Good luck to the new Young Green EC – You’ve got a hard job ahead of you

 

According to our own constitution, “the Young Greens aim to encourage young people to become active in politics and within the Green Party of England and Wales”. Other sections state our aim to “secure a society in which all can participate equally”. Whilst these are brilliant aims to have at the core, I cannot help but feel that the Young Greens have lost sight of their overall aim for equality and inclusion.

In the two years that I have been a member of both the Green Party of England and Wales, and its youth-wing, I have lost count of the number of times I have witnessed or been informed of cliques operating within the leadership of the organisation and it always appears to rear its ugly head during election season. The Young Greens elections have just finished and as the dust settles, we are left with a new Executive Committee (EC) who have vaguely pledge to ‘forge better relationships with members’ and ‘offer more support for grassroots actions’.

This year has been a particularly hard one for the Greens, with a disappointing election result that some have dubbed as the end of the Green surge. With many members flocking to Corbyn’s Labour, the Greens are under pressure to re-evaluate their current strategy in order to stand out in the extremely competitive political market. One key area that is being repeatedly overlooked is within our student population. With Corbyn pledging to eliminate tuition fees, the Greens need to be much more creative and vocal in order to win back student support.

One of the keys ways to engage with students is through the form of student groups and societies. Green student groups are popping up at sixth forms and universities across the country and these are great ways of mobilising groups of young people to campaign on issues at the heart of both local and Green politics. However, the inaccessibility of Green politics to students is extremely off-putting and is an issue that is continuing to plague the progression of the Young Greens. Campaigns and events, such as the recent ‘Save the Bees’ campaign are incredible in terms of environmental justice, but they reinforce the connotations that the Green Party is a space which appeals to middle-class white people rather than the working class masses and BME members.

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The Young Greens ‘People Not Numbers’ campaign is one that received an enormous amount of interest at our Fresher’s Fair this year. People were regularly asking questions about the campaign and its increased relevance to current society. With QMSU winning the NUS Best Campaign Award for their ‘Freeze Our Fees’ campaign, the topic of fee hikes is always at the forefront of student’s minds on campus. The fact that QMUL did not agree to freeze international students’ fees is also a discriminatory slap around the face for all of our international students, especially considering the fact that Queen Mary claims to pride itself on its outstanding number of international students and its outreach programs.

However, the Fresher’s materials sent to us by the Young Green HQ contained only posters advertising the campaign with little instruction or direction given to us. Young Greens really need to start focusing on creating and supporting grassroots campaigns that are loud and long-lasting and are more than just a poster stating an aim. They must be enabling and supportive to student groups allowing them to be able to demand that international students receive the same rights as home students, to insist that the racist and Islamophobic Prevent strategy has no place in our educational institutions within the UK and to recognise a need for tailoring Young Greens accessibility to those who are the most disadvantaged within their university settings.

It is about time that the Young Greens, as a group, eliminated the intimidating and childish clique façade and began to properly focus on getting the most potential out of its membership. The factionalism that is dominating Young Labour is likely to lead to a chaotic and confusing movement which we cannot mirror: just look at the divisions within the NUS which have been caused by senior Young Labour member’s disagreements over Free Education! Young Greens members are incredibly politically-minded, creative and hard-working individuals, who, with the right leadership and direction, could become a tremendous political force within UK politics. On the Young Greens website, it states; “we believe that our political system must be changed from the inside as well as by wider society”. We’re ready for a national organisation that empowers and inspires its members, which fights full-heartedly and relentlessly for social and environmental justice and is accessible to all, and doesn’t embrace exclusionary cliques as we have seen previously!

