People & Planet Student trustees
Students make up over half of our governing body, the Board of Trustees, which oversees the work that People & Planet does. The board of trustees guides the long-term planning, finances and legal existence of People & Planet and oversees all the work the organisation does to make that sure it’s working in the best interests of student campaigners.
2021 Student Trustee Elections
Every year in spring we hold elections to vote for our new student trustees. Any student involved in People & Planet can nominate themselves to be a student trustee and vote in the elections. The 2021 student trustee elections took place from the 19th February to 1st March. This year there were six candidates from groups across the network standing for the four positions.
Elected student trustees
People & Planet strives to be student-led by:
supporting campaigns that our student network has democratically chosen;
providing skills training to empower students to run the campaigns of their choice;
having over 50% elected student representation on our Board of Trustees and;
having a student Chair of the Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees guides the long-term planning, finances and legal existence of People & Planet. The BoT works to oversee all the work the organisation does, and to make sure that it’s working in the best interests of student campaigners. This is why having a majority of student trustees around the table is so important: you know what’s affecting activism in your universities first-hand.
Board meetings are held four times per year. We are currently meeting remotely by Zoom, but we anticipate returning to in person meetings as soon as this is safe for everyone. In the past these have been in Oxford, London or in the North, varying locations to improve accessibility for trustees, so having the ability to travel to these is necessary. Office staff are also invited along to meetings in an informative capacity and to present and get feedback on our campaign strategies and movement building initiatives. We like to socialise casually after meetings too as we’re a friendly and welcoming bunch.
Voting took place from 19th February to 1st March 2021. 381 students who are an active part of the People & Planet network & beyond registered to vote and 177 cast their ballot. There will be an option for newly elected trustees to attend the next Board meeting in March before officially starting their 3-year terms in July 2021.
"Being a trustee has been a great opportunity to understand the workings of the network from the administrative side, as well as provide an invaluable student perspective to meetings. The organisation is run with the best interests of its members in mind, and being able to represent the students who dedicate so much time to campaigning is really rewarding, as is feeling as though you're setting the groundwork for future generations of student activists."
Paula LaCey, Current student trustee
"I have really enjoyed my time as a student trustee for P&P. After being involved in running their campaigns at university and being a regional co-ordinator for a couple of years, it felt like the logical next step to get involved at the board level. I would highly recommend putting yourself up for nomination to be on the board, as the experience that students bring to the board from being a part of the student network and the opportunity to be a voice for students in guiding the direction of the organisation is invaluable. It is also a brilliant opportunity to work more closely with and support the staff, learn about how a charitable organisation functions and the challenges they face, and get to know inspiring student and non-student trustee members as well as giving back to an organisation that has done so much for students and others."
Lara Bloch, student trustee 2018-2020
Who can nominate themselves to be a student trustee?
Any student involved in People & Planet on their campus can nominate themselves to be a student trustee. You don’t need to be part of an official People & Planet society on your campus. If you help run the Fossil Free, Divest Barclays, Sweatshop Free or Undoing Borders campaign on your campus (even if part of a different society) then you can nominate yourself. You have to be a current student when you nominate yourself but not for your three years as a student trustee (eg. you can nominate yourself to be a student trustee in your final year of university and be a student trustee for the next two years)
What does being a student trustee involve?
As a student trustee you are expected to attend 4 Board of Trustee meetings each year that take place over Zoom or in different locations around the UK. BoT meetings normally take place on a Saturday from 11-4pm. People & Planet cover your travel expenses to and from these meetings. You are expected to support with overseeing the work the organisation does, and to make sure that it’s working in the best interests of student campaigners. As a student trustee you are expected to participate in working groups which complete tasks outside of Board meetings, and maintain good communication with the rest of the Board and P&P staff. You can additionally choose to support different bits of work that People & Planet do, whether your interest is in fundraising, campaign strategy or growing the network.
How do the elections work?
Anyone who is currently a student at a UK university and is involved in People & Planet on their campus are eligible to vote. Voting is done online via the online voting and elections website http://www.opavote.com.
Voting is done using proportional representation, using the Single Transferable Vote system which is a system of ranking candidates in order of preference so that the candidates with the broadest support win. Check out this short video from Southampton Students' Union which explains the Single Transferable Vote system in 2 minutes with Homer Simpson!
When will I find out the results?
The results will be available to see on our social media, normally the day after the voting closes.
What happens if I win?
People & Planet will be in contact with you soon after to talk about your induction, which will be set of online training sessions. You will also be notified of the first Board of Trustee meeting that you are expected to attend.
"I really enjoyed and learnt so much from being a People & Planet student trustee, including spending a year and a half as Chair of the Board. It's a great opportunity to strengthen links between grassroots campaigning and governance of the national network and provide student leadership on the strategic direction of P&P's campaigning and organising. It also gave me the skills and confidence to apply to P&P's internship program through which I then coordinate the Fossil Free campaign nationally."
Chris Saltmarsh, former student trustee and co-director at People & Planet