The Student Switch Off is a not-for-profit campaign that encourages students to save energy when living in University halls of residence. In 2012 the campaign won a prestigious Ashden Award – considered the Oscars of the energy-saving world! The Ashden Awards put together the video below which gives a nice overview of what we do and how we do it!
Key to the success of the Student Switch Off are our fantastic staff who travel around the country visiting Universities and raising awareness about energy-saving in fun and innovative ways. Check out the team here.
As with many offices, schools and hotel rooms, there is generally no financial incentive for students in halls to use energy carefully. The Student Switch Off uses prize incentives such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, tickets to Students’ Union nights out and communal parties and focuses on peer-to-peer communication and creating a sense of competition to provide incentives that go beyond just being more ‘environmentally friendly’. Last academic year (2015/16) the Student Switch Off campaign achieved a 6.6% reduction in electricity usage on average across all the participating halls of residence – keeping over 1,800 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
It’s very important to us that our campaign reaches beyond the usual green suspects. We aim to get even the people with little prior interest or knowledge in energy and climate change involved through making the campaign appealing and fun.
While we recognise that switching things off isn’t the solution to climate change on its own, we think saving energy is a good building block and the actions that we encourage students to adopt will save them money on their bills when they move into private accommodation.
With some companies, their number one benefit is to their shareholders. However the people who have a stake in the Student Switch Off are, well, just about everybody.
We save universities money which is good for students, staff and of course the taxpayer. We benefit student volunteers by giving them transferable skills and experience in marketing, communication and campaigning. And of course everyone benefits from the reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Occasionally we dress up as an Eco-Power Ranger which is of benefit to… OK, no one’s perfect!
We’re hugely grateful to a number of organisations for getting us where we are today – Ben & Jerry’s for supporting us from the start and Carbon Leapfrog (especially Bird & Bird, Andrew Woods and Garry Charnock) for securing us free legal and accountancy advice when we first started up as a not-for-profit.