Meet The 2022 SU Candidates: Billy Thornett And Hope Palfrey For Environment And Social Justice Officer

Ellie Ames

Billy and Hope are running in the 2022 SU elections for the role of Environment and Social Justice officer. They are running together, so would share the role if they were successful. Impact’s Ellie Ames caught up with them to ask a few questions.  

Q1) What makes you good candidates for the role of Environment and Social Justice officer?  

Billy: I’ve been passionate about the environment basically forever, and I think now is the time to actually do something about it – obviously, there’s a climate emergency going on. I’ve also got quite a lot of experience with environmental campaign groups.  

Hope: I’ve been involved in some activism groups, and the thing that I’ve learnt from that is that science can only take you so far – you hear scientists talking about the conclusions they’ve come to, but the government continues to ignore that.  

It’s taught me that the only way to get things done is to bring people together – and I want to do that, so I think I’d be good at being part of the Student Union.

“It kind of makes me a bit angry that we’re not sorting it out, and we really should be”

Q2) What made you decide to run for the role?  

Billy: Climate change! Young people at university have a lot to lose if nothing improves. As a student, one of the only ways to get anything done is influencing your local learning environment to make a change.  

It seems kind of ridiculous that a university consisting of so many students that are passionate about this issue doesn’t take a lead on anything – it kind of makes me a bit angry that we’re not sorting it out, and we really should be.  

Hope: I think, all the way from high school to now, students can feel a bit disconnected, and we don’t really come together to do anything. I feel like this would be a good way to try and start that up again.  

Q3) What would you do to encourage students, and the university as a whole, to become more sustainable? 

Hope: We need to take the pressure away from individuals and put it on the institutions that have the power. Our university is leading in sustainable technology, and it does have the research there, but it’s not listening to its scientists.  

We really want to bring the staff who have these amazing ideas, and the students who are affected by the climate crisis, together. Then we can demand the university to do better.  

Billy: For example, the most important thing an individual can do to lower their carbon footprint is to reduce the impact of the food they eat.  

The university has the power to help us do that, by only sourcing sustainable food, so it ensures that people’s choices in halls, or in Spar, are sustainable – and it’s currently not doing that. So, we’d change that. 

“Students deserve to have work experience that is ethical, and we should be ensuring that that is accessible”

Q4) One of the policies in your manifesto involves ending the university’s partnerships with weapons manufacturers. Why is this important, and how would you go about achieving this?  

Hope: The university has partnerships with Rolls Royce and BAE systems, and so some students may not have any other options than to go into these companies for work experience. These corporations sell weapons to regimes, which could end up being used against civilians in Yemen, for instance, and they’re having one of the worst humanitarian crises at the moment.  

It means that the university is complicit in this violence and destruction. Students deserve to have work experience that is ethical, and we should be ensuring that that is accessible.  

Billy: We’d make some ethics guidelines that the university has to follow to set up new partnerships. Obviously, we don’t want students to miss out on job opportunities and work experience, so we’d have to replace companies like Rolls Royce and BAE systems with companies that are ethical.  

Hope: There is already a campaign being run to demilitarise the University of Nottingham, so we’d work with them too.

Q5) Finally, after a night out, where are you going for food and what are you having?  

Hope: I like pizza!  

Billy: Probably McDonalds. I’m a big fan of their veggie wrap. It’s actually really good. It gets a bad ‘wrap’ – haha – but it’s pretty banging. 

Voting for the 2022 SU elections closes at 1pm on Friday 25th March.

You can read Billy and Hope’s manifesto and vote in the elections here.

Ellie Ames

Featured image courtesy of Chiara Crompton. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image courtesy of Max Harries. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

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