Friends of the Earth (HK) promotes ‘Green! O Camp’ with college students to reduce waste
(29 Jul 2014, Press release) A survey conducted by Friends of the Earth (HK) (FoE (HK)) discovers that wastage is common among Orientation Camps (O-Camps) of tertiary education institutes. More than 90 percent of the interviewees experienced wastage of resources during O-Camps, with excessive souvenirs or promotional products and water wastage being the most serious problems. Summer being the peak time for O-Camps, FoE (HK) has launched Project Green! O Camp in July, to focus on the wastage problems and actively promote green activities in O-Camps together with over 20 students from nine tertiary education institutes. ‘Green! O-Camp Kick-off Ceremony’ was held today with the participation of many O-Camp organizing committees, who together pledged for the reduction of wastage in O-Camps.
The survey was conducted between 3rd to 26th July via online platforms and interviews at university campuses. Over 90 percent of the 463 respondents reckoned the non-environmentally friendly practices in O-Camps, including excessive souvenirs or promotional products (65%), water wastage (65%) and food wastage (51 %). Nearly half of the respondents agreed that the souvenirs given during O-Camps were not practical. Besides, the survey showed that organizers have low environmental awareness – only 2 percent of the participants can assure that their organizers had recycled all unwanted materials; 41 percent pointed out the O-Camp organizers did not conduct any recycling.
Almost all respondents support environmentally-friendly practices. Of the total, 99 percent agreed that O-Camps should incorporate more green elements. 79 percent said that they brought their own water bottle during camp and 80 percent of the respondents were willing to give up the popular ‘water battle’ in order to save water. FoE(HK) wishes this survey result can convince O-Camp organizers that most of the participants are supportive of green actions in O-Camps, and give them confidence in bringing environmentally friendly changes in their organizational and planning structures.
‘Nowadays, most of the university students are concerned about the society. They have a strong of sense of conserving the environment. However, it is usually due to group effect that the behavior of wasting in O-Camps has become common’, says Senior Community Education Manager of FoE (HK), Vivien Cheng Yu-wai. ‘When students are having fun in O-Camp, nobody feels free to suggest recycling as they do not want to be called “old-fashioned”. Also, to most students, the “quantity” of sponsored souvenirs is superior to the “quality” or practicality. Many of the interviewed students stated that they would immediately throw away the given souvenirs right after the camp.’
Being aware of the problem of common wastage in O-Camps, FoE(HK) hopes to launch ProjectGreen! O Camp, this summer to raise eco-awareness in O-Camp. More than 20 student representatives from nine local tertiary institutions formed a working committee and promised to be a path-maker, by helping to persuade O-Camp groups in their respective universities to join the project. O-Camp groups from various local universities were invited to participate. Participating groups pledged to fulfill at least 3 out of the designated 15 green actions, including waste no food, reduce wastage, reducing carbon footprints and save water. By joining the Green! O-Camp Competition, O-Camp holders are also welcome to implement creative environmental protection elements in their respective camps. The five best teams would be awarded a HK$3,000 sponsorship for holding future green activities.
Ken Yiu Leung-yu, a Year 1 BBA student at the University of Hong Kong, is the president of the working committee of ProjectGreen! O Camp. He believes that the old traditions need to be sacrificed in order to protect the environment, but it will be worth it. This is the first time he will organize the O-camp for his society. Yiu says, ‘I will consider elements of environmental protection during preparation. Apart from avoiding pollutions to the environment, I would also strike a balance between leisure and environmental protection while designing activities.’
Anthony Sze Kam-ming, a Year 2 Accounting student from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, organized a green O-Camp last year. Not only did the camp provide vegetarian meals, but also zero food waste was reached. The strategy was to provide food with long shelf life, such as bread, and to encourage participants to finish all fresh food before having the bread if necessary. For activities, he designed some no-prop games and recommended participants to allow them to get in touch with nature, which would become an unforgettable experience for the campers.
Project Green! O Camp welcomes all O-Camp organizers from all tertiary institutions to join. The enrollment deadline is 15th September. For details, please go to www.foe.org.hk/goc. Tips for organizing a green O-Camp are also available on the website.
Green! O Camp Kick-off Ceremony was co-organized by Friends of the Earth (HK) and the Department of Management & Marketing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
15 suggestions for Green! O Camp actions：
Waste No Food
¨ 1. Order right amount of food
¨ 2. Clear your plate or pack away surplus (no food wastage)
¨ 3. Respect food and no food-wasting game
¨ 4. Always use reusable water bottles OR/AND cutlery
¨ 5. Say NO to stereo form and tetra pak (non-recyclable packages)
¨ 6. Minimize paper use
¨ 7. Green souvenirs as priority or even no souvenir
¨ 8. Recycle, as possible as I can
¨ 9. Reuse or donate surplus materials
Reduce Carbon footprints
¨ 10. Switch off power when not in use
¨ 11. Reduce traveling footprint
¨ 12. At least one ‘veg-day’ during the camp
¨ 13. Low carbon diet as priority, no beef
¨ 14. No water fight
¨ 15. Control shower time
Friends of the Earth (HK) – Survey on Wastage Problem in University O Camps
Survey period: 3 July –26 July 2014
Methodology: Mainly by questionnaire collection through online platform. Link was sent out through volunteer network, social media platform and university students' associations. Surveyors also conducted interviews at university campuses for two times to collect questionnaires. A total of 463 completed questionnaires were collected. All of the respondents are either undergraduates or graduates of tertiary institutions who have participated in orientation camps.
Data of Survey Results:
Did you experience any wastage of resources when you participated in orientation camp (o camp)?
No. of responses
Did you encounter the following problems when you were participating in o camp? Please choose accordingly.
Use non-reusable utensils
Excess souvenir or promotion leaflet
Based on your previous experience in o camp, did the organizers recycle the waste they produced?
Number of response
Not at all
Some but not all
The souvenirs distributed in o camp are...
Not quite useful
(Which of the following souvenirs do you think is unnecessary? (Can choose more than one)
TEE Camp TEE
In the past o camp, …
I used my own bottle
I used non-reusable/ plastic bottles
Do you agree to incorporate more green elements into o camps?
Which of the following would you like to improve the most?
% of respondents chose as first priority
Chosen by most respondents -1st
Excess souvenir or promotion leaflet (27%)
Wasting food (26%)
Wasting water (25%)
Wasting paper (17%)
Wasting energy (15%)
Are you willing to replace water games with alternative games in order to preserve water?
No. of response
If the camp site only provides non-reusable utensils, would you bring your own utensils to produce less waste?
No. of response
When did you last participate in an o camp?
2-3 years ago
4-5 years ago
5 or more years ago
You are currently...
Studying in universities or colleges
A fresh graduate student
A graduate student
Project Green! O Camp invite all O-camp organizers to participate and promise to reduce food waste, water waste, carbon or any other waste together.
Dr. Vivian Wong, Chairman of Board of Directors of FoE(HK) delivered a speech to encourage young people to join Project Green! O Camp and protect Hong Kong Environment.
Elvis Au, Acting Deputy Director of Environmental Protection, JP believed Green! O Camp can raise the environmental awareness of young people in Hong Kong.
Stanley Cheung, TOYP Awardee and Membership of Commission on Youth thought Hong Kong young people should care about environmental issues in Hong Kong.
Vivien Cheng, Senior Community Education Manager of FoE(HK) shared Zero Waste O-Camp green tips.
Join Project Green! O Camp, the best five O-Camp organizing teams would be awarded $3,000 sponsorship.