The new Green O’ Camps are the new black

Summer is over and it's time to hit the books again. In a flashback to last August, O’ Camps have brought joy to new students. However, in a survey of university students who attended orientation camps, more than 90 per cent of the interviewees said they had seen resources go to waste. Though the situation of squandering resources is generally improving, more can be done. To address this, HKUST Sustainability Unit and the Student Affairs Office (SAO) launched the Green O’ Camp Project 2016 to promote sustainability among student societies and encourage societies step forward to hold their activities in a sustainable manner.

With the yearly theme of “Engaging minds for the future,” O’ Camp organizers and participants were invited to share their green ideas and act green. 39 HKUST student societies signed up for the project this year to compete for the Green O’ Camp Award. Among all, Environment Students' Society, AIESEC in HKUST, Comics and Animation Society, Biochemistry and Biotechnology Students' Society, Electronic & Computer Engineering Society,  and Chemistry Students' Society won the prizes for their outstanding works. A great round of applause is given to other societies for their green efforts; we totally appreciate them. Some of their great initiatives included designing games with themes about the ecosystem and using waste paper recycled materials, finding innovative ways to encourage freshmen to switch off lights and air-conditioning before leaving their rooms, having mass game activities instead of individual room activities to save energy, and sharing usable materials with other societies.

Apart from that, the Surplus Material Recycling Activity 2016 also received motivating results. Supported by Student Housing & Residential Life Office, UST Connect Program and SAO, HKUST Sustainability Unit held a Surplus Materials Recycling activity to recapture brand new and usable O’ Camps’ souvenirs and bring them to a new home with aims in reducing wastes during O’ Camps and bringing positive impact to society. By placing collection boxes in hall lobbies and student common rooms during the O’ Camp period, students, especially freshmen were encouraged to give away any unwanted souvenirs from gift packs such as packaged food, bathing items and stationeries which were donated to charity and Connect program overseas service learning trips for those in need. This year, over 1,326 items of packaged food, stationeries, souvenirs, O' Camp tees, together with 300 kg of recyclable paper materials were received for donation and recycling. Through these activities, we would like to encourage the HKUST communities, especially freshmen to adapt sustainability concepts and practices, as they are going to begin the journey of the next four years at HKUST

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