Ethics and Environment at Wadham

E&E News

Living sustainably at Wadham

Getting involved

Where's Wadham at?

An image of a hand holding a small globe in front of a red flag and a purple flag. The purple flag has a picture of two hands cradling the Earth, with the text 'Wadham is a Fairtrade accredited college!'

Wadham & the Sustainability Strategy

The Oxford Student Union took a look at the recent Sustainability Strategy (Dec. 2020) released by the university, which aims for biodiversity net gain and net zero carbon by 2035, and identified eight areas in which colleges can make a difference. Here’s a couple of the ways Wadham is doing our part! 

Wadham has, along with several other Oxford colleges, a  Green Impact team, as part of a national programme run by NUS Students Organising for Sustainability. 

The Wadham Sustainability Working Group will be setting new goals in HT21, so stay tuned for updates!

The college has committed to prioritizing sustainability in all new builds, including the Green Award-winning Dorothy Wadham Building, and the Access Centre. 

LED lighting is being implemented across college, and reduced-flow taps and shower heads are being trialled. 

The Bowra staircases are currently being evaluated for the installation of solar panels. 

Wadham’s cafeteria and hall offer a vegetarian and vegan option at every meal! 

We are also a Fairtrade accredited institution, and are working towards a Marine Conservation Society accreditation. 

See above for an outline of Wadham’s on-site recycling facilities. 

Food waste from the cafeteria and hall is kept low because left-over meals are packaged and delivered to the Gatehouse cafe

Wadham SU will usually reimburse Green trashing materials (eg. biodegradable glitter, confetti, and holi powder). 

Wadham has bike racks at all of our sites, and reimbursement schemes in place for the purchase of bike covers and bike locks. 

We are looking to implement more strategies to incentivise sustainable travel in the future. 

We definitely have plenty to do in this regard! Feel free to look over the Sustainability Strategy or just get in contact with the E&E Officer/s if you’d like to initiate a project to Green Wadham’s thinking and curriculum! 

 Wadham divested from fossil fuels in 2019, but the Oxford SU is still campaigning for full divestment by the university. The Wadham SU is also in the process of switching to a more ethical bank. 

Resources for Wadham SU Officers

Any questions?


  • Is Wadham stash sustainable?

This is an issue that lots of colleges have tried to address! So far, we’ve discovered that if we produced Fairware or recycled Wadham puffer jackets then they would be sold to students for almost double the current price, so £50-£60. Whenever this comes up, it is generally decided that this price is too high to reasonably expect students to purchase, which might result in the garments being wasted, so no Wadham stash is not currently made from particularly sustainable or Fairtrade materials. 

  • Is there any way to make our vegetarian/vegan food better?

This is a tricky one – our head chef, Neil, works really hard to keep the menus fresh and exciting, but it’s tricky cooking for hundreds of people. If you have any particular ideas for mixing the menu up or introducing new recipes into Wadham hall, then get in touch! Otherwise, checking the menu ahead of time is often a good idea, and it can be cheap and exciting to cook your own meals, if you have access to kitchen facilities (check out WadhVeg for ideas). 

  • Do I have to go vegetarian or vegan to live sustainably / get involved with ethics and sustainability at Wadham?

Not at all! Though studies do show that the animal agriculture industry is one of the most environmentally damaging, globally, dramatic dietary changes can be very difficult for a variety of reasons. There’s tons of ways to get involved with environmental activism outside a plant-based diet – check out the ‘get involved’ resources above for lifestyle adjustments and campaigns to join! 

  • Do we have any schemes for financially supporting the purchase of reusable / sustainable items?

We do!  The Women*s Officers generally reimburse mentrual cups and underwear up to a fixed price (contact them for more information about this). Plus, the purchase of a Wadham College KeepCup or metal bar cup will also earn you discounts on hot drinks and select alcoholic beverages! And finally, the SU has a long tradition of reimbursing biodegradable and green trashing materials for celebrating the end of exam season – contact the E&E Officer/s about this for more information. 

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