How bin bags turned a student into a viral star
“The attention has been mind-blowing, to be honest.”
In April, while thousands of people were taking advantage of a combination of warm weather and relaxed restrictions to meet with friends outside, Jack Colmer was busy working on a solution to a very real problem.
Jack, a final-year Sport Business Management student, had seen pictures of litter piled across Woodhouse Moor in Leeds, and decided something needed to be done to help clean up.
He says: “I was at home in Newcastle, and when I’m home, I like to do DIY, so the idea just popped in my head that if I gave people bin bags, they’d use them to clear up.”
Within a few hours, Jack had quickly built a letterbox-like binbag dispenser, which he placed in the park the next day. The reaction was instantaneous.
“The first big one was seeing a picture of it on LadBible. Just waking up to that was a bit like ‘woah! This has gone far beyond where I thought it would.’ I had so much adrenaline, I had to go for a run.
“My phone was pinging constantly throughout the day. The day after, the BBC picked up the story, and the reaction was ten times as big. It was a huge shock.”
Jack’s bin bag contraption has since received international attention, the latest unexpected step on a university journey that has seen him grow so much as a person.
He arrived at the university unsure if higher education was right for him but has thrown himself into his course and student life.
He has organised trips to top skiing resorts as a committee member of the ski society and runs the student seven-a-side league, taking full advantage of the Carnegie School of Sport’s facilities.
“To be honest I wasn’t sure about university, but I wanted to give it a try and experience what it was like. I chose Sport Business Management because the sporting element made it so much more interesting to me. I’ve really loved my time on the course, it’s been good.” He adds.
“I’ve always been big into my sport, so the facilities available at the School were a key reason for me deciding to come to the university.”
After an eventful three years at Leeds Beckett, he is looking forward to completing his course and has lined up a graduate job in recruitment in the summer.
His one key piece of advice for new students is simple: Get involved in university life, however you can.
“My advice would be to push yourself into student life. Join a society for sure, it’s a great way of meeting people with similar interests, and if you join a sports club, you can keep yourself fit and healthy too.”