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On the Elections…

It’s that time again, when overly enthusiastic strangers start speaking to you, people wander around the university in absurd costumes (read: Dinghy) and you hear the words ‘please vote’ more than the words ‘red beer’. It’s the QMSU elections! Or at least it will be, soon. And if you want to partake in this carnival of narcissism all you must do is lay your soul bare to thousands of people by nominating yourself via this link https://www.qmsu.org/elections/

Last year I ran for a sabbatical role and even without winning, the elections opened up so many opportunities for me that I never would have envisioned. I was lucky enough this year to be elected onto student council as a part-time councillor. (Two campaigns in 6 months, someone thinks a lot of themselves, don’t they?) I met a lot of wonderful people during the elections, most significantly for me, I got involved with the Greens and subsequently made invaluable friends. But the most important thing I gained from running last year, and I’m aware how sickly-sweet this sounds, is what I learnt about myself. It’s not until you’re talking to a hundred strangers a day about current issues that you come to realise what you really and truly care about. The process tested me in a way that no other has, it tested my character, my knowledge, and my ability to function on a startling lack of sleep.

A lot of people who run have a campaign team, personally, I didn’t, but what I did have was a few close friends who supported me emotionally, and trust me when I say that the latter is not only the more important but it is life-saving. Elections are emotionally and physically exhausting, If you’re running for one of the big four roles the chances are you’ll read less than positive things about yourself on social media, and hear them through the grape-vine. That’s not to say it’s even perpetrated by those you’re running against. Sadly, when you’re running in such a public way for such a public position it just happens, you open yourself up to be critiqued. It’s a hard thing to face such blatant dehumanisation of yourself and your ideas, but it’s also necessary. You’re asking thousands of people to let you represent them to the institution with which they have entrusted their money and their education and whilst sometimes those critiques can toe the line between constructive and cruel, they are realities that should be faced.

I get asked a lot if I’d recommend running. For me, it was the right decision and I’ll never regret taking the chance to talk about issues and causes I cared about. I wouldn’t recommend the process to everyone though. Unfortunately, the nature of the process makes it alienating for those with mental health issues and has in some cases exacerbated them. The process is mentally straining and your own mental health is something that should always take priority. However, the elections offer an unparalleled platform to fight for what you believe in. The sincerest feeling of pride I’ve ever experienced was knowing I had changed people’s minds. Not just about who to vote for, but about me, I saw people around me become more and more supportive after seeing how hard I had worked. There’s not much that beats that. My honest advice is this: if any part of you wants to do it, you should. Ideas are like are like 00’s pop songs, they are catchy and spread like wild-fire. During the elections, people are listening carefully to what you have to say and the power of that shouldn’t be underestimated. If you feel like you’re ready to fight, don’t let anything or anyone hold you back.

And remember, whatever happens, you do not need to win in order to be proud of yourself.

By Gemma Meredith

 

#FreezeOurFees – QM Students stand up against yet more hikes in fees

“Students will understandably be outraged at any suggestion universities could be allowed to put fees up even higher in order to improve teaching quality. It was only four years ago tuition fees were trebled and students now face debts up to £53,000 when they graduate,” states Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President for Higher Education. Since the reveal of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which was part of the Government’s White Paper on higher education reforms in early 2016, there has been an outcry of protest from many students. The TEF aims to award universities on their teaching quality, based on various factors including graduate salaries six months after graduating, degree classification and National Student Survey (NSS) results. If the TEF assesses the university as an institute of high-level teaching, it then enables that university to raise their fees for both incoming and continuing students in rise with inflation. This means that tuition fees are set to increase by £250 for the 2017/2018 academic year, however this is an option for those universities, not a requirement, which is exactly what QMUL are planning to do.

In April 2016, the National Union of Students (NUS) voted to support widespread industrial action in the form of a boycott of the NSS. As the NSS is being used as a metric within the TEF, it is being utilised as part of the wider campaign to prevent the government’s higher education reforms. Boycotting the NSS isn’t just about attempting to halt the universities plans to increase fees, it is part of a much wider scheme that is united in opposing the government’s HE reforms, including forcing marketisation onto the university sector and allowing private providers further access to education provision. The NSS scores are directly related to the ability that the university has to increase their tuition fees, by being used as a metric for the TEF. By attempting to get students’ unions to endorse an NSS boycott, the movement is showing that people are not happy with the treatment of students.

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QMSU attending the National #FreezeOurFees demonstration.

