Yesterday the Scottish Government announced that Transition, in partnership with St AndEn, had been funded for a new bid to the Climate Challenge Fund! It’s a three year project that we are all very excited to get started on — but first a bit of recollection from Transition’s current and future coordinators: Katherine Ellsworth-Krebs and Joshua Miska respectively. Check out more information from the Scottish Government’s announcement at: Climate Change Fund Announcement
It is absolutely amazing to see how much Transition has grown in St Andrews over the past 2 years. At the beginning of the last academic year, Transition was a small contingent of One World. After an unsuccessful bid the year before, most students had graduated and we had to start a new. Luckily we had a keen group of students and lot of support from academic staff and Estates, without whom we would never have gotten where we have today.
Last year, most of our efforts were focused on reworking and writing a new bid to the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund. That took a considerable amount of time and energy so we were unable to organise events outside of this. We were delighted to find out in March that our efforts were rewarded with £90,000 to run our project this year. And that of course meant more work; finding an office, going through the recruitment process, sorting out a governance strategy… but by May we had three full-time staff members working to turn our ideas into reality.
Our Project Officers have done a grand job. Developing a beautiful website, facebook, and twitter, and supporting a cornucopia of green societies and initiatives around St Andrews. Each brings their own enthusiasm and expertise to the group, which has led to a boom in ‘green’ things happening in St Andrews; Skillshares, cooking classes, eco-printing, multiple community gardens, Carbon Conversations and so many more projects have taken root and will continue on after our Project Officers leave us at the end of this month.
Our monthly Open Forums have also been a huge success. The Steering Group, not the Project Officers, have organised these to bring in new ideas and support other projects that are happening in St Andrews. For example, out of the October Open Forum emerged ideas and a working group for the most recent bid, the Giftshare, and an interactive art project was developed. Not only has Transition focused on grassroots change in the past year we have also been engaging University management on issues of sustainability. At our last Open Forum we were delighted to have both the President of the Students’ Association and the Principal come speakabout sustainability at the University.
It has been a whirlwind year and Transition is just going to keep getting bigger and better. Transition St Andrews has been successfully funded for another three years! Meaning there will be dedicated staff to make sure new projects have the support they need. This round of funding was done jointly with locals as well so now the University community can more easily branch out to the wider community. We also have a new cohort of keen individuals on the Steering Group! Our AGM last week saw an overwhelming, and surprising, level of interest and I am so excited to see all the enthusiasm and hope for the future!
First of all, I’m very honoured to have been chosen as the new Transition Co-ordinator by the all those who attended the AGM last Tuesday. I’d been hovering on the fringes of the Transition movement here at the university since the bid-writing began in early 2011, being far too busy helping to run OneWorld’s food co-op, the University Community Garden and a whole range of other lesser initiatives in a similar vein. When Transition’s AGM was first mentioned to me I didn’t even consider joining let alone running for the position of co-ordinator: I didn’t have enough time. But then the idea grew on me and I realised that the initiatives I helped to get off the ground had grown beyond me. People involved with the garden and the food co-op were taking over leadership roles and taking the responsibilities off my shoulders.
This freed me up to start thinking seriously about joining the steering group and encouraged me to think about why I’d want to do it. I realised that what Transition really needed was to continue its fantastic efforts and keep its own initiatives moving but also to broaden its appeal and reach out to all of the other great things going on in the university.
That’s where we, the Transition Steering group will be directing our efforts over the coming year: firstly keeping the funded projects going with the help of the paid staff and secondly reaching out to all of the environmental and not-so-environmental groups in the university and bringing them together to build a resilient, forward-looking community. The “transition” into Transition’s second phase has begun: we’ve got a strong roots, let’s grow from here!