I’dECO Exco Meeting – 20 April 2016

I’dECO Exco Meeting

 

Date: Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Time: 9.30 – 10.15pm

Venue: Saga Student Commons

Chairs: Tan Weiliang

Secretary: Elizabeth Heng

 

PROPOSED AGENDA

 

S/N Item Timing
1 Help Needed for June Environmental Accelerator Workshop 2100 – 2115
2 SSN Clarifications 2115 – 2125
3 Availability of Exco Members 2125 – 2200
4 Joint University Environmental Conference @ NTU 2200-2215

Happy Earth Week! On Wednesday 20 April we had our film screening of Cotton Road, followed by chai, cookies, and meaningful discussion on the social and environmental implications of the clothing industry. Following the screening we had a short meeting discussing the upcoming June workshop and future plans for the SSN. For details on the structure and rationale of the SSN, please see this week’s minutes.

As you all know, I’dECO has wrapped up its last general meeting for the semester, but work is still being done for events happening this summer and in preparation for the SSN!

Volunteers Needed!

Environmental Accelerator Workshop

Environmental Education will be hosting a workshop in early June and are currently looking to enrol 100 JC and Polytechnic students from around Singapore. They are looking for a few volunteers from I’dECO or elsewhere to send out a pre-drafted email to their previous JC or Polytechnic teachers requesting that they encourage their current students to enrol in the workshop. All volunteers would have to do is write a short personal greeting and attach the rest of the pre-written email. Contact Weiliang and/or Jeffrey if you are interested in helping out!

Preparation for the SSN

There is lots left to be done before the conference in August. The first item on the agenda is conducting an initial Needs Analysis, which will be based off of response and feedback of major NGOs and will ultimately determine the scale of the SSN. Currently we are in need of people to meet with these NGOs and write-up their feedback. The work for the Needs Analysis will begin in early May and will be completed by 15 May. If you are interested in helping out for the Needs Analysis, or will be in Singapore and are interested in helping out for the SSN this summer, please contact Weiliang and/or Jeffrey.

I’dECO General Meeting – 13 April 2016

I’dECO General Meeting

 

Date: Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Time: 9pm – 10pm

Venue: Cendana Student Commons

Chairs: Tan Weiliang

Secretary: Elizabeth Heng

 

PROPOSED AGENDA

 

S/N Item Timing
1 Events for remainder of semester (Relevant project leaders) 2100 – 2110
2 Reflections and Aspirations for next semester (Group sharing session) 2110 – 2140
3 Sustainable Solutions Network: plans from now till 20 August 2145 – 2155
4 Signups for I’dECO Summer Projects 2155 – 2200

 

On Wednesday, we had the final general meeting of the academic year. It was a meaningful session of reflecting on the ups and downs of the club over the past semester; we shared about what we liked and what we would like to see. You can read about what different members shared in the minutes! We hope those who didn’t attend the meeting can also reflect on your past year or semester in I’dECO; if you have any thoughts to share about I’dECO’s work, feel free to share them with any exco member.

Before the semester officially wraps up, we have two super fun activities lined up:

  1. ​Earth Film Festival 
We will be screening Cotton Road, a documentary that follows cotton from field (farms in South Carolina) to factories in China to the end consumer. Learn about the environmental and human costs of cheap fashion! The movie screening will be this Wednesday (20 April) @ Saga Student Commons, 7.30-9.30pm. There will be a post-screening discussion, and if anyone is interested in facilitating this, please contact Ying Tong! The event will be combined with chai and cookies, so don’t worry about leaving with empty stomachs!
        2. Terrarium Making Workshop

Kim and Gemma will be attending a terrarium making workshop on Sunday, 24 April from 3.30-5.30pm. If you’re interested in tagging along, please let Kim know. This is completely subsidized by I’dECO, and will make for a good break from your final papers!

Finally, as summer rolls around, we have a short but packed list of things to accomplish during those three months:

  1. ​Finish the Sustainability Blueprint
  2. Conduct the Environmental Accelerator Workshop
  3. Finish prepwork for the SSN
  4. Document I’dECO’s entire history
  5. Prepare for Sustainable Orientation

I’dECO General Meeting – 30 March 2016

I’dECO General Meeting

 

Date: Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Time: 9pm – 10pm

Venue: Cendana Student Commons

Chairs: Tan Weiliang

Secretary: Elizabeth Heng

 

PROPOSED AGENDA

 

S/N Item Timing
1 Project Updates 2100 – 2115
2 Break into workgroups:

SSN Website (Jeffrey, Keith, Nicholas, Jerald)

Earth Hour Movie Screening (Ying Tong)

SSN Description Writing (Weiliang, Yingchen, Swarnima)

