University West England students can offset paper usage by planting \’Degree Trees\’


The Better Together Fund, the University of the West of England\’s new charitable initiative, is helping students to offset the paper they use during their degrees by planting \’Degree Trees\’ both on campus and in Malawi.

The project was the bright idea of UWE student Kirsty Smith, who started thinking about the volume of paper she had built up during her studies when moving house and said, \”I thought that I should plant a tree when I graduate due to all the paper I\’ve needed to use.\”

Kirsty then thought about the combined paper used by the 30,000 students at the University in completing their degrees and decided she would like to make a difference on a bigger scale. \”I thought that if every graduating student could plant a Degree Tree, they could not only offset the paper they use during their degree, but more importantly, help promote sustainability among other students,\” she continued.

With the help of the Community Volunteer Programme at UWE, Kirsty found out about Bristol-based charity Temwa, which runs reforestation projects in Malawi, and saw the potential for a great partnership.

After receiving a grant from the Better Together Fund, supported entirely by charitable donations from staff, students and other supporters, Temwa is now sowing 6,000 seeds – one for every student graduating in 2010 – to plant in Malawi during the upcoming rainy season. Ceremonial trees will also be planted around the University as part of the project.

Dan Lewin, UK Development Manager at Temwa, said, \”Temwa would like to send a huge thank you to Kirsty Smith for coming up with the idea, as well as to the Better Together Fund for providing the grant so that it could be realised.\”

As part of the project, UWE students will be able to make a small contribution at the end of their degree to help raise awareness of sustainability and international issues and help Temwa continue planting trees in the future.

The UWE Better Together Fund awards grants to charitable projects championed by staff, students and alumni.