Calling all students
If you think poor sanitation is bang out of order, we have a mission for you – should you choose to accept it.
Tired of being branded as bed-hogging tutorial-dodgers? We know students are game-changers and world-shakers – and we have the evidence to prove it.
A group of students at the University of Warwick (including, Jess Docherty, right) went all out for toilets in their final year – and twinned almost 50 toilets in the Students’ Union. Others at Bristol and Durham universities also kicked student stereotypes into touch by raising awareness and dosh for dunnies.
So, inspired by their example, we went straight to the bathroom – birthplace of all great ideas – and emerged with the germ of a big new idea. (No, no, that’s a good thing, not a cause for soap.)
So here’s the challenge: create a twinning team, twin lots of toilets at your place of study and make yours a Toilet Twinned University or College.
In the next few weeks, we can send you a student pack containing all the info and resources you need to start twinning. There’ll also be advice on our website and we’re always on hand to help you with everything from setting up on social media to getting into the local papers.
Register your interest by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org (Sadly, we can’t send you cake, though.)
To whet your appetite, let us show you what’s possible when a handful of students get passionate about toilets…
The Warwick Toilet Twinning team were a small but perfectly formed group of five students who blended creativity, puns and some wacky ideas in a year-long fundraising campaign.
Ring-leaders Emily Boyce (far left) and Jess Docherty began by gaining the support of the Student Union, the Student Council and the Christian Union – and soon earned themselves a bit of a reputation on campus.
To mark World Toilet Day (November 19), they organised a Big Squat – which involved a relay team of students squatting for 12 hours solid in the main campus piazza. Other events included a cake bake (above), a second-hand clothes sale and an ‘Apoostic Night’ when musician friends gave their time at a fundraising gig.
Jess and Emily even dressed up as toilets (right) to collect spare change, laying their reputations on the line for the noble cause of twinning. ‘We were very loud on social media to the point where people knew us as “those toilet people”,’ says Emily.
But the cause made it all worthwhile, says Jess. ‘We are both genuinely passionate about international development so that made us want to give time to it. And people were very generous…’
Meanwhile, students from Bristol University’s School of Geographical Sciences raised more than £360 at their annual Globe Ball to link their loo with a latrine in Burundi.
And students at Durham University twinned toilets in ten of its colleges after student Lis Martin fired up her friends to tackle the poor sanitation she’d experienced first-hand in Africa with Tearfund. At Lis’s prompting, the Student Union passed a motion to twin a toilet from each college with a loo in Burundi – then the Charities Committee and Lis organised a ‘rag raid’ on the streets of Edinburgh, which raised £600.
So you really can change the world, one toilet at a time. And if you sign up some mates to help you, you can achieve a whole lot more.
It’s the same principle that Toilet Twinning follows at grassroots level: we bring people in poor communities together to decide what they want and how they are going to achieve it.
And a Toilet Twinned University or Toilet Twinned College campaign will work best when you form a team, pull together and get busy with those toilet puns. Think about it: if you twin lots of toilets, you can transform life for an entire village. Forever.
Definitely worth getting out of bed for… even after a long night, erm, in the library.