The OR campaign

If you’ve been wondering why there was a shower in Beacon House or a 10-foot bottle on Woodland Road, you have found your answer: the OR campaign.

This student initiative used pop-up installations to emotionally engage other students with sustainability issues. A series of installations on campus aimed to make students think about the impact of their daily habits. They offered simple alternatives, ‘ORs’, to small but unsustainable behaviours that collectively have a big impact on the world.

Derived from ‘Bristol Is Global’, the team comprised of 25 students from a range of backgrounds. Whilst many of the team members had not previously met before joining OR, everyone worked together to bring six installations to the University. These ranged from a holographic bee in the Wills Memorial Building to a curtain of disposable coffee cups in the Arts and Social Sciences Library.

Each exhibit was based around a shocking sustainability fact, and provided a positive action to counteract sustainable impact. For example, a shower continuously running in Beacon House represented the amount of water waste that goes into the production of a beef burger, compared to a chicken burger or ‘veggie’ burger. Whilst other campaigns promote vegetarianism or veganism, OR aimed to make people think about the choices they make, next time they eat a meal or generate waste. Everyone’s small changes can amplify to big differences on a large enough scale. 

The OR Campaign received some scepticism for its own lack of sustainability, but ensuring the minimal impact of each installation was integral to the campaign. For example, the shower in Beacon House ran on a pump and guaranteed that water was not wasted. Furthermore, the publicity surrounding the campaign has had a sustainable focus, with social media adopted in favour of paper flyers and posters.

The campaign has gained much attention from students and organisations such as The Cabot Institute. Although the first series of installations is over it does not mean the last of The OR Campaign - keep a lookout around Bristol in the coming months.

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