Student Switch Off is an NUS affiliated society which aims to combat climate change by encouraging students to recycle and live more sustainably. The society and its paid helpers visit the various halls of residence and score your flat’s recycling efforts – the halls with the best overall score wins an amazing Ben and Jerry’s ice cream party with music, entertainment and of course lots and lots of free ice cream! They also run campaigns throughout the year to try and encourage the reduction of energy and resource waste both in halls and on all campuses. I interviewed the society’s President Emily Dawes to find out more…
Firstly what exactly does your society do and what is your role as President?
We try to encourage students to be more sustainable, not just whilst they are here at university but also to continue these green habits when they leave.
As President of the society I lead meetings; initiate proposals for the projects we will be working on; support the members of my committee as well as acting as the main point of contact between the university and the wider Student Switch Off NUS branch.
What is one of your favourite things about the society?
Apart from being able to make a difference I love the fact our society doesn’t have a very strict hierarchy when it comes to committee members’ roles – just because I have the title of President doesn’t mean I am any more important than anyone else on the committee, we all muck in together.
How often does the society meet?
We as a committee meet about once a week to make sure the society is running smoothly and to organise any events coming up as well as planning our various campaigns. As a society in general we try to meet at least once a month to give our members the chance to learn more about the paid auditor roles for example or to let them get involved with our campaigns. However during the halls audit period we see each other more.
Can you reveal what one of your campaigns is going to be for this year?
One of our main campaigns this year is to make sure students in halls know how to use their rubbish facilities correctly, as the university has an unusual system – one bin is for food waste and another bin is for everything else which can get confusing. Another will see us try to raise funds for more water fountains in communal areas both in halls and on campus.
What courses do your members tend to study?
One of the nice things about this society is that there isn’t actually a similar course; as long as you are keen to spread the word about sustainable living and do your bit to help save the world then this society is for you!
Our welcome meeting is currently to be confirmed but if anyone is interested and keen to get involved with either our paid opportunities or volunteer work then like our Facebook page and drop us a message or keep your eyes peeled for the first meeting details!
And finally, what was it that made you want to get involved in Student Switch Off?
Living in halls last year really opened my eyes to how much energy and materials are wasted, especially because utilities are included in the price and so are easy to take advantage of. I also study Physics a subject that is intertwined with sustainability and have always been keen to get involved with schemes that are taking a stance of changing things for the better and are making a positive difference.
Images courtesy of Student Switch Off Society and NUS