Orientation Service Day Proposal (Kim, Xiaoyun, Gemma)

SSN Sending of Emails and timeline of meetings (Eliz, Xin Run)

2115 – 2200
  • Urban Farming: The urban farmers continued painting and drilling the planter boxes. We’ll hopefully be done next week!
  • Sustainable Events: Andrew from the DoS office is very keen on integrating the sustainability checklist into how funding is allocated to student organizations. The DoS will be responsible for carrying out this change (not I’dECO), which will be in effect from next semester onwards. Also, Jamie will be in charge of working with the DoS office next semester to make their office more sustainable.
  • Earth Film Festival: Keep your eyes peeled for the Earth Film Festival movie screening, which will take place sometime in the week of 22 April, aka Earth Week. The date, time and location of the screening have yet to be decided.

I’dECO General Meeting – 23 March 2016

I’dECO General Meeting

Date: Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Time: 9pm – 10pm

Venue: Elm Buttery

Chairs: Tan Weiliang

Secretary: Elizabeth Heng

 

PROPOSED AGENDA

 

S/N Item Timing
1 Project Updates 2100 – 2115
2 SSN Logo and Timeline 2115 – 2130
3 Forming of I’dECO team for Orientation: Sustainable Orientation, Service Day, Welcome Tea 2130 – 2140
4 SSN Work (break into committees/groups) 2140 – 2200
  • Project Updates: The urban farmers continued painting their planter boxes, while the Environmental Education team is in the midst of planning for the workshop for junior college and polytechnic students that will be held in May-June.
  • SSN Logo: Suggestions for the SSN logo can be found in the minutes. These include removing the white text box behind the words, possibly moving the words below the logo, and changing the font to the Yale-NUS font, though this will require meeting with Public Affairs to confirm.
  • SSN Updates: The secretariat team will be emailing environmental groups from educational institutions around Singapore over this weekend, and will work with the P and VPs to finalize the list of organizations to approach by next Monday. Weiliang will soft-book Minister Vivian Balakrishnan from MEWR to attend the SSN as its guest-of-honor. The publicity team will be working to have the SSN website ready in 2 weeks’ time (6 April, Wed).
  • Orientation Committee (Sustainable Orientation, Service Day, Welcome Tea): Xiao Yun and Gemma will be heading the committee that will be in charge of the above orientation-related events. If you’re interested in helping them plan and execute these events, please let them know!

No Dairy Challenge

— by Su-Min

It wasn’t called “Dairy Challenge” for nothing – sticking to a non-dairy diet was tough. The point, perhaps, should be that I did not stick to it; I was only successful in going dairy free for one day of our weeklong challenge. The extent of my cheats varied throughout the week – some were accidental (I forgot about the diet and ate a chocolate on the first day), some were small cheats (a cookie!) and some can’t even be defended (I love milk, and I cut down on a lot of milk during the challenge, but I succumbed to temptation on a few occasions). Others were “circumstantial cheats”, such as how we had a DF group meeting where our friends cooked dishes from home for us, and seriously, you cannot turn that down!

Moving on from my laundry list of excuses, I will admit that I didn’t enjoy the challenge, because it required such an immense diet change. However, my two greatest takeaways from this experience are, simply put, EVERYTHING HAS DAIRY and DON’T BE A HYPOCRITE.

Well, okay, let me qualify my statements. It is not true that everything has dairy, but anything that is remotely tasty probably does. This made me aware of how important dairy is in the modern diet, and how hard it is to avoid it completely because it is a component of so many different types of food.

On to my second point, my inability to stick to the diet shows that knowing the environmental impacts of my actions does not necessarily mean that I am willing and able to give up something that I consider as an integral part of my daily life. While this isn’t a groundbreaking revelation, it makes me realize that if a somewhat-environmentally-conscious person like me can so easily decide that “milk is too important to be cut out of my life” in spite of knowing how it harms the environment (and animals, and myself), it is no wonder that global warming is a thing; I have to be able to be willing to make sacrifices in my own lifestyle for the environment before I can expect others to do the same.

To end this reflection with an optimistic cliché, change starts with me! While I may not be able to cut dairy out of my diet completely, cutting down on it is a better option than reverting to my original lifestyle and that is what I will aim to do.

