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Welcome to Student Switch Off

S‌tudent Switch Off (SSO) Ambassadors 2018/19


What's Student Switch Off?

Student Switch Off (SSO) is a sustainability campaign run by NUS at the University of York, which aims to promote and encourage students on campus to save energy and water, as well as recycle. This is a great change to learn before having to move out and paying your own energy bills! 

If you live in college accomodation, you are automatically taking part in the campaign, but visit the NUS SSO Get Involved page to find out how you can do more and win indivdual prizes like Ben & Jerry's and TOTUM cards.  

What do I get from participating?

A lot ! As the campaign is run for students it's designed to give you tons of benefit:

  • Making a real difference by taking personal action on climate change and helping to mitigate yours and others impacts on the planet
  • Get training and experience useful for York Award by signing up with us either as a student embassador or as an auditor
  • Be part of the community that helps keep 20,000 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere, in the past 12 years
  • Win prizes for yourself or your kitchen by participating in our Facebook or Instagram competitions
  • Get chocolate for your kitchen by recycling well 
  • Win up to £600 for you college by using simple actions like saving energy and recycling, which can have a big impact

How can my College win?

The winning College earns £600 for the college committee to spend on student related activity! The Colleges in 2nd and 3rd place will also get £300 and £100 respectively.

Check out the Get Involved tab to learn how Colleges get points.

There's plenty of ways to get involved in Sustainability at York!

Get Involved

Living in College 

  • Find our stall in Freshers' Fair and in Colleges' freshers' fair!
  • Pledge your support to get updates on the campaign
  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (#yorkSSO) and participate in the competitions to win prizes 
  • To become a Student Switch Off auditor or ambassador to get training and experience, sign up here. 
  • Look at more of our volunteering opportunities with Green Impact to sign up as a Green Impact Project Assisstant (GIPA) or auditor. 
  • Recycle well and save energy following our tips!

Living off-campus

Working as a post-grad or staff

This is particularly relevant for anyone who works in Colleges or with first year undergraduates, but if you don't fall in these categories you can still enhance sustainability at York with the Green Impact Programme.

  • Recycle well and save energy at your workplace.
  • Encourage your students to do the same by following our tips.
  • Spread awareness about the campaign and encourage students to sign up as auditors or ambassadors or by pledging their support.
  • Participate in the Green Impact Programme.

How it works

College Competition

The winning College earns £600 to spend on student related activity. So ensure that you and your flatmates are recycling correctly and saving as much energy as you can to get points for your College! 

Colleges earn points depending on

  • The amount of energy they save: We check the energy use of each College using meter data comparing electricity use against a baseline. 
  • How well their students recycle: Kitchen bins get audited twice a year by our student auditors to check everyhting is being put into the right bins.
  • The number of their students who sign up as SSO ambassadors or auditors: The more student ambassadors or auditors a College has, the more points it gets! 
  • The number of their students who take part in the Climate Change Quiz: The more students fill the Climate Change Quiz, the more points their College gets! 

To become a Student Switch Off auditor or ambassador to get training and experience, sign up here

Facebook and Instagram Competition

Get involved in competitions released throughout the year, so make sure you are following us on our Facebook or Instagram.

Climate change quiz

Simply fill in our Climate Change Quiz when it goes live in November and February to get points for your College. You can also find the link for it (once it's live) from our Facebook page, our website or your College.

Top Tip: You can check how well your College is doing on the Leaderboard 

Also check out our Get Involved tab for links to sign up as Student ambassador or auditor and get work experience and training!

SSO 2019

This year Alcuin College won the SSO competition, and received a Ben & Jerry's ice cream drop & £600 for their JCRC. Come second was Derwent winning £300 and James winning £100. Click on graphic below to see how each college did on energy, recycling, and sustainability awareness.

A bar chart showing how the colleges did in the 2018/19 audits. Alcuin are at the top.

 Well done Alcuin and good luck for all Colleges and students for this year's competition!


How can we win?

To win the College competition or the individual prizes you can do a range of actions to save energy such as: 

  • Not overfilling the kettle
  • Add on layers instead of putting up the heat
  • Switch off the lights and appliances instead of leaving them on 'stand-by' 
  • Put a lid on your pan - it saves lots of energy and reduces cooking time
  • Recycling properly, have a look at our A to Z Waste Guide on more information. 

And in the long run?

Reducing our energy use is a long-term fight, and we're all involved in this one way or another. Today UK citizens use three Earth's worth of resources and space to provide for ourselves! These figures have prompted York Council to launch their One Planet York initiative, which the University of York has now pledged to support.

Seemingly small actions really can add up to make a big combined impact! 

In the past 12 years, universities across Europe has saved £2.5 million of electricity for the education sector. 

So what more can I do?

Participate in Student Switch Off or the Green Impact Programme and have a look at York's Sustainability Guide to help make the University of York more sustainable!

Email to get involved.

Window won't close? Leaky taps? Neither you nor the environment has to suffer: report any fault in Colleges or to your landlord when living off-campus.

Related Links

Get more information

  1. Look at our Green Impact webpage to get involved as a Project Assistant (GIPA) or auditors, York Award credit guaranteed.
  2. Navigate around our Sustainability webpages to learn of what the University is doing to be more Sustainable or you could even email if you have any bright ideas yourself.
  3. Have a look at the One Planet York initiative - you can download their app - or look at the World Footprint Network website to learn more about our global footprint.
  4. Look at our Sustainable York Guide under 'Get Involved' to have look at a range of YUSU societies or outside organization like St-Nick's who offer training and experience for sustainable living and work.
  5. Join the E+E Collective's mailing list and follow them on Facebook to stay up-to-date with sustainable activities organised by students at the University
  6. Check Love Food Hate Waste to cut down your food waste and save money
  7. Check out the UN's Sustainable Development Goals
  8. Take a look at the UoY Sustainability Blog which posts content on sustainability in York and information on how you can reduce your environmental impact. 

Any more links you'd like to see here? Email

Contact us

Jo Hossell
UoY SSO coordinator

Rachel Soper
NUS SSO coordinator