Why be a student trustee?

By: PJ Cameron

People & Planet 2019 Student Trustee Elections are taking place from 18th to 28th February. Nominations are open until 10th February, and voter registration closes on 17th. For more details, check out this page. The following are reflections about her experience on the board by PJ Cameron, a current student trustee and former Chair.

Want to know how a small grassroots organisation with a big impact works? Keen to have a hand in its strategy, planning and budget? Chuck a welcoming, inclusive environment where your opinions are valued into the mix – and surely being a student trustee for People & Planet is a winner. Looking back over my two-year term, I can wholeheartedly say that running to be a trustee was one of the most fantastic decisions I made at uni.

At the time, I was a little unsure and nearly didn’t do it. Despite the fact that I had been an active member of P&P for over a year, I had little confidence about my ability to make decisions at a higher level in the organisation. Nevertheless, I pushed myself to do it and successfully joined the board. I was nervous about the induction training but the style was relaxed and it was really interesting to learn more about the structure of the organisation and how the board worked.

I walked into my first meeting feeling much more prepared to take it on (though still nervous), but once again was immediately calmed and impressed by the warm, friendly atmosphere. There was a lot to get through on the agenda and important discussions to be had regarding the budget and P&P’s 3-year strategy, but the discussions were inclusive and questions were welcomed. And it was so interesting to learn so many things I would have never known about the organisation simply from being a society member.

From then on, I’ve looked forward to each meeting and always come away feeling positive and productive. Being a trustee has improved my confidence massively – so much so, that I decided to put myself forward as chair of the board. This has been a big learning curve for me, with the second meeting I facilitated running much better than the first! The opportunity to do this and the push to connect with staff further has greatly improved my skills and I now feel in a much better position to start a career fighting climate change. And to top it all off, the board is full of inspiring, good-humoured people who I’ve loved getting to know at post-meeting pub visits.

Basically I would just highly recommend being a student trustee for P&P! If you do decide to submit an application, something to note is the more you put in the more you get out of the experience (much like most things in life I suppose) – so if you get elected, get excited and dive right in.