600 Days of Transition

Events Reflection Transition University of St Andrews University of St Andrews

Like many community organisations we are very aware that we work for you, our local area. As consequence, at Transition

Plenty of Ideas Generated
Plenty of Ideas Generated

we are keen to constantly receive feedback about what you want to change in our town. This week saw us launch our 600 Days of Transition Campaign where we are asking people what would you like to change to make St Andrews a better place to live. We want to know what things you think we should be putting our energies toward for the next 600 days. In our opinion this is more than enough time to make a significant difference.

In the past 600 days, Transition has (amongst other things) helped create another community garden at Albany Park; planted 600 fruit trees; engaged with over 50 attendees at Carbon Conversations; collected a treasure trove of goodies through StAndReUse; started St Andrews’ local economic trading scheme (Saint Exchange); made significant energy savings with the Interhall Energy Competition, helped start-up a bike-pool; and hosted dozens of community events. It’s been a busy time.

On Sunday we had the pleasure of attending the University’s 600th Anniversary Science Fair ‘Across the Universe’. We joined a number of academic departments including neuroscience who were demonstrating walking without a brain; psychology who were testing our memories; and physics who had attendees programming their own crocodile robots. There was also an amazing inflatableĀ planetariumĀ from the Astronomy department. Loads of cool things to keep the young and young at heart entertained.

Our stand was a little less high-tech but we did have bubbles, juggling and lots of creative sparks flying. We asked visitors to tell us what they would like to change in St Andrews and, as usual, we were pleasantly delighted with all the great ideas that were shared. We had requests for saunas, skate parks, fruit sharing, picnic benches and a whole host of other things. One lady requested more owls (but that’s probably because she had an unfortunate incident with a seagull earlier in the day…). There were 2 standout champion ideas that lots and lots of people suggested: better cycling infrastructure and more science fairs.

We recognised that St Andrews is a super place to ride a bike (pleasantly flat and conveniently compact) and whilst lots of people do make the most of our natural location, it was thought by many that more could be done to make cycling accessible and safer. One of our more well-known contributors (the Principal Professor Louise Richardson) was also behind this idea.

The Principal got involved too.
The Principal got involved too.

At the moment Transition is working very closely with the Bike Pool to try to keep existing bikes in top condition. The Bike Pool are also renovating a number of bikes for reuse next term. If you would like to get involved they are always looking for donated bikes and volunteers and you can find details of how to contact them on their facebook page. We will have to get our thinking caps on about how to encourage more biking infrastructure in St Andrews.

The second idea that received a lot of support was very much linked to the ‘Across the Universe’ event itself. Visitors obviously enjoyed themselves because there was resounding support for similar events in the near future. At Transition we would like to host a Green Research Fair so if you are involved in research on the environment, we would love to hear from you.

We plan on using the ideas generated from our 600 Days Campaign to come up with a strategy of action at the first Open Forum of next semester. We want to hear from as many people as possible so if you would like to get involved look out for us at local events, join us on facebook or send us an email.


Ali is project manager of Transition University of St Andrews.