In the second Student Council of the year at QMSU, Monty Shield proposed a motion: ‘Should the Union boycott the National Student Survey?’. The motion was one of the most highly debated for this academic year, but it did not pass. A key argument against was that the uncertainty of a boycott could be detrimental to our students’ welfare. This argument, to me, is not only just wrong, but also insulting. As someone who has struggled constantly throughout my three years at university with finances, the idea that not boycotting the NSS could affect my welfare is baffling. For the last year and half, I have held down two part-time jobs, equalling out about 40 hours a week. Not only is working for such long hours severely detrimental to my mental health, but with the quality of part-time jobs in London not being the best, I have suffered greatly from the brunt of the Tories’ austerity measures.

Other arguments against the motion were that the sabbatical officers are currently campaigning against the rises in fees, as well as the rest of the negative effects of the TEF, with the launch of the ‘‘#FreezeOurFees’ campaign launching today. Two weeks ago, Miranda Black (QMSU President) ran the ‘Scream Mary’ campaign that included a section on the TEF and collectively with Adam Sparkes; we managed to get around 500 signatures on the petition against the TEF bill in just over eight hours on campus. The reaction we received from these students ranged from outrage to bemusement, and the large majority of students were against tuition fees increase, along with the privatisation and ranking of universities spelt out by the TEF. Those speaking in favour of the boycott have had first-hand experience of speaking to these students.

The campaign is growing in QMSU, aided by the attendance of a group at the NUS’ Defend Education demonstration on Saturday. The protest saw almost fifteen thousand students marching in solidarity. QMYG attended, along with all four sabbatical officers, and others, to demand that this government prioritises the demands of students to not increase tuition fees. The march was supported a number of political parties that were all fighting against the marketization of our education systems. This protest comes just days before the third reading of the bill in parliament. The outlook is not looking good, with the likelihood of the government legislating the Higher Education Bill looking extremely probable. Student groups across the country need to keep working together to show their solidarity against these changes. This is not something that we, as students, should take.

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‘Theresa Gay’ campaigning with students at the #UnitedForEducation demonstration on Saturday.

QMSU will be launching their ‘#FreezeOurFees’ campaign today, alongside a petition. Whilst the university continue to negotiate whether or not to raise fees for both their current and incoming students, students are encouraged to speak out. With regards to the launch of the campaign, Adam Sparkes (VP Welfare) said “Queen Mary Students Union’s executive officers are committed to ensuring a raise in fees for our students does not go ahead. Signing our petition is just the start of the ‘#FreezeOurFees’ campaign. If our University won’t listen this campaign will continue to build. All options are open to us at the moment, and we will use every tactic we can to show the University we will not tolerate a rise in fees.”.

QMYG wholly endorse this campaign, and we urge students to sign up and voice their anger. QMYG also support the NUS campaign to boycott the NSS. Unless the discussions about raising fees end in a universal agreement against the idea, for both incoming and current students, other measures can be used in place and we will fight QMUL using any means necessary. They cannot expect students to keep forking out thousands of pounds for an education system that is simply not worth the increasing amounts of money. Our advice to you, as QMUL students, is to stand up and join us in this struggle. Sign the QMSU petition linked below* and show your outrage at these proposed increases and let your voice be heard. As Adam said, if this fails we will reorganise and come back stronger. This is something that will affect not just us today, but future generations of students and we need to be unified and strong in fighting yet more austerity measures to our society.

15128996_10207665404369345_7166674932601972701_o-1* – https://www.qmsu.org/freezeourfees/ – Sign the petition here if you are a currently enrolled QMUL student.

We Should Celebrate (Not Challenge) Mental Health Awareness on Campus

‘Procrastinating, being over-tired, lacking in concentration, and eating poorly’ are of course all characteristics of a student life which involves working hard, and usually partying even harder. However these traits often stem from mental health problems that are not related to student life and any attempt to treat them as a necessary part of studying is both, extremely naïve and dangerous.

