Over the last few months I did a few country visits to meet country managers, dormitory coordinators and students participating in SAVES to find out more how the Student Switch Off campaign is going on the ground. I travelled to Vilnius, Lithuania in November and Gothenburg, Sweden in December, having previously visited Cypriot dormitories as part of our face-to-face steering group meeting in summer 2015, and I visit UK ones regularly. I plan to visit Greek dormitories later on this spring where I will be meeting Marina, Greek country manager.
During the visits we discussed the progress of the campaign, did some planning for the next term, and most importantly went to visit the dormitories participating in the campaign. It was really great to see information on Student Switch Off posted in dorms (both in Sweden and in Lithuania), making the campaign very visual. It was also interesting to learn the way dorms in different countries are set up – for example in Vilnius, most students share a room with one or two other roommates, whereas in Gothenburg, students have individual rooms, and sometimes even live in one or two bedroom student apartments provided by the dormitory provider; in Vilnius students tend to stay in dorms throughout their studies, whereas in Gothenburg there is a higher turnover. This can have implications on the way Student Switch Off runs, as e.g. in some instances students have a bigger connection with their dorms so the team competition works very well; turnover of students also means that in Sweden, the competition is run on a termly basis as opposed to annual. On a more regular basis, throughout the campaign, we have monthly Skype catch ups between dormitorty coordinators which enables us to have further cross-cultural learnings.
It was great to meet Lithuanian student ambassadors participating in the campaign, to get their thoughts on how it’s going and what impact it’s having – we always look to get feedback from students to ensure that we can make the campaign as successful as possible (check out the blog section to find out what students are saying). We are currently in the process of calculating how much energy and carbon was saved across all the 17 participating universities/dormitory providers in autumn 2015, so watch this space. Check out the dashboard to see how individual dormitories are doing!
I look forward to seeing how the campaign progresses in the coming months and meeting more students along the way; it's really exciting to see how far we've come over the last 1.5 years since SAVES got launched, and really warming to see the enthusiasm and creativity of our students - really well done to everyone who has been involved in the campaign so far!