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From mental health to environmental awareness

Friday 30 April 2021 12:13pm

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The event is always an important one but this year was slightly different to previous years.

Full to the brim with exciting events and key messages is exactly what Sustainability Week 2021 had in store.

Recently the Sustainability Office made it their mantra to cover every area of sustainability they could. From mental health to environmental awareness, the week was full of ideas on how to make student living healthier in every way.

Sustainability Office Engagement Coordinator Jesikah Triscott says the event is always an important one but this year was slightly different to previous years.

“We saw this as an opportunity to challenge traditional perspectives on sustainability. It broke away from only environmental challenges and captured elements of social, political and economic sustainability too – celebrating local legends along the way.”

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The Pre-Loved Bike Grab was one popular event which was launched as a standalone event in 2020.

The week kicked off with Mindful Campus where food on offer at campus cafes had vegetarian and vegan options on offer to encourage understanding plant-based diets. This was followed by Otago alumni Tasty Twins as they launched their mini e-book. As the week progressed, there were events for recruiting volunteers and Sussed Street Market featuring student side hustles and sustainable alternatives.

The Pre-Loved Bike Grab was one popular event which was launched as a standalone event in 2020. The bikes, some which were still in new condition when abandoned, were re-vamped by Carrington College and then sold off at the event for a pay-what-you-can donation towards Malcam Trust. The event saw students walking away with a greener mode of transport and ecstatic with the deal.

Another popular event for the week was the Planet D Drag Show. The show was an opportunity to promote good health, well-being, gender equality and reduced inequalities. Planet D saw local performers mix with burlesque and drag performers from Queenstown and Wellington.

Student Anabelle Skinner Evers says the show was a particular highlight and for herself and many others.

"Planet D was an unforgettable night. The energy and atmosphere was second to none. For many of the attendees, watching a drag show was a first-time thing. The show radiated the importance of diversity and acceptance in our community. It has left everyone keen to do more for our LGBTQ+ whānau.”

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Planet D saw local performers mix with burlesque and drag performers from Queenstown and Wellington.

Fluro Friday was an early morning event in collaboration with Silverline and OneWave. Over 40 students turned up in their fluro clothing to catch the bus out to St Kilda, participate in mindfulness exercises, watch the sunrise, swim and enjoy the classic breakfast staple; peanut butter on toast. Hannah Zwalue, a student lead at the Sustainability Office, says this event was one she enjoyed.

“It was a super special opportunity to meet new people, have some chats about ‘challenging the struggle’ and get a swim in, topped off with Bay Road toast goodness. And all before 8.30am!”

Finally, students took a trip to the Sustainability Neighbourhood for an open day where having a barbeque and understanding how houses can be more environmentally friendly was the focus.

The week was a huge success which saw students engaging in different ways to embrace eating well, looking after their mental health, embracing minority groups and looking after the planet. With an estimated turnout of over 500 students, 2021 is already shaping up to be an even more sustainable year for the Dunedin Campus.

Sustainability Week is an annual event which will return next year. For now more ideas on how to live sustainably as well as further events can be found at the Otago Sustainability Office. You can also listen in to the student run, Sustainability Sussed podcast.