Blackout 2015

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While some morning afters are filled with regret, hangovers, serious dry mouth and a recurring ‘where did my last £10 go?’, the morning after Blackout 2015 is like no other. One in which you can wake up feeling happy that you went out, socialised, met new people and actually saved some money! The only regret is this: why can’t we do this every Friday?! Well, this is Blackout after all.

Once again, Blackout this year was a storming success. Students from all eight faculties signing up to volunteer in a university wide energy audit, turning off unwanted electrical equipment on Highfield, Avenue, Boldrewood and Winchester campuses, and for the first time ever, Southampton General Hospital.

With free pizza, hoodies and wristbands, giant party games, unique cocktails and an exclusive afterparty, on top of saving energy and raising sustainability awareness, what more could you want?!

Blackout raises awareness amongst staff and students about switching off unused electrical equipment. Although some appliances on their own don’t use much electricity in standby or sleep modes, switching off these numerous appliances all across the university makes a huge difference – the electricity savings from the first Blackout in 2012 were projected to be enough to power five average family homes for a year. If students and staff turned off all their unused electrical equipment, the university could save over £200,000 per year. But aside from the economic benefits, saving energy very literally saves the world.

I spoke to students and staff at this years event to find out what they really think of Blackout.

Dan – 3rd year Environmental Sciences20151113_203142_resized

What is your role in Blackout 2015?

‘I am the Blackout Student Coordinator, and my main responsibility is one of recruiting volunteers and publicising the event through emails, facebook and word of mouth. I have been working very closely with Simon Kemp [Blackout creator] in making sure this years event runs smoothly and is a resounding success’

Why did you want to get involved with Blackout 2015?

‘I did the event last year and it was fantastic and I wanted to get more involved so I thought, why not?!’

What is your favourite part about Blackout?

‘The chance to meet new people from different faculties and courses. It is a chance to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. There is not another event like it with interactions this diverse.’

What is your best energy saving tip (that isn’t turning lights out!)?

‘In rented accommodation, make sure your house is well insulated and that there are no drafts. Time your thermostat to turn the heating on only when you most need it.’

Describe Blackout in 3 words.

‘Energy saving fun!’

 

Nina – 4th year Sustainability (Consultancy), Maria – 2nd year Biomedical Sciences and Joe – 1st year Accounting and Finance.

Why did you want to get involved with Blackout 2015?

‘Friends made me do it!’

‘My course is closely linked.’

‘Why not?! I want to get involved with everything!’

Why is energy saving important to you?

‘The university uses lots of electricity, it is important to cut this down.’

‘It’s a chance to really make a difference.’

Describe Blackout in 3 words.

‘Different, dark, dangerous.’

 

Claire and Hannah – 2nd year Environmental Sciences.20151113_201547_resized

How are you involved in Blackout 2015?

‘We are on the committee and have helped to organise Blackout in preparing the afterparty, signing in volunteers, monitoring the building hubs and generally being Simon’s little helpers.’

Why did you want to get involved in Blackout 2015?

‘I want to work in sustainable management in the future so it has been lovely to get involved, and Simon does such an amazing job!’

Why do you think energy saving is important?

‘Small changes can make a big difference’

What is your best energy saving tip (that isn’t turning lights out!)?

‘Only boil the exact amounts of water that you need.’

‘Use a pan lid.’

What is your favourite part of Blackout?

‘Pizza and the afterparty playlist (don’t tell Simon!)’

‘The afterparty and cocktails.’

Describe Blackout in 3 words.

‘Dark, fun, educational.’

 

Robert and Kaspar – 1st year Business Management

Why did you want to get involved in Blackout 2015?

‘Friends made me do it! (I’m glad they did!)’

What is your best energy saving tip (that isn’t turning lights out!)?

‘If you’re not using it, turn it off – on the spot!’

Describe Blackout in 3 words.

‘I blacked out’

‘Turn it off’

Katie – 2nd year Biochemistry, Lorna – 1st year Adult Nursing and Christie – 1st year Environmental Sciences.

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Why did you want to get involved in Blackout 2015?

‘It’s a good opportunity to get involved in the environment on campus.’

‘I want to make a difference. And access all areas!’

‘To be more sustainable.’

Why is energy saving important to you?

‘Global warming is bad.’

‘To protect the environment.’

‘We use more energy than we can produce, need to only use what we need.’

What is your best energy saving tip (that isn’t turning lights out!)?

‘Keep windows closed when you have the heating on.’

‘Wash your clothes at lower temperatures.’

‘Wear a jumper instead of turning the heating on.’

Describe Blackout in 3 words.

‘Sociable, fun, dark.’

‘Frustrating [because so much is left on!], glow sticks.’

‘Friendly, pizza, surprising.’

 

Laura – 2nd year Physics, Tom – 1st year Population Geography and Harvey – 1st year Acoustical Engineering.

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Why did you want to get involved with Blackout 2015?

‘It is good for the environment.’

‘For the pizza…’

‘Friends made me do it – I’m glad they did!’

Why is energy saving important to you?

‘For financial benefits, publicity across the university and to aid research.’

‘To raise environmental awareness.’

‘If we don’t, we will die.’

What is your best energy saving tip (that isn’t turning lights out!)?

‘Turn the heating off.’

‘Take your own glass to the pub.’

‘Recycle!’

Describe Blackout in 3 words.

‘Turn sh*t off.’

‘Blackout saves lives.’

 

Jade – 3rd year Geophysics, Tash and Brogan –  2nd year Geography, and Mark – 3rd year Oceanography.

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Why did you want to get involved in Blackout 2015?

‘For the hoodie, and to help the environment.’

‘I loved it so much last year that I’m back!’

‘Friends encouraged me to come.’

‘My friends told me about it.’

Why is energy saving important to you?

‘To save the environment.’

‘Uni has so many electrical devices, they don’t all need to be on.’

‘Too much left on over weekends.’

‘To slow down global warming.’

What is your best energy saving tip (that isn’t turning lights out!)?

‘Leave the oven open after cooking.’

‘Have a break from electricity – go outside!’

‘Turn off plugs that aren’t in use.’

‘Work instead of gaming – use books!’

Describe Blackout in 3 words.

‘Hoodie, lights, pizza.’

‘Turning things off.’

‘Pizza, power, people.’

‘Save the environment!’

 

Ian – Environmental Sciences lecturer20151113_220541_resized

Describe Blackout in 3 words.

‘Bloody brilliant.’ Ian is far too efficient to say 3 words about Blackout, 2 is all he needs!

Simon Kemp, Blackout creator and leader, works tirelessly to ensure every event is a resounding success. I had a quick chat with him at the afterparty. ‘Blackout is a proper example of students and staff working together towards a common goal, there is nothing else like it! It is amazing to see everyone get so into it and to have so many volunteers from all across the university. There is such a great buzz around the event, and an amazing group spirit.’ Simon has listened to student requests, and the success and spread of Blackout continues to grow each year. When asked for his 3 words to describe Blackout – ‘best event ever’. Who are we to disagree?!

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Finally, from Tom, our very first Blackout haiku –

Strangers become teams

Bonding over light switches

We are all human

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Don’t forget, Blackout 2016 is just under a year away!

See you all next year!

Blackout 2015, over and out.

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