2019 saw students and youth take to the streets to demand climate action and it’s time for businesses, governments and individuals to urgently act. Student Switch Off focuses on individual change but also encourages students to think about system change. We asked students what new habits they could try this year in their university residence to increase their positive environmental impact. Resolutions covered a range of themes but there was a significant focus on reducing energy and water waste, as well as waste produced from purchasing items. The image above provides some details on what students are committing to do this year and how they are going to do it. Students also recognise the importance of supporting their friends to make changes with 3.8% of resolutions focusing on encouraging friends to also change their behaviours.
Recent research from the Keele University and Stockholm University highlighted the link between personal action and political responsibility, revealing that changes to individual lifestyles for environmental reasons can lead into political action. Several resolutions made by students emphasised this as they included lobbying their hall, college or university to make changes such as divesting from fossil fuels, changing menu options or removing disposable items available to students.
"Taking individual responsibility for the environment increases your concern for it, which in turn motivates you to participate in other forms of action." - Research by Keele University and Stockholm University
These resolutions can guide students' unions, universities and student accommodation providers in responding to student voices and supporting students to make these positive changes. This could include providing clear recycling guidelines, changing menu options in restaurants and canteens, or sharing information on how students can control heating in their residence.