Most universities across the UK now offer advice and counselling services which provides support to students who aren’t being taught to be mentally ill, but are simply seeking to get their head sorted in order to learn and achieve to the best of their abilities. This is great, but services have been increasingly put under an ever greater strain as a result of austerity, which highlights the connection between capitalism, austerity and mental health (a healthy population doesn’t make money for private companies or NHS contractors). Between 2010 and 2015, £600m had been lost from the NHS budget specifically for Mental Health services in England according to mental health charity, Mind. Less money means less support and less support means students with mental health conditions will face greater difficulties in completing their studies as best they can. Despite these cuts, universities are trying to pour more resources into mental health campaigns.

Campaigns on campuses are now occurring throughout the academic year which is an indication that universities are finally beginning to treat mental health seriously as they recognise that simply discussing these issues during Fresher’s week does not go far enough. However, not everyone agrees with this vital step forward. In an article entitled ‘Teaching Students to be Mentally Ill’, the Scottish NUS faces criticism for a campaign which aimed to tackle the stigmatisation of mental health. What possible justification is there for being so against a campaign which seeks to stop mental health being a taboo subject on campuses in the UK? These campaigns should be celebrated and appreciated by all students, not challenged and attacked.

Laura Potter, a student and Mental Health activist, believes that “mental health campaigns are increasingly important in a society which marginalises the voices of young people. Demand for university mental health services has risen 50% over the last five years, and over 20% within a year at Queen Mary. This significant rise in demand is no surprise given the political climate of austerity, amid a growing student population. University services across the UK are struggling to keep up with the demand”.

Queen Mary Student’s Union VP Welfare, Adam Sparkes also highlighted the impact that austerity has had on our student services. “The main issue we have across the board with all of our services is simple. A lack of resources. As the demand for support, specifically mental health support increases to levels never seen before, Universities including QMUL are not matching the demand with an increase of funding for the relevant services. To a degree that is not ‘always’ the University’s fault, here at QMUL budgets are distributed as ‘fairly’ as possible, but what is needed is a greater commitment from central Government to provide extra resources for Universities”. This is why we, as Young Greens, have campaigned tirelessly against austerity, raised awareness of the role of ideologically driven economic policy on student health and tried to offer ways to help other students cope with mental health issues. Universities are simply struggling as their ‘belts’ get tightened further and further by this increasingly draconian Conservative government.

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Lucy and Jo taking part in the “infantilising” Art Therapy workshop during our Mental Health Fundraising Week, February 2016, Queen Mary, University of London.

Queen Mary Young Greens were also mentioned in the above article for holding an “infantilising” art therapy session during the last academic year. Once again, one fails to understand how running activities aimed at reducing stress can be seen as such a negativity, especially when advice and counselling services at QMUL are under so much strain. The Young Greens held a number of successful activities that week to raise money for Student Minds, inform the student population about the interrelationship between politics and mental health and helped students find ways of dealing with stress that do not require booking appointments and sitting in front of a psychologist.

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Our guest panel for “The Mental Health Deficit: Student Minds Failed by Capitalism”, March 2016, Queen Mary, University of London.

The article over focuses on stress, appearing to neglect mental health beyond this one condition. Stress is mostly definitely an unavoidable part of any degree; it would be impossible for one to say that completing a degree without experiencing any stress is ‘normal’. But we must not forget to acknowledge the fact that the intensities of stress can vary greatly and we all deal with this differently. Some people manage it well, others don’t. Not only that, but usually stress is not alone. Anxiety. Depression. Schizophrenia. A whole array of mental health conditions are exacerbated by stress and are interconnected with one another, so telling someone suffering from serious mental health issues that feeling stressed out is a normal part of degree level study is quite frankly, very ignorant and potentially, incredibly dangerous. There are many other factors that can mean some students have much more than just stress to deal with compared to others, and forgetting this fails to treat those with serious mental health conditions fairly and equally and is, in our opinion, a form of discrimination, pure and simple.

