Article by Vassilis Ntouros, Dormitory Coordinator at NKUA
“How would you see the future of our campaign in light of COVID-19?”. That was the subject that dominated NKUA’s SAVES 2 team meeting in the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in Greece, end of March 2020. The first two weeks with universities and other educational institutions being closed had almost passed when the Greek government announced stricter rules and a lockdown. “Stay home”, “Keep a distance” and “Avoid social gatherings” were the main messages from the authorities to the citizens. We, the SSO and SSO+ campaign implementers, soon realized that this situation would be here for longer than we initially thought and we had to alter our campaign. An online meeting with the student ambassadors was shortly arranged and soon we were all in front of our cameras discussing our next steps.
George T., our oldest student ambassador, started the conversation by stating that we have to re-evaluate our language and visual content. In this context we have to avoid images or videos with people touching each other or people at social gatherings out of theirs houses. In addition, messages encouraging students to closely interact with each other had to be scrutinized. Common messages in our campaign should be altered and phrases such as “get in touch with other students living in dormitories” or “take a picture together with your flat mates” should be avoided.
Nickie S. taking the floor from George T. emphasized that we shouldn’t be alarmists, we should mind our tone and don’t add to the panic with dramatic language. Instead, we should keep people informed, encourage them to stay in their homes and provide them with happy messages like “Play some funny online games and learn how to save energy in your house” or “Stay at home and avoid energy wastage with simple tricks”. Nickie concluded that it would be a mistake to capitalize on the crisis and we should stay positive but not ignorant.
Athina M. and George D. agreed that we should highlight how our campaigns can benefit students and their families during their home confinement. Latest research on global energy consumption emphasized on that the expected energy use from industry is going to drop dramatically but on the other hand domestic energy use will be increased. In this framework, both ambassadors stated that we should communicate our benefits by creating helpful, simple and friendly content. Although our campaigns do not deal directly with the quarantine, still we can educate and inspire people who stay in their homes for a longer period.
With this mindset, George D. suggested to create more frequent social media polls and quizzes on energy saving topics whereas Athina M. proposed to give more space on practical matters during the quarantine period like the efficient use of appliances. Ioanna Ch. our newest student ambassador, closed our conversation reminding us that messages which help people to quantify energy savings would encourage them to practice energy saving in their homes and understand that small daily actions can turn into wise behaviours from which society can benefit from.
We certainly don’t have all the answers for navigating these turbulent times but we feel a great responsibility to help. During times like these we’re reminded that feeling productive, and feeling like we add value to the world is very meaningful. We wish everyone safety during this unusual time.