Monday, 7 March 2011

Aston University Go Green Week

Last week was Aston University’s Go Green Week. Birmingham FoE were invited along to engage with students on our environmental campaigns. Each day had a different theme. The Energy & Climate Change group were there to coincide with “Turn Off Tuesday”.

One of the things that amazes me about Birmingham is that two of its universities have no student led environmental groups. Aston University used to have one but it is now defunct. So a big aim of the day was to sign up as many interested students as possible to a mailing list, with a view to getting a new group up and running with links to Birmingham FoE.

Armed with our leaflets and clipboards in the foyer of the Main building we approached students. Of the students who weren’t too busy on their way to lectures to stop, almost all of them recognised that energy & climate change were important issues and many of them wanted to find out more. This is encouraging, (we didn’t come across any climate change deniers!), but the difficult bit will be engaging them enough to get them to actively get involved!

The second aim of the day was to gauge students views on their student digs. Student rented accommodation is amongst the worst housing stock in the UK and Birmingham is no exception. One of the things we are campaigning for is a legally binding minimum standard of energy efficiency for private rented properties by 2016.

While students were largely very keen to tell us about their draughty bedrooms and freezing bathrooms, when it came to agreeing to be filmed for a “Rate My Digs” feature, they became a little more reticent! Some for fear of retribution, but many because they hadn’t done their hair or because they “had a heavy night”! However, with perseverance and charm, we were able to get a handful of brave soldiers to appear in front of the lens without make-up!

You will be able to see what they said in a video which will shortly be released, so look out for that. On the whole though, it is fair to say that Aston University is investing in new, energy efficient accommodation so hopefully our students can watch Deal or No Deal in warmth and comfort, safe in the knowledge that they are not wasting energy!

Robert Pass

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