I’dECO General Meeting – 16 March 2016

I’dECO General Meeting

 

Date: Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Time: 9pm – 10pm

Venue: Cendana Student Commons

Chairs: Tan Weiliang

Secretary: Elizabeth Heng

 

PROPOSED AGENDA

 

S/N Item Timing
1 Project Updates 2100 – 2115
2 Earth Hour 2115 – 2125
2 Orientation 2016: Service Day 2125 – 2130
3 SSN Updates 2130 – 2140
4 SSN Work (break into smaller groups) 2140 – 2200
  • Dining Hall (kind of): Yingchen has been trying to get the cooked food rescue program with The Food Bank Singapore going and has been in contact with representatives from the Food Bank, SATS and DoS office.
  • Urban farming: The urban farmers began overhauling the farm this morning, changing the soildrilling more holes into the bottom of the planter boxes for better drainage and changing the soil. We’re also painting them with fresh coats of paint to inject some life into our farm!
  • Environmental education: The team is currently developing the curriculum for a workshop they are organizing. The workshop will target junior college and polytechnic students and will be held from 31 May to 2 June.
  • Earth Hour: The Earth Hour concert that I’dECO has co-organized with NUS SAVE is happening tomorrow, 17 March (Thurs) at the UTown Foyer (outside NTUC Fairprice) from 8 – 9.30pm. Turn your lights off and join us at the concert, featuring performances by our very own CLSMTS and Joan Ongchoco, and many other talented acts from around UTown. There will be free ice cream, an aerial kite display, good music and chill vibes~~
  • Orientation 2016 Service Day: Service Day, when different social organizations in school take charge of DF groups for a day and organize events for them, will take place on the last weekend of Orientation (Sat, 6 August). The proposal for this is due next Friday, 25 March, and needs to include details on what we plan to do and the budget for our proposed activities. If you would like to help write the proposal and/or facilitate the actual event, let Weiliang know.
  • SSN updates: The Performance Hall has been booked. The list of organizations to invite is nearly finalized. Keith has designed an SSN logo that he will refine based on suggestions raised at the meeting, and the new logo options will be up on the I’dECO facebook page soon for voting!

I’dECO General Meeting – 9 March 2016

I’dECO General Meeting

 

Date: Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Time: 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Venue: Saga Anteroom

Chairs: Tan Weiliang

Secretary: Elizabeth Heng

 

PROPOSED AGENDA

 

S/N Item Timing
1 Project Updates 1830 – 1835
2 SSN Discussion 1835 – 1900
3 SSN Work (break into smaller groups) 1900 – 1930

 

We spent the bulk of Wednesday’s exco meeting discussing the motivations of the SSN and the need for such a conference in Singapore. The idea of the SSN was birthed from Jeffrey and Weiliang’s observation of a culture of collaboration amongst environmental groups in Scandinavia that they felt Singapore was lacking. The SSN is thus a way for us to promote and enable that sort of collaboration in Singapore, with the aim of making such collaboration a longer-term process through the network that will be in place post-conference. There were many questions raised at the meeting about the real need of the SSN in Singapore (e.g. what incentive is there for organizations to send representatives to our conference? what are the concrete benefits of the conference that are different from what existing events like Green Drinks can offer?), and you can read more about the discussions on those in the minutes.

I’dECO General Meeting – 2 March 2016

2 March 2016

I’dECO General Meeting

  • Date: Wednesday, 3 March 2016
  • Time: 9pm – 10pm
  • Venue: Cendana Student Commons
  • Chairs: Tan Weiliang
  • Secretary: Elizabeth Heng

PROPOSED AGENDA

S/N Item Timing
1 Updates from Cluster Development 2100 – 2110
2 New Projects for AY16/17 2110 – 2130
3 Website and Publicity Developments (only EXCO required) 2130 – 2200

 

Updates from cluster development: The experiential and research clusters have already met, and the education cluster will meet some time next week. Many ideas for new projects were raised at the cluster and exco meetings, including composting, a mini-course on environmental topics to educate students who may not take Introduction to Environmental Studies, and environmental activism activities. 

The budget for AY 16/17 is due for submission this Friday. Project leaders are reminded to send Yingchen and Weiliang a rough budget for your respective projects for the next academic year, along with a short description/brief explanation of the activities listed in your budget. Please send it to them by this Friday night (4 Mar)!

Weiliang and Jeffrey are working on an educational workshop for junior college and polytechnic students that will tentatively be held from 1-3 June 2016. The workshop aims to help students think more deeply about sustainability. If you’re interested in helping to plan and execute this project, do let Jeffrey and Weiliang know!

SSN Updates: The Sponsorship Management team has confirmed five organizations to contact – Unilever, CDL, Capitaland, Keppel Land and IKEA. They will be meeting this Sunday to draft up an email to send to these organizations and will begin contacting them soon. Finally, the I’dECO website is being upgraded – click here to see some of the changes that have been made! Project leaders are reminded to to write/edit the descriptions of their respective projects for the website by this Sunday night. 