Being a student doesn’t mean that we stop being humans with lives full of problems relating to money or relationships that can temporarily impact our mental health. Late this summer, my grandmother was suddenly diagnosed with advanced Ovarian Cancer. The impact of this on both my family and I has been huge. Studying a degree is hard work, but the anxiety and emotional distress  I continue to face regarding my grandmothers wellbeing places a great strain upon me mentally which of course is going to affect my ability to study at times. So please don’t “infantilise” me by telling me to ‘suck it up’ or (even worse) ‘man up’. This doesn’t mean I have a mental illness, but it does mean I need support from counselling services on campus in order to avoid spiralling into a worsening state of depression. These feelings cannot carry on without me seeking help from mental health services.

So in the words of Emily Dinsmore; don’t let your university “pathologise you or infantilise you”. But in the words of Jordan Smith, don’t let others tell you that your mental health is not something to take seriously. It is.

(Queen Mary Young Greens would like to say thank you [on behalf of all students] to QMUL for their excellent Advice and Counselling Services, their continued campaigning to de-stigmatise mental health and their fabulous and hard working Welfare Officers).

Stop Trident Mass Lobby of MPs: An Open Letter

Rushanara Ali

349 Cambridge Heath Road

London, E2 9RA

United Kingdom

 

Monday 11th July 2016

 

Dear Rushanara Ali,

I am writing to you on behalf of Queen Mary Young Greens; The Green Party society based at Queen Mary, University of London, to voice our views on the renewal of Trident which is likely to be voted upon this coming autumn.

It is our opinion, that maintaining our current arsenal of nuclear weapons (at a cost of more than £200 billion to the British taxpayer) is part of an unjustifiable and out-of-date defence strategy. The current strain that our public services are being put under as a result of the Conservative’s ideological drive for austerity means that they are in much greater need of additional funding and therefore we absolutely believe that this money must be invested in our schools, hospitals, public transport links and regional development funds rather than in a military weapon that will never be used, and if it was to be used, could result in the deaths of 100,000s of innocent civilians.

The use of nuclear weapons (and threatening other nations with the use of them) under any circumstance would be illegitimate and a clear violation of international law which Britain must respect if we are to maintain our standing in the world as a tolerant and moral nation. Voting to renew Trident is not in the public interest and fails to protect us from more significant threats such as international terrorism and cyber-attacks which cannot be tackled by Trident.

We cannot allow ourselves to be hypocritical in our approach to preventing nuclear proliferation abroad whilst at the same time, investing billions of pounds in our own arsenal.

We urge you to join us in our opposition to Trident, and to encourage Parliament to lead the way in campaigning for a world free of hazardous WMDs.

Please could you outline your current views on Trident and whether you have any idea about which way you are likely to vote?

Yours sincerely,

Jordan Smith

Vice President Treasurer Queen Mary Young Greens

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Queen Mary Young Greens at the Stop Trident Rally at Hyde Park, February 2016
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas speaks to the rally
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas speaks to the rally against Trident

 

Why didn’t (E)U let us in?

Calais, France. A modern day city in which you shouldn’t expect to find an ever increasing shanty town with a population in ever increasing need of shelter, food and hope for their future. Since 2003, Calais has been home to a minimum of several hundred migrants and refugees, but since the Syrian civil conflict which began in 2011, the size of the refugee population has more than trebled, with little support being given by the French and European authorities to accommodate and support them.

In response to the lack of action taken by the EU and French and British leaders, to the refugee crisis, people from across Britain decided that it was their duty to help in whatever way they could. So several trade unions, activist groups (including the People’s Assembly against Austerity), NGOs and political party members came together to form the ‘Convoy To Calais’. For months, people up and down the country have been collecting food, clothes, tents, blankets and a wide array of other resources that are in high demand in the camps of Calais. Members of the public who are sick and tired of the xenophobic rhetoric of mainstream politicians and the press donated to show their support for refugees and to say loud and proud, Refugees Welcome!

After months of organising, the day finally arrived. Early on Saturday 18th June, more than 250 vehicles packed full of aid set off from Whitehall in London and headed for Dover, beeping their horns and making as much noise as they could to make sure David Cameron in Downing Street, and all our MPs in Parliament would hear our anger and bitter disappointment at their treatment of refugees and their lack of commitment to help those in dire need.

