Our volunteers build skills and encourage change

Friday 17-01-2020 - 11:20

Student Switch Off is our sustainability engagement campaign for students in halls of residence. Resident volunteers help make the campaign a success, and build skills through their volunteering.

 

University of York volunteers holding up their Student Switch Off t-shirts

A core part of Student Switch Off is our volunteer Ambassador programme. Each year, in all participating universities, we train student volunteers, who then use their new skills to encourage positive change in their residences. In term 1 of 2019 we trained nearly 300 students across all Student Switch Off residences and, since their training, they have been active in raising awareness on the importance of energy-saving, recycling and saving water amongst their friends and flat-mates.

 

Throughout the year we encourage and support volunteers to think about how they can promote sustainability within their residences, using principles of behaviour change theory and communication techniques. We encourage volunteers to tailor their messaging to be relevant to the audience by thinking about what matters to their peers, and we equip them with knowledge around energy, water and waste so they can make convincing arguments in favour of being more sustainable and provide practical tips for doing so.

 

New for 2019, we have introduced the opportunity for Ambassadors to apply for microgrants of up to £50, to help them put on their own initiative within their residence. Cost has often been a barrier to volunteers looking to raise awareness through events or larger-scale campaigns so we hope these microgrants will help more people take further action and get more out of the role.

 

As well as making a significant impact to the success of the campaign in terms of real savings and reduced carbon emissions, it’s important that our volunteers are able to build and develop transferable skills that will be relevant for their studies, extra-curricular activities and future careers. Also new for 2019, we have launched e-learning modules that Ambassadors can take online throughout the year to broaden their knowledge on the climate crisis and put their volunteering into the context of wider sustainability issues. Some of the skills our volunteers can build are:

  • Communication
  • Team-work
  • Event planning
  • Campaign design

It has been fantastic to meet and work with this year’s group of dedicated Student Switch Off volunteers and we are looking forward to seeing what they do with the role this term!

 

If you are a student interested in becoming a volunteer with us, find out what’s going on at your university at www.studentswitchoff.org/unis. If you are interested in bringing Student Switch Off to your campus next year, please contact Joanna.Romanowicz@sos-uk.org

Related Tags :

halls, water, Waste, Energy, student switch off,

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