know, so it’s only right that we do our bit. While we are doing a lot at Reading already and are experts on climate change research, it’s clear we can do more.

  • We are 28th on the People and Planet University League which shows specific areas we can improve on are: ethical investment, education and engagement.
  • 96% of students agree that campus should be more sustainable (272 responses on an Instagram poll)
  • Testimonies from students gave specific suggestions for improvement as well as saying a more sustainable campus would make them feel more proud to be a student at Reading and confident that they know where their money is being spent.
  • The University Environmental Report 2017/18 shows a lot of positive results but still suggests areas for improvement
  • In spring 2019, a Change It! campaign idea passed with 202 votes for RUSU to support environmentally friendly products’
RUSU President 2020/21 Rachel Osborne

President
Rachel Osborne