University Students in Arctic Challenge

Eight teams of University students from across the UK have made it into the final of the npower Future Leaders Challenge – a national competition which tasks undergraduates to devise green projects and inspire people in their universities to live more sustainably.

The short listed teams had to produce a film describing their plans for a local green project in and around their university and wider community. All finalists will now spend the next two months bringing their ideas to life, in the hope of winning a place on an expedition of a lifetime to the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway, but only the two teams judged to have made the most impact in their universities will make the trip. Dog sledding over 200 km from a base camp into the wilds of Europe’s most northern country, the teams will have the opportunity to experience effects of global warming first hand.

This weekend all 32 finalists spent three days in the Lake District on a grueling outdoor activity course. The weekend’s programme was specifically designed by npower in association with TARGETevents to help develop team building and leadership skills and environmental knowledge that will enable them to deliver their green projects and take them one step closer to winning the ultimate prize. The experience will also give them key employability skills to position them ahead of their peers when making future job applications.

Leading the University of Manchester team, Matthew Woodcock, an Undergraduate in Management Accounting and Finance, said “We were delighted to be short listed for the npower Future Leaders Challenge. It was a brilliant weekend with great people, fantastic team building opportunities and a lot of laughing.  It’s also made me realise how small actions and projects can add up to make a real impact on the environment.

“We’re now gearing up and can’t wait to get stuck into our project. We plan to organize three environmentally-friendly acoustic nights using locally sourced drinks, oil lamps and candles to help reduce their carbon footprint – we hope our ideas will attract fellow students to live more sustainably and also impress the judges!”

Clare McDougall, npower’s head of education and community said,” The npower Future Leaders Challenge has been developed to find the next generation of forward thinking leaders: young people with drive and passion, committed to learning about climate change and discovering new solutions to tackle its effects. I wish all the finalists the very best of luck in this competition!”

The two winning teams will be announced on 9th December and will travel to the Arctic on their expedition of a lifetime in March 2011.

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