Students Across Europe To Receive  1.5m To Save Energy On Campuses

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has announced the launch of a of a major European energy efficiency and energy saving programme for students in Ireland, supported by the European Union. The “Students Achieving Valuable Energy Savings 2” (SAVES2) programme is funded under the SU’s Horizon2020 programme, and unites students across the EU in energy saving initiatives in their accommodation.  The programme has been successful in attracting up to 1.5m of EU funding for activities across Europe.

USI will receive funding to run an innovative Student Switch Off campaign targeted at students across Irish universities for three years.  The objective is to encourage energy saving habits in their accommodation.

Speaking the launch of the Irish programme, USI President Annie Hoey said, “USI is proud to be part of a major European project aimed at creating better energy usage habits in young people in Ireland.  To have received funding to engage directly with our members across Ireland to push sustainable energy behaviours recognises USI’s reach and engagement with Irish students, and a confidence in Ireland’s students willingness to engage and make a real difference.. To reach 219,358 students (both in private and dormitories) across Europe will be no easy feat but I’m confident we’ll make a real impact”.

The Student Switch Off campaign will incorporate national-level partnerships with smart meter delivery agencies to develop student-focused communication materials highlighting the benefits of smart meters. It will provide ongoing advice and support to students via energy-efficiency and bill management training, peer-to-peer advice sharing via video blogs and regular e-mail and social media communications. DCU, Maynooth University, NUI Galway and UCC are the four Irish universities taking part in the first year of the campaign.

Hoey continued, “By identifying and training student ambassadors in each dormitory, and by motivating the ambassadors to encourage their peers to save energy, we will create a race between students in dormitories, each competing to save the most energy and win prizes. We will tap into online student communities through social media, using engaging digital communications (quizzes, photo competitions) to raise awareness of how students can save energy in a fun way. The centrepiece of each competition will be an energy dashboard that updates students in near-real time on the performance and position of their dormitory in the competition – providing feedback and encouraging further action”

USI is the national representative body for the 354,000 students in third level education on the Island of Ireland. USI are a membership organisation – our members are our affiliated Students’ Unions around Ireland, North and South. USI will be recruiting a full-time dormitory coordinator to run the campaign for 42 months. You can apply for the job here: http://usi.ie/vacancies/were-hiring/