Getting involved with the Environmental Office

2013 is shaping up to be a really exciting year for environmental and wider sustainability issues at Cambridge. The Environmental Office supports the University Estate in improving its environmental credentials, and we have a number of ways that students can get involved in helping us to make Cambridge greener.

Switch-Off Week

A University-wide ‘Switch Off Week’ will take place between 18-24 February to promote energy conservation by staff and students. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, has encouraged all in collegiate Cambridge to get involved in the various activities.
The Environmental Office and Energy Team will be on tour to a number of sites, so come talk to us there.

The energy saved by the switching off of lights and equipment during the week will send Pro-Vice-Chancellor Jeremy Sanders on a virtual online cycle ride around the world!

Those feeling inspired, and the keen photographers among you, can enter into two competitions and have the chance of winning prizes. We’ll be asking staff and students to enter their energy-saving ideas, with the best winning an overall prize and all good ideas considered for implementation. The best photos taken of Switch Off Week events, for instance of energy waste or reduction, will be shared on our Twitter feed – with more prizes available.

On each day of the week there is a different event for staff and students to get involved in. On Monday you can put up energy-reduction posters and stickers; on Tuesday departments can create a ‘pledge tree’, where energy-saving pledges are tied to an office plant or tree; Wednesday sees a lunchtime Switch Off of all PCs, lights and unrequired equipment over two hours; Thursday is ‘wear a jumper to work’ day - the woollier and more vivid the better; and Friday marks the start of the Big Weekend Switch Off.

Staff and students are of course encouraged to create their own events and initiatives within their College or Department. These might include a low-carbon cake sale, a fridge and freezer clean-out day, a climate- or energy-related film night, climate quiz, a coffee morning brainstorming session, a star gazing evening, competitions and pledges and energy audits…

If you have any queries, comments or suggestions either before or during Switch Off Week, please contact the Environmental Office at We’d also like to hear if you are organising an event and to see any photos. See our website for more details, and get in touch!

Green Impact

Join us and be able to demonstrate project management and teamwork skills through Green Impact University of Cambridge:

Green Impact Project Assistant. These are students who are recruited to provide extra support and assistance to departments in completing a team workbook. Students commit to volunteering for only 1 hour a week and are trained by the NUS to support their team efficiently.

Green Impact Auditor. These students will be trained by the NUS and the Environmental Office to undertake audits of participating departments. Training will take place the morning of 8th May 2013, with audits carried out that afternoon.

Are you interested in boosting your CV and helping Cambridge departments to become greener?
Have a look at our webpages, and/or email to find out more!

Living Lab

The Living Lab aims to involve academic staff, students, and Estate Management staff in generating solutions to Cambridge's environmental challenges. It uses all University buildings and grounds to give students opportunities to test and research real world environmental problems – within the Cambridge context. Students of any discipline are encouraged to think about projects you would like to undertake under the umbrella of the Living Lab.

Have a look at our webpages, and/or email to find out more!

General information updates:

We have a new carbon website – find out more about carbon reduction activities and plans at Cambridge here.

The Environmental Office is running a waste electrical and electronic equipment collection event for staff, students, and the local community for the second year in a row. From 14-15 March, you, your Department, your College, and anyone else in Cambridge will be able to recycle anything with a plug or battery on the Sidgwick Site: anything from TV remotes to fridges. More information will be sent across the University and City closer to the time – but put the dates in your diary now!

Follow us on Twitter, @CambridgeSust, or email with any questions or comments!