Eco Challenge to make student houses more sustainable

| Rense Kuipers

The Student Union and Green Hub Twente challenge student houses to become more sustainable, with an ‘Eco Challenge’ that starts on Monday. Though the total amount of prize money is €3000, the organisers say that participating and inspiring matter, not winning.

Photo by: Rikkert Harink

The idea originated in the Shaping 2030 sustainability expert group, says Saikiran Samudrala of Green Hub Twente. ‘We want to create a community of enthusiastic students who want towards a more sustainable world. And especially in these times, we need to do more fun things together with housemates.’

Hence this challenge, Emmilie Kuks from the Student Union adds. ‘Usually we as students think that we need to take big and daunting steps to become more sustainable. Through this challenge, we hope all students get inspired to take small, fun steps that fit best to their specific household and lifestyle of the students living there. Overambitious and far-fetched goals only make it harder to achieve a sustainable change in the long term.’

The competition is therefore set up as open and free as possible – be it for student houses. ‘With as few criteria as possible, we expect students to be as creative as possible,’ says Kuks. ‘There is a lot of information about sustainability everywhere, but we do ask students to think about the ideal solutions for their respective homes. As long as it makes a difference there.’

The challenge is divided in two rounds: one which starts this Monday and is open to all student houses with at least one UT student as inhabitant. After this round, an independent jury decides which finalists move on to round two, to expand on their ideas. In the end – eight weeks into the competition – the prize winners will be chosen by the jury, with the winner receiving €1500, the runner-up €1000 and the number three €500.

The organisers hope as many students houses as possible enter the challenge. ‘Every student house in and around Enschede participating would be the ultimate scenario,’ says Samudrala. ‘It’s participation that matters, not winning. And of course getting inspired and inspiring each other. The future direction is one of sustainability.’

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