People & Planet campaigners at Samsung action
Image credit: People & Planet

The People & Planet network has elected four new Student Trustees to guide the radical organisation for the next two years.

They will join nine others on the Board of Trustees, the team of people who oversee all the work that People & Planet does, and keeps the organisation accountable, democratic, and student-led. The student network currently runs campaigns on workers rights, migrant rights and climate change.

How does it work?

Every year the People & Planet network elects 4 Student Trustees to the Board, who represent them for two year terms. This gives students the power to make sure People & Planet are fulfilling its aims by approving accounts and annual budgets, commenting on approving staff plans, and ensuring the office is working on the best projects to support student campaigns on campuses across the UK. Students always make up over 50% of the Board of Trustees including the position of Chair. This is supplemented by non-students selected for their areas of expertise, keeping the organisation transparent and open with the network it represents.

Who can stand?

Anyone can stand to be a Student Trustee, provided they are a student at the time of the election. Though candidates are often members of the People & Planet network, they do not have to be, and the organisation explicitly encourage nominations from women and non-binary people, people from ethnic minority backgrounds, disabled people, people with dependents or caring responsibilities and people from working class backgrounds. People with diverse perspectives and experiences improve and refresh the way People & Planet works and they welcome any candidates that share their values of equality, diversity, liberation and social justice.

You can nominate yourself to be a trustee at any point in the year, but elections take place in February.

Who can vote?

Any current student who is actively involved in the People & Planet network on any level is eligible to vote. The organisation uses online voting and the Single Transferable Vote system, which they believe provides the fairest outcome for both voters and candidates. It is important for students to vote for Student Trustees because they are a crucial mechanism to ensure People & Planet remains student-led, and represents the concerns, priorities and passion of the students that make up its network.

Who are the new trustees?

Emily Adams – University of Plymouth

Being an activist for Equality and the Environment has been in my drive since I can remember, with a passion for science close to my heart too. After joining my uni’s People & Planet society, I became very active and attended Power Shift; where I was provided with the resources to lead 2 campaigns at my university, and hosted a march to the Vice Chancellor’s office. People & Planet radiate passion and enthusiasm, and support students no end. Their mission to make activism as inclusive and accessible as possible is what this generation needs, and better yet they’ve shown it works.

Conor Haslem – University of Wales Trinity Saint David

I’ve been passively engaged in politics and global injustices for a long time but previously had no outlet to express this fully or be active in these passions until becoming involved with People & Planet when first moving to university. I attended that year’s regional event and later Power Shift 2018, between the amazing workshops and meeting like minded students I got a strong sense of empowerment. People & Planet not only offer a fantastic platform for activism, they make it accessible and I want to see this network grow and see other students at the centre of making real, progressive change in the world.

Beth Bhargava – University of Cambridge

Recent months have emphasised the wide-scale of contemporary environmental organising, as youth outrage at climate crisis has been articulated by striking students across the globe. In this context, groups such as People & Planet fulfil a truly vital role in connecting disparate groups, and ensuring that we can share resources for a common fight. Being heavily involved in Cambridge Zero Carbon’s campaign for divestment, I see the role of Student Trustee as one of many important links between local campaigns and the wider movement represented and supported by People & Planet.

Nick Werren – University of Surrey

I joined the People & Planet group at the University of Surrey at the beginning of the 2nd year of my PhD. I had become frustrated with simply talking about politics and decided that it was time for action. I was so happy to find that People & Planet combined radically progressive politics with pragmatic goals, this was the only way I could see us fighting for the future. As a Trustee, I want to bring my own experience of activism, media, and science to the role. I’ll support People & Planet as it continues its great work and pushes forwards into new directions.

Where next for People & Planet, where next for democracy?

As mentioned by the new Student Trustees, People & Planet is holding its annual national summer gathering, Power Shift, on 3rd – 7th July, where students organisers from across the country will come together to skill up, build connections, and have an amazing time. The event is open to all student activists, not just those from the network. At Power Shift there will be student democracy sessions for two of People & Planet’s campaigns: Sweatshop Free and Undoing Borders, ensuring students are in the driving seat for determining the future and directions of the campaigns they run. Book your ticket, meet the new Student Trustees, and get involved!