Student Trustee election Candidates 2021

People & Planet is a democratic and student-led network, be a part of it and vote for our new student trustees. The 2021 student trustee elections will be taking place from the 19th February to 1st March.

Register to vote by the 28th February!

How do the elections work?

Read the candidates' manifestos below and follow the unique voting link sent to your email inbox by OpaVote on Friday 19th February. If you haven't received the OpaVote link, make sure to register to vote and you will receive the email up to 24 hours later.

We use the online voting platform OpaVote to conduct the elections. 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!

Ria Patel, King's College London

Hi, I'm Ria! I'm a 2nd year Psychology student and I've been involved with People & Planet for a year. I first got involved through Divest Pride. For me, this is an important issue as I believe Pride should liberate all people rather than appropriating the fight for LGBTIQA+ rights for financial, corporate gain through Pinkwashing.

At my university, I set up the Undoing Borders campaign and was involved in the Sweatshop Free campaign. Ensuring our campus is welcoming to migrants and international students is a priority of mine as I think education is a vehicle for success and should be accessible to all. Being involved with P&P's campaigns let me develop a sound understanding of community organising, why it is necessary in the fight for equality, and why it's so important that organisations like P&P exist.

Social and climate justice are two importance issues, with both needing to be fought for equally as they are both intertwined. Giving power back to those who have been oppressed in society is a necessity to challenge inequality.

Although, I speak from a place of privilege, I think my lived experience as a Queer, Indian, disabled person allows for valuable insight and I will always stand with those marginalised. My characteristics allow for very creative, but analytical thinking, which I believe is necessary on a board of trustees.

I've loved being involved with P&P and would love to have your vote for trustee to support P&P further!

Kayla-Megan Burns, university of sTrathClyde

Hi, I’m Kayla-Megan Burns, the President at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. I have been connected to People and Planet for ~3 years:  I have organised and participated in a successful Fossil Free Campaign, and I was the P&P Rep on the COY Organising Committee.

I am passionate about student representation, climate justice, and feminism, and I am more than keen to bring your views to the table. I am certain that I have the necessary skills to do this after my experience in activism (so far), 2 years of experience as a trustee on both my Union’s and my University’s BoT– as well as 1 years’ experience as the Chair of the BoT in my Union.

How could I benefit P&P?

  • I have a multitude of experience representing and engaging students, and I could use this to ensure that P&P is adapting and accommodating to engage the maximum number of students with our cause, while ensuring that P&P considers the needs of ALL of its members on our path to justice.
  • I am accustomed to making strategic partnerships with organisations with similar objectives to achieve optimal campaign outcomes - I would love to amplify this in P&P campaigns.
  • Due to my time spent on other BoTs I would like to ensure that P&P balances forward planning, and reacting to the pandemic, in order to meet the needs of current and future generations of students, and so that our campaign for equity will last much longer than ourselves.

Ellen Carter, Loughborough University

I’m Ellen, and I currently study Politics and International Relations at Loughborough University. After campaigning with People & Planet since 2018, I am ready to take the next step to become a student trustee. I am reliable and responsible and have been heavily involved with the P&P network over the past three years at Loughborough. In particular, I have been campaigning for Divest Barclays and Undoing Borders. Some of our most significant successes have been stopping Barclays from attending careers events on campus and getting the uni to switch banks from Barclays; this was achieved via direct action and petitioning/open letters, which gained momentum and mass student support. I’m so proud to be a part of Loughborough’s P&P group as collectively we have achieved so much, including convincing the uni to stop purchasing electronic products from sweatshop labour in alignment with the Sweatshop Free campaign.

Thus, I have a thorough understanding of the P&P campaigns and have found participating incredibly rewarding, especially when linking the campaigns with the aims of the Feminist Society on campus, attracting new activists. My experience and adaptability will benefit P&P, as I have also engaged in digital activism throughout the Pandemic and am committed to furthering the campaigns which, when successful, will benefit society as a whole. I hope to continue volunteering with P&P to help empower the next generation of students as they enter university and positively impact the organisation and society as a whole.

Cora Morris, Cambridge University

Hi! I'm Cora, a second-year Politics and Anthropology student at Cambridge. I have been working with People and Planet and the Undoing Borders campaign for almost a year now, during which I have helped to facilitate meetings, workshops, and a successful Day of Action event in November.

In this time, what has struck me most is the supportive framework that People and Planet provides for young organisers, and the power of the national network that it facilitates: affording members a strong sense of both autonomy and community as they fight for their demands. I am running to be a Student Trustee because I want to support this vision for collaborative, non-hierarchical organising, which I hold as particularly vital in the arena of student activism. I believe that the university context affords us important opportunities to democratise knowledge, skills, and decision-making, such that our groups internally reflect the radical futures we are working to create.

Prior to working with P&P, the campaigning I have been involved with has been broadly grassroots organising, mostly in the LGBTQIA+ community. This has given me a strong sense of the need for outreach and intersectional solidarity work with community groups to achieve tangible localised change, alongside the demands we take to university management. As a Trustee, I would advocate for this to be a key component of P&P's activities going forward - particularly in the context of the ongoing pandemic, and its many consequences for the issues we campaign on.

Christina Laird, Edinburgh University

Hi I am Christina. In the past year, whilst undergoing my English Literature undergrad at Edinburgh University, I have been working with People and Planet. I would like to be a student trustee for People and Planet because I am passionate about the work that we do and the values that we pertain. During my time at university, I have gained valuable experience learning and improving my campaigning skills. Particularly, in the last 6 months, where my focus has been on supporting the team with the Undoing Border campaign, where we have been campaigning to end the Hostile Environment on campus through open letters, SU Motions, days of action, and fundraising; whilst crucially, amplifying the voices of migrant and international staff and students through panels and virtual events.

I have worked within club committees before, sitting on the committee for EUWHC in 2020-21, I affectively voiced my concerns, and pushed for better club practices, which resulted in 2 new roles being made and a greater focus on member welfare.

I am committed to People and Planet’s cause, and I am confident in my ability to listen, research, communicate, organise, and amplify the voices and values that we represent; these are the key attributes I hope will help me as a student trustee. I am looking forward to continuing to build and execute campaigns for People and Planet, and I hope in being a student trustee I can be even more involved in activist projects and organising in the future. 

Joseph Baker, University of Birmingham

I joined the People and Planet Undoing Borders campaign in Summer 2020 where I helped set a group up in Nottingham. Over the past few months, I’ve set up a new Undoing Borders group in Birmingham and have already built up links to unions, Anti-Casualisation groups, foodbanks and the wider student body. In my first year of university I helped lead a successful living wage campaign in Nottingham where I acted as the liaison between staff and students. In the UCU strikes in 2018 I had the same role where I helped organise a rally in support of striking staff. In the two rounds of strikes that followed in 2019/2020 I worked to increase union membership, increase engagement and solidarity among undergrads (particularly STEM students) and then helped organise and speak at another rally in the hammering rain (see picture). Having worked for action against hunger in my first year of uni (raising around £3500.00) I have some experience with charity law and managing risk and resources.

This experience shows I have the capacity to help lead a broad (in terms of age, gender, class and race), pluralist powerful movement inclusive of all parties and factions. Having been involved in campaigns and activism for 7 years (starting with an anti-austerity rally I organised in 2014) I know how essential it is to build solidarity among different groups to use collective action to force change. As a student trustee I would ensure this would remain central to People and Planets work.