Category Archives: Awareness campaign

GreenSTEMS at the launch of Road Safety Week 2015!

As students and researchers we all dedicate some time in our everyday lives to about how we’re going to get to and from the university. Maybe we’re concerned about the time of the day (Will be there be traffic on the way? Will I need to put on the lights? What time is the bus coming at?), the weather conditions, and so on. We were thinking the same things at greenSTEMS and two weeks ago we were invited by Brake to the launch of  the 2015 edition of ROAD SAFETY WEEK!


Together with the York Cycling Club we met up with representatives from Brake, a road safety charity, to support their “Drive Less Live More” initiative. We love the sustainability angle on alternative means of transport, and were blown away by the stats presented in Brake‘s press release. It was stated that driving can have devastating health effects, with an estimation of more than 52,000 deaths related to air pollution and an average of 5 deaths and 64 accidents daily on the road in the Yorkshire and the Humber region! This campaign is asking people to consider other methods of transport like biking and taking the bus, while emphasising safety.

On Monday 23rd November greenSTEMS co-chairs Maria M. Razalan and Jen Chapman, along with sustainable transport enthusiast and greenSTEMS member, Richard Randle-Boggis, met up with the representatives from Brake, UYCC bikers, and York bus companies (seen in picture above) to support this important awareness campaign.


The unique opportunity brought together bus drivers and cyclists. To really understand each other they even swapped places! We put the cyclist in the bus drivers seat and vice versa. Do you know where the bus diver can see you on your bike? Learn more about road safety week here. We are so thrilled to share our experience and help us built a more sustainable and safer York!



Launch of greenSTEMS Reusable Mug campaign

More often than not, it is much easier to buy a hot beverage for the journey in a disposable container in today’s fast paced environment. You can take your coffee on your walk to work or school. You can take your coffee into the office, the classroom, study area, etc. but at what cost?

How many cups are disposed of each year, month, week, or even day? Too many! While they are made most frequently of paper and plastic, what is the energy expenditure needed to recycle these millions of cups?


While it is also easy to buy a canteen to carry around and fill at different coffee shops they can be bulky or easily forgotten in the rush to get going out the door in the morning. Having a reusable hot beverage container which is endorsed by stores and organizations will give extra meaning and increased remembrance for students and staff to bring their own container.

The portable reusable cups suggested are eco-certified and suitable for lighter travel and a cup on the go. Campaigns like this have taken off in North America and at a number of other Universities. If anything this will set a precedent for other UK Universities as students seek institutions with a higher environmental responsibility, thus improving the University image.

Recently at the University of York, this reusable mug campaign has been underway in order to reduce the amount of waste accumulated by disposable containers. The most recent efforts include a market survey in order to raise awareness to students, faculty, and staff of the campaign. So far we surveyed 292 members from the University through a series of questions based on their habits about drinking hot beverages. Here are some of the results:

survey graphical

The majority of those surveyed believe the cost of repurchasing disposable mugs is moderate, the amount of waste created by disposable mugs is significant, the cost of disposing waste is somewhat significant, and the overall carbon footprint because of disposable mugs is somewhat significant.

With this marketing survey well on the way, GreenSTEMS’ hot mug scheme has been conferring with members of the University to find a collaborative alternative to disposable mugs. As we work towards our goal we will have opportunities for others to get involved in which case you can contact GreenSTEMS or Heather Tanner (campaign leader) at ht752[at ] Skills you may learn are marketing, fundraising, problem solving, advertisement, etc.

– contributed by Heather Tanner