Furniture to food waste: students consider sustainability

April 21, 2023

On 20 April, the English Language Centre at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University announced the winners of the Sustainability Video Project competition, which was open to all Year One students. Contestants created short videos about campus environmental sustainability issues and their possible solutions.

Sustainable sofas

The team who won the first-prize, composed of Ziyiyang Zhou, Yuhao Yan, and Mengxuan Shen, explored how choosing furniture that is less easily soiled contributes to sustainability.

Zhou said the team learned the importance of considering many viewpoints through working on a project that affects many peoples’ daily lives.

“We choose the chairs and other furniture at XJTLU as our theme because students and staff use them every day. Sustainability of furniture is important for environmental protection and energy conservation,” he said.

“When we were brainstorming for the video, we interviewed people from different backgrounds, including students, alumni, academics, and members of student organisations dedicated to exploring sustainable development issues. We found that understanding concerns from different perspectives can help us better address concerns.”

From left to right: Ziyiyang Zhou, Yuhao Yan, Matthew Wallwork, Mengxuan Shen, Jiayu Zhou, Laura McNabb

Canteen food conservation

Hanxiong Yang, Tianqi Xu, and Yiran Zhu produced the second prize-winning video on the theme of food waste. In the video, they made a number of suggestions on how to implement food waste solutions in university canteens, such as providing consumers choices of plate sizes.

From left to right: Paula Gibson, Tianqi Xu, Jiayu Zhou, Matthew Wallwork, Hanxiong Yang, Yiran Zhu, Laura McNabb

Understanding the impact

A group composed of Jinwen Wang, Yiyun Zhang and Yue Yu received third prize for their video, which is also about food waste.

Like the first-place winners, Wang’s team learned about the importance of including different viewpoints in examining sustainability problems.

“In the past, we tended to view food waste from the side of consumers, but during this preparation, we shifted our perspective,” Wang said. “From the view of food producers, we learned about serious waste problems that occur over the whole process, from production and transportation to consumption. This made us realise that we have grossly underestimated the impact of food waste on the world.”

From left to right: Yiyun Zhang, Matthew Wallwork, Yue Yu, Jinwen Wang, Laura McNabb

Paula Gibson, Deputy Director of the English Language Centre, one of the competition organisers, said:

“After watching the videos, I was impressed with how the students are thinking about sustainability on a local scale. They considered how they can include it in their daily lives at XJTLU and how this can influence others.”

Matthew Wallwork, Senior Language Lecturer, added: “The students were passionate and professional in their video production work. They are very tech savvy.
“The most exciting thing about this competition was the students’ autonomy. I was impressed by the quality of work that they produced,” he said.

Other successes

Besides the Sustainability Video Project, the School of Languages works to raise students’ awareness of sustainability through content in the English for Academic Purpose (EAP) course.

Laura McNabb, Senior Language Lecturer, explained: “We have incorporated materials on sustainability issues, such as fast-fashion and wildlife conservation, into our daily language teaching. In addition, we will launch more interactive workbooks so that more modules can go paperless.”

By Xinyi Liu

Edited by Tamara Kaup

April 21, 2023