Skip to content

Welcome to Student Switch Off

Vanbrugh College wins B&J ice cream

Win B&J ice-cream for your college by saving energy and recycling well

UoY students with kettle and mugs

Win prizes by uploading pictures of energy-saving actions to our FB page

UoY students with lids

Win J&B ice-cream for your college by saving energy and recycling well

UoY student switches off the light

Win prizes by uploading pictures of energy-saving actions to our FB page

UoY student puts item in rec. bin

Win B&J ice-cream for your college by saving energy and recycling well

UoY student with thick socks

Win prizes by uploading pictures of energy-saving actions to our FB page

2016 SSO winners

Win B&J ice-cream for your college by saving energy and recycling well


What's Student Switch Off?

Student Switch Off (SSO) is a campaign run by NUS at the University of York, which aims to promote good energy-habits whilst you are in College, before having to move out and paying your own energy bills! 

There are individual prizes up for grabs and you can get your College to win the annual Student Switch Off competition by making sure you recycle well and save as much energy as possible.

What do I get from participating?

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

  • Win prizes for yourself or your kitchen by participating in our Facebook or Instagram competitions
  • Get chocolate for your kitchen by recycling well 
  • Win Ben & Jerry ice cream for your College by helping them win the energy-saving competition
  • Get training and experience useful for York Award by signing up with us either as a student embassador or as an auditor
  • Making a real difference by taking personal action on climate change and helping to mitigate yours and others impacts on the planet

How can my College win?

The winning College earns a Ben & Jerry's ice cream party and also £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 
  • Sign up to become an SSO auditor or ambassador to get training and experience, good for the York Award.
  • Look at more of our volunteering opportunities with Green Impact to sign up as a 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

Facebook and Instagram Competition

Upload pictures of 'energy-saving' actions on our Facebook or Instagram (#yorkSSO) page when we run our competitions to get yourself NUS extra cards or free B&J ice cream ! 

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.

College Competition

The winning College earns Ben & Jerry ice cream but also £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! 

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 2018

This year Alcuin College won the SSO competition, so they will get a Ben & Jerry's ice cream drop & their JCRC will get the £600 prize money! Coming second and third Vanbrugh won £300 and Goodricke won £100. Click on graphic below to see how each college did on energy, recycling, and sustainability awareness.

 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 have to 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

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.

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 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