Getting back into the spirit of student politics came as a refreshing shock last night in the form of Guild Council. Having attended numerous meeting for what now seems like a tiny tiny organisation called Exeter College Students Union I had a fairly good idea of what to expect. Lots of talk about dreary issues that we had no power to implement or desire to do so from the students. However once in the Guild Council Chambers, with a little electronic voting card in my palm, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d got involved with something that could actually make some exciting changes. Any sense of cynicism that had built up over the course of last year left me and I waited, flicking through the agenda, for the rest of the councillors to take their seats. However personal impressions aside, what was it that was actually discussed and decided upon at last night’s council?
The guild has decided to sign up for the 10/10 campaign. This is a pledge to cut its emissions by ten per cent by 2010. The major political parties have signed up for this already, as have a thousands of individuals, businesses and organisations such as O2, Royal Mail, Comic relief and of course NUS! This is a great way to educate people about climate change and suggest simple ways they can cut their emissions. You can sign up at http://www.1010uk.org/ and take the challenge.
The guild also agreed to implement new policy which will promote blood donation on campus but oppose the archaic rules that the NHS has in place which do not allow gay or bi men to donate if they have had sex with a man in the last 12 months or for woman who have had sex with a man, who has had sex with a man in the last 12 months.
Among other things there is to be greater transparency between students and the Ethical and Environmental forum, the minutes of which are to be made available and consultations between students and the officer compulsory. This is great news as the more consultation we have with students the better our decisions will become.
Guild council was not all good news. We decided to allow shell oil to advertise in the guild. This is a serious ethical issue and I’m certain that if most students knew the implications of supporting such a company they would be appalled. Shell have pursued an anti-union policy and have drastically effected the environment in Peru where they recently installed several new oil platforms. Not to mention attempting to dump obsolete oil storage platforms in the North Sea Trench.