A GROUP of students from a Worcester more than 3,000 miles away have travelled across the pond to help residents save money on their electricity bills.
The four students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts are visiting the city to take part in the Energize Worcester project coordinated by the University of Worcester.
The scheme is a wide-ranging project working to bring down electricity bills for students in the city living in Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) through increasing efficiency and encouraging sustainable ways of living.
The group have been meeting with residents in the Arboretum area of the city, which group member Nick Lemere said had proved a challenge.
“We were planning on focusing on the HMOs and working with landlords but due to a serious lack of response we decided to expand it to all residents in the Arboretum,” he said.
Alex Shoop said they had come across a language barrier with many of the Arboretum’s foreign residents.
“Earlier on we did a leaflet notifying people we would be going around knocking on doors and that really helped us out,” he said.
Chas Frick said they had faced a range of reactions when speaking to residents.
“We’ve had a whole range of things from people not even opening the door to some inviting us in for a cup of tea,” he said.
Nick said: “We’ve had people say ‘I don’t know what what you’re selling but I don’t want it’,” he said.
But Stefan Smith said people were starting to open up to them.
“We know people to say hello to in the street now and people recognise us too,” he said.
The University of Worcester’s director of environmental sustainability Katy Boom, who is working closely with the group, said she had been greatly impressed by their work.
“This is probably one of the hardest areas to look at as part of the project,” she said.
“It’s a fantastic resource for us to have such keen students doing this project.”
The four will present their findings later this month before returning home on Thursday, June 26.
Picture: Worcester Polytechnic Institute students Chas Frick, Alex Shoop, Nick Lemere and Stefan Smith with University of Worcester director of environmental sustainability Katy Boom (middle).