A banner dropped by student activists at the University of Surrey reading "BAE systems: Get the fuck off our campus"

Students at the University of Surrey organised a day of mass disruption on their campus on 18 October. Activists from Surrey People & Planet coordinated a series of stunts in protest at the fossil fuel industry engaging in recruitment activities at the university, and over what the group calls the “influence of the arms industry” at the institution. Students dropped multiple banners, put up posters and threw glitter over recruitment stands.

Before the start of the careers fair, a group of students dropped banners on the entrance to the university’s Stag Hill campus, reading ‘BAE systems get the f*ck off our campus’ and ‘warning, killers on our campus’. Several posters were also put up along the access road highlighting what the student group deems the “unethical practices” of firms advertising careers on the campus that day.

Later in the day, two activists threw glitter and fliers on the recruitment stalls for energy firm Fluor and and aerospace and defence firm Northrop Grumman. The fliers read “help us kick the fossil fuel industry out of our uni” and “killers not welcome here”.

The disruption of the careers fair follows a series of demonstrations organised by students calling for the university to exclude fossil fuel firms from student recruitment activity. In 2022, University of Surrey students’ union agreed to boycott fossil fuel company recruitment.

Similar campaigns are present on over 30 university campuses across the UK, as part of the national Fossil Free Careers campaign coordinated by student activist network People & Planet. So far, six universities have excluded the fossil fuel industry from all careers service activities and 15 students’ unions have also agreed to boycott oil, gas and mining recruitment.

A spokesperson for People & Planet Surrey, said: “The fossil fuel and arms industries are some of the most destructive on the planet, and it’s disgraceful that the university continues to take their blood money and promote their careers. Both students and staff are united: We will not accept this endorsement by the university, and we will continue to disrupt any and all fossil fuel and arms industry activity on our campus.”

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