Article by Rachel Soper, Dormitory Coordinator at NUS UK
Through being part of Student Switch Off this year, we hope that lots of students in the UK have learned something new about energy use and are now using energy differently to reduce waste and save carbon.
Every few weeks we have been hosting online competitions to allow students to win prizes for various energy-related activities. For our final competition of the academic year, we asked students to tell us what they are doing differently now as a result of Student Switch Off and we were really pleased with some of the entries!
Our most popular change submitted in the competition was students now being more careful about switching off lights and appliances when not in use. This simple but effective action is often overlooked but has potential to save large amounts of energy if all residents did it. We also had lots of action being taken to be more efficient whilst cooking & washing, as well as avoiding unnecessary use of heaters (by wearing warmer clothing indoors in winter).
We were also pleased to see that students are taking on other sustainable activities like switching to a lower carbon diet or using the car less. Whilst we have a focus on energy, it’s fantastic to see that the campaign gets people thinking about wider sustainability issues. We often see Student Switch Off as an entry point for engaging in sustainability and climate issues on campus.
Finally, a number of students told us that the thing they’re doing differently now is sharing information and encouraging others to live more sustainably. Peer-to-peer communication is key to driving real change, so when students are engaging with their friends and flat-mates on this subject we will have a big impact! Some students even told us they were pushing their parents to make better energy choices in the family home!
These are just a few highlights of entries from our competition. We will find out more about our overall impact of the campaign following analysis of our in-depth student survey which has just closed.
Thank you to everyone who got involved in Student Switch Off this year, and to those that are now being more conscious of their energy and living more sustainably!