After a couple of hours of driving, we reconvened at a service station close to Dover so that we could enter the town all together showing our unity and solidarity. However, upon arriving at our rendezvous point, we were greeted by a number of Police vans and cars. It then became apparent that some Police officers were recording the number plates of the cars that were forming part of the convoy. This is deeply concerning. In order to do this, the driver of the vehicle must have done something illegal, which meant that the act of taking down the number plates were in fact an abuse of the Police’s power and was therefore unlawful. When this was raised by one of the activists from the People’s Assembly, a senior officer informed us that they should not have been doing this and that they were stopping it. It then transpired that the Police had been following instructions from their counterparts in Calais. Since when do the French police have the authority to give Kent Police instructions to intercept and record law abiding British Citizens? An aid convoy travelling from London to Calais is hardly a threat to national or European security now is it.

12.30pm. We head into Dover, admittedly causing travel chaos in the process. It was a mixed welcoming: some waved and cheered in support of our action; whilst others not so much. A few drivers shouted “W******” at us but we simply waved back and kept a positive and optimistic spirit.

Finally our car arrived at the entrance to the port where we were greeted by a very friendly Police officer. Asking if we were going to be allowed to board the ferry, the police man informed us that someone from the French side would be along soon to speak to us, but that we must wait in a segregated queue for the ferry. Still with a bit of hope, we drove into the separate queue laid out for the convoy and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.

Gradually the message came through from the organisers that the local government in Calais (sadly ran by the Front Nationale) had told the British Police to prevent us from boarding our ferry, despite us having paid for the tickets and all holding valid British passports. As far as I am aware, we are still in the European Union and therefore have a right to freedom of movement. This is a right that we all share under European law, but this was taken away from us, with no explanation or justification whatsoever. Personally, I think it’s because the French are absolutely ashamed of the fact they have a shanty town full of the world’s most desperate and vulnerable. And so they should be!

This abuse of our right to freedom of movement and our desire to get this essential aid over to the refugees meant that we wouldn’t let ourselves simply be turned away. Everyone left their vehicles and marched down to the frontier. 100’s of us stood on the border, met by a line of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Police. Chanting and waving our banners, we stood in solidarity and stopped the other traffic from crossing the border, delaying the ferry for over 2 hours. (Very sorry if we annoyed innocent holidaymakers but we had to try and take some action). The Calais authorities refused to negotiate our entry, but did allow a 36 ton lorry that we had filled with aid to board the ferry, although sadly this was just a small proportion of the aid we had: there was still 250 cars filled with much needed resources.

The decision was eventually made for us all to head back to London to demonstrate outside the French Embassy in Knightsbridge. Whilst on our way back, we got into contact with Sky News and the BBC in an attempt to break the story and get national coverage on the abuse of our right to free movement and the shameful blocking of an aid convoy. It worked. One of the activists in the car with me, Catherine Mitchell, gave a few phone interviews and organised for a reporter from Sky News to meet us outside the Embassy.

Once at the embassy, numerous activists placed the undelivered aid on the doorsteps of the embassy and requested the French to deliver it to Calais themselves.

This whole day was not quite what I had expected, but nonetheless was a good day of direct action. We had been told a few days earlier that it was unlikely that we would be allowed to board the ferry, but I had faith in the EU and in the freedom of movement of law abiding citizens. I am a supporter and a fan of the European Union, but this day disappointed me deeply. Where was our explanation? I’m almost certain we weren’t given one, because there was no legal reason for them to take this action against us. It’s beyond my comprehension that British Police forces would take instructions from foreign forces to prevent UK citizens from travelling. Something must be done to punish the French for infringing our right to travel.

Being British is about helping those in need, and fighting on their behalf: these are fundamental to our national identity. Refugees are welcome in Britain and we will continue to defend them!

Jordan Smith

Vice President Treasurer

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Demonstrators speak outside Dover Service Station before being approached by Kent Police.
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This guy was refused entry to France despite having a valid French passport.
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Activists rally outside the French Embassy, Knightsbridge.

