Wolfson S&C Stories

Growing a Greener Community

Plant sale in the Club Room 03/03/2020

Room plant sale in the Club Room 03/03/2020

Room plant sale in the Club Room 03/03/2020

On this page are a collection of Wolfson S&C Stories on the theme...

Growing a Greener Community

Read this themes spotlight on
Mr Alain Kilajian

Alain and the Green Impact team with their awards (2017)

Community Project - Ms Millie Race (student)

Millie is a current Wolfson student (2021) studying for a PhD in Developmental Biology, and currently leads the Wolfson College Student Garden.

Set up in 2018 by Mathilde Foged Jensen, with help from students Else Ellerman, Georgia Neale and the President's husband Chris Clarke, Millie is the third person to lead the Wolfson Student Garden, having taken over from Else Ellerman. Thanks to Millie and her team of keen student gardeners, we are now into our third growing season, with students enjoying the rewards of labour in the form of rhubarb, onions, lettuce, and more.

A word from Millie: "Having a space to grow our own vegetables, fruit, and herbs is so important to students’ wellbeing, and encourages eating seasonal food. It also allows students to be in touch with nature and our local environment, which is so important for staying grounded, especially during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic."

As well as providing fresh produce and an excuse to get outside, the student garden has also acted as a community for like-minded people from a variety of backgrounds, with shared interests in gardening and nature. This year, Millie has worked on completing various projects - from building an Insect Hotel in the back of college (see picture at bottom), to buying a wildlife camera to document the animals that are in the Wolfson garden, which as it turns out, includes muntjac deer:   

A deer in the Wolfson Student Garden 29/06/2021

A deer in the Wolfson Student Garden 29/06/2021

Furthermore, the Student Garden and Wolfson's amazing gardening team (led by Head Gardener Oscar Holgate) are currently working on becoming a hedgehog-friendly campus, as well as becoming totally organic and peat-free. The Student Garden is a place for students to learn about gardening, make friendships, and work on green projects that may not directly link to their studies.

It is hoped that the Insect Hotel will encourage a wider variety of insects and wildlife into college grounds. And by documenting the wildlife in our gardens across the site, we can be more aware of what is there, and how best to encourage more biodiversity.

Millie’s hope is that students will take what they have learnt in the Student Garden and use that to grow their own food in gardens wherever they go after Wolfson.

Updated: July 2021

Waste to Art - Mr Santiago Sottil (student)

Santiago’s Waste to Art project consists of a series of three still lifes, in the style of the 'old masters', created with leftover food collected from the plates of customers at Wolfson’s cafeteria.

Santiago’s goal was to raise awareness of food waste, starting with our own plates, by spotlighting a major global issue: according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), one third of food produced for human consumption is wasted. In the UK, it is associated with annual losses of £19 billion and more than 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (WRAP, 2020).

Santiago’s project was also the first Wolfson Living Lab project and becoming the first recipient of the new Wolfson Living Lab Award, funded by Wolfson Emeritus Fellow Dr Steve Hoath. Pictured below, Steve Hoath presents Santiago with his award in the Wolfson gardens:

Updated: July 2021

Sustainable Development in Kenya - Mr Reinhard Nyandire (student)

Reinhard has been at the forefront of advocating for sustainable development in Kenya. Most notably, playing a significant role in the Save Nairobi National Park movement, which had its fair share of challenges and successes.

On pondering how to spearhead conservation with a central focus on people, communities and economic growth - and wondering why most conservation campaigns tend to be knee-jerk reactions to decisions already made - Reinhard applied for the MPhil in Conservation Leadership. This brought him to Wolfson, where Reinhard was elected the WCSA Green & Campaigns Officer 2020-2021, following Charlie Barty-King. Reinhard has just successfully completed his degree (2021), and found the structure he was searching for in becoming a young and upcoming advocate for sustainable development.

As the founder of African Sustainability Network (www.africansustainabilitynetwork.org), and spotlighted by the University of Cambridge for his work before arriving at Wolfson, Reinhard is one to watch for the future of conservation and local community power.

Updated: July 2021

Wolfson transition to re-useable water bottles and keep cups, as opposed to plastic - Mr Ben Fraser (alumnus)

Ben was WCSA Green & Campaigns Officer 2017/18, following Alain Kilajian.  During his time, Ben worked with the Domestic Bursar to introduce Wolfson branded water bottles and keep cups - promoting these around college, and removing plastic cups from the water fountains to great success. Ben's Wolfson keep cups and water bottles are now a must-have item for staff and students to this day.

In addition to supporting other Green Officers in running numerous Green Weeks, including a Green Formal Hall and continuing college participation in the Green Impact Challenge, Ben was able to support the College and housekeeping team to streamline the compost bin system in all residential kitchens, reducing student food waste site wide.

Ben’s work helped move Wolfson in the sustainable direction that it wants to be heading, whilst resulting in less waste within college and increased ‘green’ engagement from Wolfson staff and students, continuing the stepping stones needed for future WCSA Green Officers to grow and build.

Updated: July 2021

Growing a Greener Community (community/grassroots organisation)

Annual Energy Conference
Manuel is President of Cambridge University Energy Network (CUEN), and studying for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Wolfson College.

 The conference is one of the most prominent energy events across the entire Cambridge ecosystem, bringing together leading energy professionals, key influencers, faculty, and students from different universities across the world passionate about the energy sector.

One of Manuel’s professional motivations is to become a leader in providing capital to develop renewable energy assets in developing economies. Manuel firmly believe that access to clean and affordable energy could help to reduce the breach of opportunities in underserved communities, along with reducing carbon emissions. With this in mind, he really wanted to share his network and learn more about what is happening in the energy sector from first-hand experience.

CUEN encompasses the entire Cambridge ecosystem, including faculties related to the energy sector, and also colleges. Manuel and his Team gathered together more than 30 speakers, with impressive careers in the energy sector, across many geographies who are working from different angles to reach a net-zero economy.

 Manuel’s aim is to:

·        spread the voice and knowledge of what is currently happening in the energy sector towards a net-zero economy across the world.

·        Share knowledge, experiences, and take aways from different areas in the energy sector to both the professional and academical settings.

·        Increase awareness of the current strategies and the work still pending to transition to a Net-zero economy by 2050.

Updated: July 2021

Go back to the S&C Stories homepage

Sustainability and Conservation Hub
@ Wolfson

The Wolfson College Sustainability & Conservation Interdisciplinary Research Hub brings together our international Fellows, students and others to inform and educate, to improve our understanding, and generate impactful solutions to fight the destruction of the natural world.

Share this webpage with anyone who might have a S&C story to share (keep scrolling for form), or click the Facebook or Twitter buttons in the header, or share the form directly: https://wolfsoncollegecam.wufoo.com/forms/zmhj1hp1wn4iw4/

See our latest events and activities on our Hub website, and join our group on Wolfson Connect (available for all alumni and members) for updates.

gardens at Wolfson

If you would like to see your journey represented...

Fill out my online form.

Contact Us

Privacy and Cookies

Copyright 2018 Wolfson College, Barton Road, Cambridge CB3 9BB Tel: +44 (0)1223 335900 | Registered Charity Number 1138143 | VAT Registration Number 195 8858 32