Ahead of the 2020 Guild Elections, News Reporter Ella Kipling and Social Secretary Rebecca Hall speak to the candidates running for Ethical and Environmental and Campaigns Officer
Candidates: Campaigns Officer
Interviewed by Ella Kipling
The Campaigns Officer is a new position within the Guild of Students’ part-time officer team. The Campaigns Officer will run a Guild campaign that is important to them and that they believe is important to students on campus.
Candidates are listed alphabetically by surname.
You can vote online on the Guild of Students website.
For Tanvi Lad, a Pre-Clinical Medicine student, the role of Campaign Officer is to listen to what the students want to raise awareness of. Lad is an international student from Singapore, where she used to be part of a ‘government organisation’ where she created awareness of racial harmony between youths, and organised nationwide events, meaning she knows how the process works.
If elected, Lad would bring light to the topics students are passionate about. She told Redbrick: ‘I am passionate about racial harmony, and I am a big advocate for the environment. I know people want to get involved – I myself want to get involved so I know these communities exist.’ Lad wants to focus on bringing everyone together, regardless of where on campus you are situated. ‘I am on the other side of campus in the Medical School, no one is talking about these things and if they are spoken about, there is no time.’ While the Medical School is just an example, Lad says that a large part of the student body is excluded from campaigns so she is hoping to ‘bring about the involvement of everybody.’ She says that she has lots of ideas, particularly about accessibility and feels there should be better involvement in terms of giving feedback.
She said: ‘if you want to create a change you have to bring students together and create awareness between everybody no matter where you are on campus.’
Prova Rahman is a BSc Accounting and Finance student who sees the role as being about ‘anti-discriminatory policies’ and ‘ensuring that students have a strong support system as well as their voices being heard.’
Rahman also wants to focus on the educational aspect of the role to make sure that ‘students are able to set out their opinions for the modules they’re having issues with, so that they can make the relevant changes.’ A co-chair of the student representative system, and a student ambassador, Rahman likes to find solutions for relevant issues and gather feedback, citing her reasons for running for Campaign Officer as ‘being able to learn something new.’
Her main aim is to help people in marginalised groups, ‘create a better community for them,’ and make sure they ‘get the most out of university life.’ As a member of a minority group herself, Rahman is keen to make sure student voices are heard as ‘lots of people don’t speak up.’
Shubhneet Jain is a MSC Marketing student, and for him the role is about ‘motivating students and promoting what is happening at the University.’ Jain centres his campaign about promoting aspects of university life that students may not be aware of, such as the Yoyo Wallet, and various workshops the University provides, as well as creating more skill-building workshops so that students ‘can have a better future.’
Jain worked as a content marketing manager before his degree so is used to leading a team and sees himself as a ‘good leader’ and wants to help students to ‘make a better person out of themselves.’
Jain told Redbrick: ‘people don’t know how to redeem the University benefits and make the most out of university life,’ and is keen to promote this by encouraging students to be active on Twitter, where they will be able to see what opportunities there are for them, and be able to communicate with Jain.
Yu Xu is campaigning for this role with a running mate, Anthony, and a team he has been leading, which he says will ‘continue to work […] if I was elected so that my targets for this position could be achieved.’ Xu really enjoys university life, so sees it as his responsibility to make UoB even better as there are ‘so many issues and topics that need to be solved.’ Xu, along with his team, if elected would gather student feedback and solve as many of the issues people bring up as he can.
The bigger issues, he says, are things such as environmental issue and ensuring the equality of minorities, but he also hopes to tackle smaller issues too brought up by students. Xu says, ‘we have to take action and face the issues,’ and feels he is the perfect candidate for this role due to his experience as a chemical engineering school rep, being part of the Guild Policy development group, and being an international rep of the student voice of chemical engineering.
Candidates: Ethical and Environmental Officer
Interviewed by Rebecca Hall
The Ethical and Environmental Officer raises awareness of ethical and environmental issues amongst students. They help the Guild become more ethically and environmentally aware and lobby the University to become more socially responsible.
Candidates are listed alphabetically by surname.
You can vote online on the Guild of Students website.
Will Greensmith decided this year was the best time to apply for him as the Guild has declared a climate emergency. This is something Greensmith is very passionate about and hopes to do more for.
He feels the biggest challenge if he should win the role, is enforcing the changes he wishes to pursue. While he recognises that the power of the office is limited, he feels he can still achieve a lot, especially through lobbying and raising awareness.
Will wants to see renewable energy sources on campus. In particular, he would add solar panels as the campus has a number of flat roofs and that stops people suggesting they are an eyesore. Secondly, Will thinks it is important to introduce water fountains outside, so people can fill their bottles more easily. The main focus of his goals will be to ‘increase participation’ and he feels ‘this is the best thing I can do as an officer.’ This will include newsletters and drop-in sessions to come and voice concerns to him directly.
