Candidates in the Union of UEA Students 2015 student election were contacted by The Norwich Radical. Responses received by the deadline are presented here, unedited, on an equal platform – candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Manifestos can be found here: www.ueastudent.com/manifestos Voting closes at midday on Friday 13th March. Vote online here: www.ueastudent.com/vote
Why should students support you, in light of The Norwich Radical’s founding statement?
I have always been interested in the environmental impact we humans have on the ecosystem we are inherently linked to. That is why, this year, I have decided to run for Environment Officer.
Minimising the impact I have on the environment is vitally important to me and influences just about every decision I make be it the food I eat or the clothes I wear. I believe that raising awareness amongst the student body of what they too can do to reduce their environmental impact is a step, admittedly a small one, towards a better future.
My policies include a promise to run “the Big Switch” campaign to encourage students to switch to energy companies specialising in renewables. I feel this will empower students to take control of who they invest their money in whilst reducing our reliance on the Big Six. These companies are famous for corrupt business practices that force millions into fuel poverty, a commitment to renewables that extends only as far as their need for greenwash and a workforce dominated by men. If successful, this campaign will green up the energy supply for a large proportion of the houses in Norwich having extensive long term effects.
My other policies include getting Union House a photovoltaic panel, increasing provision of recycled stationery in the shop and providing more places to compost the new biodegradable cups in Unio.
I feel mitigating climate change requires a complete overhaul in the way we view our consumption habits. However many of the small-scale solutions to reducing our environmental impact lie in providing alternatives for people. Thereby making the transition to a more sustainable lifestyle as easy as possible.
I believe that ethics are, at their best, directly relevant and accountable to students, rooted in the lives of all at UEA. That’s why, if elected, I propose a review of all our ethical and environmental policies and a new consultative group, with more student representation on it. This way there is more student engagement with ethical issues on campus. I will look to continue to lobby the University to pay a Living Wage to all staff as the Union has done. The implementation of the living wage is something that I am extremely passionate about, as it fundamental to creating a fair and more equal society. This is why if elected to be Ethical issues officer I will continue to support the living wage being provided on campus. Another one of my policies is to campaign for more water fountains on campus, to ensure there is more access to water. This is a crucial part of my manifesto water should be free and easily accessible and on campus at this moment in time in is not. The only way students can get free drinking water is in the Hive, this should not be the case. Also I will work with senior residents and halls of residence to ensure our campus delivers on environmental sustainability and is a place where you can be you regardless of sexuality, race, gender or ability. I will do this by providing by monthly/termly reviews of all issues and problems of campus. Finally I will work with the university, providing food on campus being fair trade and ethically sourced whilst ensuring costs to students is kept down. This will help provide a clear message that all food being produced and sold on campus being ethical yet at a price all students can afford.
Why is it Time for Tom on Ethical Issues? As such a political active university, in such a historically politically active city, issues of ethics are some of the most important questions we can pose ourselves as a Union. I wholeheartedly believe certain, decisive changes are long overdue and I will efficiently deliver them as an officer of the Union.
A Living Wage establishes a fundamentally local, justiciable wealth distribution. For no group is this more relevant en masse, than for students. Confining our efforts to the walls of campus is wrong. As Ethical Issues Officer, I would maintain that the Union campaigns to Norwich City Council for the wage to be introduced in top student employers off-campus. I hold many connections at Council and am in fact running for election to it in May, in Bowthorpe ward.
Our judgement, as a morally-sound collective of students, should be that of fairly boycotting companies that avoid tax and fund terrorist acts. This should be together as the union, not as an élite running the union. I will collaborate with other officers, representatives and popular consultations of union members to institute effective policies. These include sustainable cycling provisions and a policy of my own creation – reducing healthy and gluten-free food costs to ensure the gluten-intolerant and those leading a healthy lifestyle aren’t put out of pocket.
Engagement will increase the legitimate nature of the officers and representatives of the union massively. We need to watch, listen and learn what it is our members truly desire. Those who play executive and legislature in any given organisation are servants to their members; and rightly so. Activities and workshops must see a spike in activity, including advice on mental health and negligent landlords, to maintain UEA’s position as number one for student satisfaction.