A Fresh Start

It’s been a while since this wordpress has been updated, but we have several fun posts lined up. We’ve been busy reviving the farm, that unfortunately wilted greatly on us over winter break. This is a challenge we have to learn to face: what will happen to our urban farm over the breaks when students aren’t allowed back on campus? Our idea to enlist the help of the cleaning aunties and uncles (and the landscaper uncle) to tend to the garden over winter break fell through (it was our bad), but we will do the best we can to ensure we have a solid plant-care plan in place before we all leave for summer vacation!

Urban farming is a little different this semester — Yan Lin has gone to the US for her semester abroad (we miss her dearly!), and Xin Run has taken up the position of co-leader for urban farming alongside me. Also, we no longer meet only on Wednesday mornings because of everyone’s clashing schedules. We wanted to make sure that everyone in the urban farming family could still make it for farming, so we now meet on two days: Tuesday evenings (6-8.30pm) and Wednesday mornings (8.30-11am).

I thought I’d share some of the photos I’ve been snapping over urban farming sessions the past few weeks, because we’ve done some pretty interesting things!

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Larry the Sweet Potato had to be speared to death because it was not growing well. We really need to learn how to grow sweet potatoes well, and learn how to know when the sweet potatoes are grown and ready for harvest!

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Forking and weeding the planter boxes + adding new things to the compost bin! (We’ve finally begun using our compost on the plants.)

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We unfortunately had to trim off a large percentage of our four o’ clock flowers because they were overgrowing, and we were worried that the lime plant in the same planter box wouldn’t get the nutrients it needed. These flowers grew surprisingly well: Mdm Kamisah first gave us five tiny stems of these flowers, each about 4 inches tall, and they grew into a very wild and intertwined clump!

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After we removed some of the flowers, we discovered that these two giant snails were hiding under them all along! These huge snails have been making frequent appearances in our farm lately, probably because of the frequent + heavy rains (it’s the monsoon season).

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The heavy rains had ravaged the chalk board we used to note down who the farmer of the day was. It had to be thrown away 🙁 (This photo doesn’t show the full extent of how bad the board had gotten.)

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For the first time, we’ve cut open a stem from our aloe vera plant that has been with us since the start of the farm in RC4 two semester ago.

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We began rubbing the aloe vera all over our skin because it’s good for treating sunburn, and makes for good moisturiser (?) in general! ^_^ Hehe the fun things we do in urban farming~

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RIP our precious chalk board ;~;

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Went on a shopping spree at IMM to get new things for the farm. Protip: Daiso has a good selection of gardening tools that sell for cheap, and Giant sells a variety of seeds + soil, pesticides etc.

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The yellow windmill we bought has been planted in the farm! Adds some colour to the space 🙂

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Repotting some soil because we planted new seeds! We’re growing the seeds in small pots in our own dorm rooms first, and will transfer them to the planter boxes when they’re bigger and stronger.

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Cutting up the things we add to the compost bin to help things rot quicker.

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Our new chalk board showing what we accomplished last Wednesday!

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This board can be found inside the Cendana Student Commons overlooking the farm. We will update it weekly to keep our school community aware of what we’re doing!

Elizabeth

No Meat Week: Wei Han

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This is me (: As observed by the fats on my face, I LOVE food. That means that Operation No Meat Week was going to be one of my hardest weeks at YNC. Yet, as I listened to Yan Lin, Elizabeth and the rest of the Urban Farmers discuss the problems and issues of meat consumption—environmental degradation, animal rights abuse, rise of drug resistant bacteria—the experience seemed increasingly important and valuable. It is my pleasure to say that I…failed the challenge ):

The week began pretty well. Being a vegetarian in the dining hall was actually much easier that I had expected. There was always a variety of greens (yay to the salad bar) and more importantly there was always some tofu or beans or other sources of protein. Indeed, our daily intake of protein usually far exceeded our minimum requirements. The toughest meal of the week was the Chicken Rice Day ): Imagine taking a serving of chicken rice, walking back to your table and casually transferring all your chicken to your friends. Tough but survivable.

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The downfall of my No Meat Week was heading out to Marutama Ramen. The temptation in my heart had wiped my memory of the challenge and by the time I had regained my senses, the bowl of steaming hot ramen (which cost a whooping $20) was already in front of me! I couldn’t let it go to waste…could I? (Ironically, the only photo I took this week was the ramen that failed my challenge)

Nevertheless, although I had failed the challenge, I still gained much from this challenge. I learnt how having a routine made the challenge easier—always walking to the same stations meant less temptation and thought. Perhaps ironically, this is why we consume meat thoughtlessly but it could also be a method for us to adopt new, environmentally friendly diets! (: I look forward to the next food challenge!

Wei Han