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Monday, 24 September 2007

Students Turned On By Switching Off

Students Turned On By Switching Off

New students at the University of Birmingham, University of Warwick and University of Central England in Birmingham, will be among undergraduates encouraged to have fun in the dark this year by taking part in The Student Switch Off - where Halls of Residence will compete against each other to come top of the class in energy efficiency.
The scheme - backed by E.ON, the UK's largest integrated power and gas company - aims to cut energy usage in the Halls by 10% and to prevent over 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere*.

Inspired and supported by Ben & Jerry's Climate Change College, and endorsed by WWF, The Student Switch Off is the brainchild of Neil Jennings, Ben & Jerry's Climate Change Ambassador. Neil successfully piloted his idea at the University of East Anglia last year, with E.ON's support, saving £19,000 and 92 tonnes of carbon dioxide at the UEA alone.

"I'm completely chuffed with the results of The Student Switch Off to date," said Neil. "Under the guidance of, and financial support from, Ben & Jerry's, through their Climate Change College, I've recruited a further six universities from across the country to host the scheme this coming academic year."

Ben & Jerry's Climate Change College, a nine month business mentoring programme, is open again for entries until 24th October 2007.

Jennings, who visited the Arctic earlier this year with the College in a bid to understand the effects of climate change first hand, adds: "We'll be drawing on the traditional ‘friendly rivalry' between Halls of Residence to help reduce carbon emissions."

As well as relying on a bit of healthy competition, the scheme has the full backing of the respective Student Unions and aims to encourage students to adopt energy efficient behaviours by offering prize incentives from E.ON, the main sponsor of the initiative, as well as lashings of ‘legend-dairy' Ben & Jerry's ice cream for winning Halls.

The best performing Hall from the Universities of Birmingham, Warwick and UCE Birmingham will ultimately be invited to the coveted ‘Student Switch Off Green Party' at the end of the year, hosted by E.ON. The party will include a live steel band, BBQ and zero-carbon games like sumo-suit wrestling and croquet.

Phil Biddle, Head of Energy Efficiency at Powergen, said: "The Student Switch Off is an excellent initiative and we're delighted to support it for the second year running and to provide valuable energy saving tips and advice.

"Students will be amazed at just how much they can save through the simplest of measures like not leaving TVs and computers on standby and switching off lights when they leave a room."

The scheme also has the personal endorsement of Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Homemade, who commented: "The Student Switch Off is a perfect example of the kind of innovative grass roots campaign we aim to support through our Climate Change College, giving people a really tangible way to reduce their carbon footprint and to lick global warming one scoop at a time."

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