Sustainability in student associations: W.S.R. Argo

Sustainability in student associations: W.S.R. Argo

Many WUR student associations try to improve the sustainability of their association. In this series, I will interview one by one some student associations in Wageningen and their contribution to a more sustainable future. In this blog, I will interview Sophie van den Beuken on behalf of the sustainable committee of W.S.R. Argo. 

Can you tell me something about your committee and what you do?

We are the sustainability committee of Argo, the rowing association of Wageningen, and we consist of a chairman (Sophie van den Beuken), secretary (Dorien Lampe) and 4 active members (Maren Oosterlaan, Bente Weertman, Sara Almeloo, Aniek Kroezen).

The sustainability committee was founded in 2016 to make Argo more sustainable by positively profiling the members of Argo to become more sustainably aware and to make our association and the building more sustainable. Next to the environment, we also wanted to save structural costs like gas and electricity costs. For all organisations, a growing pressure is felt to become more sustainable. The sustainable committee wishes for Argo to be at the forefront of becoming a sustainable student sport association.

The sustainability committee of Argo

What have you achieved so far?

Firstly, W.S.R. Argo has invested in solar panels and the association runs for a large part on solar energy, as you can see in the image.

Before the corona pandemic, we organised a sustainability dinner. At this dinner, sponsors from Wageningen and surroundings such as Le Perron and Hoge Born provided us with seasonal and local products such as flour from the Wageningse mill.

Another activity we organised is the clothing swap at Argo. Here, all members of Argo could donate their clothes and swap it for new second-hand clothes, see the image.

Another event we came up with is the house challenge. All members of Argo could sign up their house and all houses would try to complete as many challenges related to sustainability as possible within a week. This house challenge included challenges like ‘replace a lamp with a led lamp’, ‘think of your own sustainable action’, ‘plant a herb garden’, ‘cook only vegetarian meals for a week’, ‘go sustainable shopping’, ‘purchase a plastic free soap’, ‘separate your waste’, ‘go package-free grocery shopping’. In this way, we stimulated sustainable behaviour and awareness among our members and more importantly, it was even fun to do!

At last, the board of Argo is planning on switching from a conventional bank to a more sustainable bank which invests in sustainable companies and entrepreneurs. 

The solar panels on the roof of the Argo building
Clothing swap at Argo

What are your plans for the future?

For the future, we would like to apply draft strips to the windows and doors of our building. In this way, our gas consumption will definitely go down which is both good for our wallet and the environment! Furthermore, we would also like to organise a second clothing swap after the great success of the first one. Lastly, we will continue organising events for our members to raise awareness and promote sustainable behaviour. We are looking forward to next challenges and events ahead!

More information on WSR Argo and their sustainability committee can be found on their website (only dutch). 

Are you a member of a student association and do you also want to share your sustainability actions on the GO blog? Send an email to stella.brugman@wur.nl.

By Stella Brugman

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