Blog: Save A Penny, Or Save The Planet?

I loved being your Students’ Union VP Education last year. As someone who was a course rep for three years, I was raring to go to represent your academic interests to the College, and Jack O’Neill has now picked up the reins brilliantly as you can read here.

However, another burning desire inside of me throughout that time was to ensure that, as an academic community, we are taking drastic measures to fight against what the Copenhagen Accord calls “one of the greatest challenges of our time”: climate change. And so, I ran to be your President on a flagship manifesto point of pledging to ‘Clean Up Our Campus’ – and I’m pleased to announce some work your Students’ Union has been doing to do just that.

Charges For Single Use Disposable Cups

Back in May, we announced a big makeover of Tommy’s Kitchen, with a décor-change to firmly establish it as the best burger bar on campus. But from the number of students studying at Royal Holloway that I speak to on a daily basis, I know that that’s not enough. With the threat of irreversible catastrophic changes to our planet’s climate, our generation is acutely aware of the urgency for us all to move to more sustainable industries and lifestyles.



In June, the College announced that from August, a 20p charge would be applied to all hot drinks purchased in a disposable cup in their outlets across campus. This was a move to discourage us all from using single-use disposable coffee cups, many of which are not biodegradable. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but may not be enough of an incentive to create the scale of cultural change needed to confront the reckless high-consumer lifestyles so many of us live.

That’s why from the start of term, we’ll be offering the cheapest coffee on campus, with hot drinks prices slashed based on you bringing reusable cups. A charge will be applied if you wish to use a disposable cup. But how much should that charge be? Well that’s where you come in. We’ve come up with two simple options: 20p or 50p.

Introducing The Green Fund

Now we know what you’re thinking, surely everyone would go for the cheaper charge. Well, that’s where we want to up the ante a little. Although part of the charge will go towards covering the cost of the cups, the remaining amount will be placed into a ‘green fund’ which student groups will be able to apply for next year to use for a sustainability based project. That means if you vote for the higher charge then there will be more money in the pot for student groups to make a real difference.

We’re still finalising the details on exactly how the fund will work so keep an eye out for updates on progress in the near future.

I want to hear what you think. Cast your vote below, and whatever you decide, we’ll make sure that Tommy’s Kitchen provides you with the cheapest, high-quality coffee on campus!

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