A photo of Jamie Payne holding a placard reading "Vote Green Party"

The Young Greens is the youth and student wing of the Green Party of England and Wales. This summer, members of the Young Greens will be voting to elect a new executive. Bright Green is offering each of the candidates a chance to set out their vision.

Since joining the party in 2020, I have helped set up the Lancaster University Green Party society, joined my local party executive as the Young Green representative, run in a Lancaster City Council by-election, finishing second but increasing the Green Party vote share by 11%, and attended the Young Greens’ 30 under 30 programme. I now look forward to my next challenge within the party by hopefully earning your vote to elect me as a Green Students Committee co-convenor and create meaningful change for students as part of the fantastic Green Students Campaign Committee and Young Greens Executive Committee.

It is clear from election results that students support Green policies and vote for the Green Party; however, we need to see more of these votes transformed into involvement in the party. Increasing the number of Young Green university societies would give a clear and easy avenue for more students who already support us to get more actively involved. Ultimately, I believe the Young Greens should be aiming to have a society at every university in England and Wales, akin to Labour and the Tories. Whilst this is a long way off at the moment, I believe we need to be ambitious with our aims and be active in encouraging students to set up societies at their universities so we can begin to increase the presence of the Young Greens on campuses all over the country.

The continued growth of the Green Party must be reflected on campuses by offering left-wing students an alternative to Labour clubs. The knock-on effect of more Young Green societies would be an increase in the number of Young Greens involved in student elections and student campaigns. Green students have the ideas and policies to make positive change at universities and are part of the only party that will always put the environment at the centre of every policy. Therefore, we need more of them to run in student elections. Similarly, Green students have a pivotal role to play in wider student campaigns, again meaning that increasing the number of societies is important to help recruit more Young Greens and get them involved in important campaigns.

In order to facilitate these goals, two of my key priorities if elected Green Students Campaign Committee co-convener are to offer practical and readily available support to those seeking to set up a group at their university and facilitate strong networks between university societies across the country. Offering support to help people set up new Young Green university societies is important because setting up a new society can be a very long and difficult task. Therefore, the Green Students Campaign Committee should be actively seeking out those who want a Young Green society at their university and offer, for example, help writing a constitution, finding other Young Greens attending the same university, and climbing through the various bureaucratic loopholes often required to get societal recognition from students’ unions. Of course, in reality, the support offered could vary depending on each group’s needs. Similarly, building stronger networks between university societies will be beneficial, with larger groups supporting those newly formed and all groups sharing tips and ideas with each other. Furthermore, this would allow students to become more easily involved in the
wider party rather than just student politics at their university.

Through these changes, in the long-term, there would be more Green students available to run in student elections and organise important campaigns to support all students – offering a progressive Green vision. In the short-term I would, of course, seek out those campaigns that will benefit students and ensure the Young Greens are actively involved in them, and offer the practical support and advice required for Young Greens standing for elections. However, my campaign focuses primarily on increasing the presence of the Young Greens across university campuses because this would set the foundation for a future where Young Green students are already central to student campaigns and elections without help from the Green Students Campaign Committee. If elected, I am personally prepared to put in the hard work needed to achieve these aims as well as work collaboratively as part of a wider team to benefit students and help other Committee members fulfil their goals as well.

Overall, Green students have the ideas and policies to make positive change at universities but to have them standing more frequently and widely across the country, we need to increase our numbers, which is why I’m standing to be Green Students Campaign Committee co-convener.

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