Campus Health and Safety
September 2015
Greening the O' Camps!
"Welcome to UST - Growing a Vibrant Community Together!"
O' Camps are full of fun and joy. However, according to a survey conducted by Friends of the Earth (FOE) last year, more than 90 percent of the interviewees noticed a significant amount of waste was generated during the O' Camp period. To address this, HKUST has partnered with FOE for the second year to facilitate the Green! O Camp Project to encourage student societies to follow suggested green actions to increase recycling and reduce waste.
The activity theme for 2015 was "Green Bottle O Camp" which asked organizers to refill their own water bottles to reduce bottled water consumption. Seven HKUST student societies signed up for the project this year to compete with other societies in Hong Kong. HKUST societies included Endeavour, House V Students' Association, Drama Society, the Band Society, Yo-hoo Club, the University Choir, as well as Nature Club and EVSS – the winners of the gold and silver awards last summer. All competing teams have submitted their checklists to FOE, and the winners will be announced in October.  
Even with the effort to reduce waste in the O' Camps, it will still inevitably result in a pile of perfectly good and usable souvenirs by the end of the O' Camps. In the past, many of these materials ended up in the trash. By teaming with Student Housing & Residential Life Office, UST Connect Program and Student Affairs Office, the Sustainability Unit of Health, Safety and Environment Office held a Surplus Materials Recycling activity to recapture these good materials and bring them to a new home. By placing collection boxes in hall lobbies and student common rooms during O' Camp period, freshmen were encouraged to give away any unwanted souvenirs from gift pack such as packaged food, toothbrushes, bathing items and stationery which will then be donated to those in need through charity and Connect Program's overseas service learning trips. This year, 1913 items and 226 kg of recyclable paper materials were received for donation and recycling. The activity also challenged O' Camp student organizers as to whether they could smartly reduce waste at the source by refusing the unwanted items from sponsors. We hope the sustainability concepts and practices can become part of a green lifestyle for freshmen as they begin the journey of the next four years at HKUST.