Last week was a great one for Student Switch Off here at DMU.
But first things first, what is it?
When I first arrived at my accommodation, New Wharf Hall, I noticed a big colourful poster on the board of our Kitchen. There was written something about a competition between all the Halls of Residence and there were funny pictures too. I was very curious, so I taped the link on my laptop and I found the DMU Student Switch Off Facebook page.
There I discovered that it was an energy saving competition between halls of residence. That means if by the end of the year a DMU hall has saved more energy per person than the others, the whole hall is going to win a big give away of Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream!
Also, if you live in a DMU hall, after liking the page, you are able to enter the weekly photo competitions. They usually involve posting pictures on the page about a specific topic, like doing the washing at 30 degrees, putting a lid on the pan or switching the light off while you are leaving your room. Of course the first who post the photos can win vouchers for large tubes of Ben & Jerry’s or other goods such as Cinema Tickets.
To promote the page and eco-friendly behaviour, the NUS run a training event for students willing to be Student Switch Off Ambassadors to help others students to understand the importance of little changes in our every-day life for the environment and to reduce the University’s carbon footprint.
As a SSO Ambassador, I went to some Halls visits to promote the competition with Fran from NUS and all the times, students were keen to know more about the initiative and positive about the possibility of a victory!
The Student Switch Off is a good way to raise awareness about reducing energy consumption and avoiding waste precious resources.
So, last Tuesday at DMU took place the Ben & Jerry’s party open to all the students from the winning Hall, The Grange. There was a lot of Raspberry Chocolatey Chunk Greek Style Frozen Yogurt. Yummy and, of course Fairtrade!
Also, later on the week, it took place a Focus Group about SSO. A group of eight students, Professor Richard Bull and the Environment &Sustainability Officer Karl Letten discussed the project, its effectiveness and the idea of a new Dashboard to track easily if your accommodation is leading or not in that energy saving competition. That informal chat was very interesting. Everyone shared ideas, suggestions and a lot of enthusiasm. The Focus Group reveals that when students are involved in something positive, important and they can feel responsible for the common good, such a healthier life with less carbon, well, it works!
Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)