The 60 second manifestos were recorded and produced by YSTV.
I am currently employed as the Environmental Officer for Halifax College, representing over 2700 students. Although I have only been in this position for a few months, I have already made several improvements to the college. These include making students aware of how to improve their recycling efforts, and how to reduce their electricity usage.
Restoring Halifax's allotment is my current project, as creating more green spaces around campus is a measure that I am highly passionate about. As I am a part of the edible uni society, I hope to implement more projects like this university-wide. By planting more greenery through these initiatives, I aim to make York a more pleasant place to study and socialize within, whilst of course helping to protect our natural wildlife. I would also aim to increase the amount of free fruit and vegetables grown on allotment plots such as this that are available to students. Doing so will hopefully make undergraduates more aware of the process behind producing food, increasing their appreciation for this labour, and hopefully decreasing their food waste.
Furthermore, in order to help decrease food wastage, which is an increasing problem within universities, I would implement a free food campaign. The basic principle would be similar to that of a Facebook buy/sell group. If anyone on campus or nearby has food in their fridge nearing its sell by date which they cannot eat due to going away for a few days, or not having a suitable recipe, it would be advertised online for anyone interested to collect for free. If this was successfully marketed and advertised, it could seriously reduce the amount of edible food that is sent to landfill by students. I would also encourage campus shops and cafe's to also use this page. For example, if Nisa has perishable items that hadn't sold, or if the Library cafe had sandwiches left unsold at the end of the day.
Being a brand ambassador and auditor for the NUS organization student switch off has highlighted many ways the University could improve its environmental impact. Many student accommodation buildings do not have the full range of recycling bins available to them, resulting in many recyclable items such as glass put in the generic waste bin. I have also noticed that many halls have radiators which cannot be turned off, meaning that they are running 24 hours a day, even if no residents are present. Not only is this highly wasteful it also means communal areas such as the kitchen can be uncomfortably warm and unpleasant to be in. Additionally, many halls have lights which are always running. Again, not only is this wasteful, but residents complained about struggling to sleep as the light was visible under their doors keeping them awake.
Lastly, there are increasing reports of studies showing that animal agriculture is a leading factor in climate change and deforestation. As a member of VegSoc I would like to promote veganism as a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle for all students who care about the environment. Initially this would be by increasing the amount of vegan options available at YUSU restaurants, both sandwiches and hot food. Hopefully I would be able to expand this to create on campus events to promote this further.
Overall, I believe that my previous experience, knowledge and passion will enable me to be a successful Environment & Ethics Officer. I have many ideas I would like to implement and would enjoy working alongside fellow students and staff who share this ambition with me.