 

 

Queen Mary Young Greens: From the Start

2015 bore the Young Greens society at Queen Mary, University of London. It has been running for over a year now and a lot has happened, gaining momentum and spreading the word around campus.  We have even been nominated for Best Society at QMSU!  To reflect on our achievements and events, we have created a timeline of photos and videos to exhibit how QMYG has become the society it is today.

The society began with Green Tea and sign up sheets. We even used cups from recycled materials.

We asked students, “Why Are You Voting Green?”

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Some of the early members were lucky enough to meet Natalie Bennett in Camden, her home constituency where she ran to be MP.

In the run up to the General Election, several Young Greens took to the streets and canvassed Bethnal Green and Bow.

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Take Back Our World conference by Global Justice Now was a particular highlight in Spring 2015.

5 Take Back Our World

 

None of our members had been to a Green Party Conference before, so a few students joined the Greens in Liverpool for the Party’s biggest ever conference.

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More canvassing… lots and lots of canvassing…

We even made our own campaign video, rocking up 9,000 views on YouTube (and we got shared by the National Green Party!)

Back in the autumn semester, QMYG were ready and raring to go at the Welcome Fair!

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Meat Free Mondays were introduced onto campus, brought in by a member with support of the society!

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…another conference! This time in Bournemouth

Our (first) screening of Rashid Nix’s Why Don’t Black People Vote? (In the snazzy cinema)

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QMYG had it’s first Annual General Meeting at the well loved Indian Veg in Angel- here is the society and its new committee!

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Tackling Racism and Islamophobia in British Politics and the Media – featuring some amazing speakers: Shahrar Ali, Rabina Khan, Areeb Ullah, Shakira Martin, and Rashid Nix

Young Greens with other progressive societies at QM marched in the Demonstration for Free Education! We made our own banners too!

Snagging Natalie Bennett for our event “Why We Need the EU” was a definite highlight!

We even got on the cover of The Print!

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Of course, supporting the Climate March was a given

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And then we raised a ton of money for charity hosting a 90s themed night at Drapers on World Aids Day supporting Positive East – No Scrubs! (plus tasty bake sale)

We even helped out a Newham by-election with some telling

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To close off 2015, we had to make a trip to the climate conference in Paris!

 

Bringing in 2016, our (second) screening of Rashid Nix’s Why Don’t Black People Vote? (with QM Pan-African Society)

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When the Government said they were going to cut all maintenance grants, we took to the streets

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Our biggest fundraising success this year was our Mental Health Fundraising week for Student Minds! It included…

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Feed Your Mind! bake sale:

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00’s themed Drapers Party – Crazy In Love!

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Art Therapy

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…aaaaaand another conference! Where we found ourselves in Harrogate

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QMYG protested with thousands across the country in opposition to nuclear weapons. In fact, we protested in London and Harrogate!

On came Green Week, where we screened Cowspriracy with the Vegetarian and Vegan Society, and Erin Brockovich with QM Equality! (feat. great food)

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With QM Student Minds, we hosted an amazing event with QM staff and activists about how austerity impacts mental wellbeing – “The Mental Health Deficit: Student Minds failed by Capitalism”

Another Drapers Party down the road, we were raising money for the UK Network of Sex Work Projects… and we felt FLAWLESS! (and we had some punderful condoms to give out too)

In the QMSU student elections, a group of our members ran for different positions in a slate called Team Green. And incredibly they ALL won! Furthermore, all of QMYG’s endorsements were successful too.

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We hosted a great screening of Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story (with MORE food… this is a recurring feature)

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One of the final events of the year was “Muslims in the Environmental Movement” featuring Sofiya Ahmed from The Green Party and Shehroze Khan from MADE in Europe.

And finally, there was nothing on St. Patrick’s day, so with the QMUL Film Society, we arranged an impromptu 90s themed quiz at Drapers (again raising money for charity, this time it was Corrymeela) – we called it: C’est La Vie!

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And so what’s next for Queen Mary Young Greens? … Another charity Drapers party of course – Summer of Love!

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Tickets here: http://www.qmsu.org/events/13710/7826/

If you want to get more involved with the Young Greens, come to our AGM at 6pm on Thursday 30th March. For more info, like our Facebook page