If he were to win, Greensmith is most looking forward to having the chance which he has been wanting to do for a long time and have the opportunity to leave his mark at the University.
When asked why he is equipped for this role, Will feels he is an experienced campaigner and through work experience with politicians, ‘I know how to deal with people’s concerns and get things done.’
He also believes he has a real drive to change things and has a strong voice which he wants to use to represent students’ voices on all ethical and environmental issues.
Matt ‘the Green Giant’ Griffin has been passionate about climate change and the progress that needs to be made for over ten years and has grown up in a house that regularly discussed these issues as his parents are invested in the industry. It is this knowledge and awareness that has encouraged him to attend many protests. However, it is this work and seeing little change made by the University that attracted him to the role of Ethical and Environmental officer.
Matt feels that the biggest challenge to this role will be getting the University to implement change because ‘at the moment they (the University) function with a policy where they make the most money, and investing in green politics isn’t always the top priority.’
He believes that the University should be educated and made aware that, ‘if change isn’t made now, then in the future we will face much greater consequences later on.’ Griffin also touched upon the fact that he feels the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood, has made it clear he ‘doesn’t really see the issue of climate change.’
Matt has broken his campaign down into three different sections. On a university level, he wants the University to declare a climate emergency. He also wants the 2014 carbon management plan to be updated, because it showed an expected rise in carbon emissions produced by the University. A new carbon management plan would review the usage with an intention to reduce this. Most importantly, the new plan should have the ‘ultimate aim of a 2030 carbon neutrality.’
At the Guild, Matt wants an educational campaign on climate change. He also wants students to be more involved in environmental issues. He references the example of a staff-student committee, but he suggests that no one knows of this committee or who is on it. As a result, Matt wants to put in place a new committee which is democratically elected, which would enable more progressive policy to be put forward.
While Griffin feels protesting has many benefits, it is the opportunity to be in a direct position where he can make real change that excites him most about the role. He feels he is equipped for the role because he is very passionate about the topic and is very dedicated to the issue because he regularly reads up on it and has been part of the movement. He told Redbrick that he is organised and committed. He also promised to be hardworking and diligent in the role.
When asked what initially attracted her to the role, Hannah Lapworth stated that she is very passionate about the environment and she’s motivated to bringing real change to the University. Over the past year, Hannah said she has had many ideas about what she would like to see implemented. However, she is aware that her biggest challenge may be getting the University to agree to changes. Hannah references the Fossil-Free UoB campaign as an example of how she feels the University is reluctant to change its environmental policies. Hannah insists this doesn’t deter her, and she will ‘fight to make the University as sustainable as possible.’
Hannah’s goals as Ethics and Environmental officer would be to implement a coffee cup return scheme where people can borrow a reusable cup, then return it to any outlet on campus. This is should reduce the number of disposable cups available. Hannah also wants to reduce the amount of single-use plastics. She will start by doing this at the Guild and then moving out onto campus. Another goal of the candidate is to implement an offset scheme to fund the rebuild of the habitats lost from the significant building work that has taken place on campus. Finally, Lapworth will use her position to continue to push for Fossil-Free UoB, as she believes this is an important campaign which the University should listen to and achieve.
Should she win the election, Hannah is most looking forward to making a positive change at the University and creating long-lasting schemes and impacts. She wants to leave a legacy of less plastic on campus and for the University as a whole to be regarded better in terms of its environmental impact.
Finally, Hannah believes she is equipped for this role as she has spent the past year writing a blog titled, ‘the Sustainable Student’ based on environmentalism. She is also on the Youth Panel for an environmental charity. Furthermore, Hannah is the secretary of Vegsoc.
Ximei Liu applied for the role of Ethical and Environmental Officer because she feels compassionate about the cause and has always wanted to make a difference. She says that the reports of climate change and human activity have ‘really shocked’ her. On this, she says, ‘It is our responsibility to look after the planet we live in’ and feels it is possible to live in a truly sustainable lifestyle.
Ximei wants to improve not just campus, but also other student areas such as Selly Oak and Harborne. However, she feels this may be difficult due to them being off-campus. Something else Ximei is aware of is levels of student engagement. Her key goals in Selly Oak are to reduce waste by implementing better recycling facilities and to increase food bank donations.
She wants to raise awareness of important issues such as climate change and fish stock depletion. Another idea is to introduce a Carbon Challenge scheme at university-owned accommodation, where those with the lowest energy usage would win a prize. Ximei feels she is ‘confident, compassionate and very bubbly’ and has previous experience with campaigning for environmental causes. She was an active member at her college’s charity committee and helped organise a number of events to raise awareness for marine conservation.
Apoorva did not have an interview with Redbrick. Their full manifesto can be found online on the Guild of Students website.