Sustainable Leadership Race?

Leeds University prides itself in its engagement for the Leadership Race, but are we engaged or just visually harassed by  extensive realms of paper encouraging us to vote in a popularity contest?

Ironically, this year’s Leadership race falls on Climate week. After tweeting my #disgust at the waste of paper used last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see I wasn’t alone.

To become sustainable,which the University ‘recognises the importance of’; we must grow whilst reducing our environmental impact and improving our social standards. Yet, in my opinion, the Leeds University Union Leadership Race seems to fail economically, environmentally and socially.

In times of austerity, our Union has chosen to spend £2000 for each candidate to fund their printing. Sorry: campaigning. £2000 divided by the University price of £0.045 for black and white A4 single sided paper equates to a staggering amount of roughly 44,444 pieces of paper potentially printed this year. It’s concerning that neither the candidates themselves nor the University have had the consciousness to see this as a huge waste of our planet’s resources and our Union’s finances.

We are more aware than ever of the looming effects of climate change so the amount of paper and ink used in this campaign makes me equally sad and frustrated. How can our Sustainability department allow this to happen? Why bother reducing our ‘hot spots’ when our Union is paying 50 candidates go wild on printing and thus contributing to the global crisis of deforestation? To make this  notion worse, our incentive to vote is 100 printer credits. As the Union has reached the target 10,000 voter mark, that’s an added 1,000,000 printer credits… Incredible!

Socially, is it acceptable to allow nudity as a method of job campaigning? Call me old fashioned, but are we eliminating those who find this offensive? Are we voting for a sexual image? I would like to think that students will be persuaded by more than a naked body to vote for a future leader of the Union…

I don’t want to come across as completely negative. The leadership race is exciting, democratic, thought provoking and a great opportunity for those involved. We should be proud that we have the highest number of voters. Let’s just get with the times and grow up, Leeds University! Let’s start engaging with sustainability. Let’s push for online and face to face campaigning. We don’t need a wasteful University wallpapered with naked bodies, crap slogans and mysterious hash tags. Let’s use the app and portal, expand ‘question time’, and filter the amount of candidates to make sure all the manifestos are heard.

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