Justice for animals, people and the planet: Sustainability Officer candidate Imogen Robertson wants to “amplify your voice and learn from you.”

7 mins read

When Imogen Robertson started studying at the university, they never thought they’d be involved in student politics. Yet in the past year, they’ve done a lot to make the university greener.

They helped pass the motion for a 100% plant-based Students’ Union and participated in organising the Community Food Initiative. They are also the secretary of the Vegan and Rights for Animals Society (VERA) and the Core Convener for the Stirling Plant-Based Universities Campaign.

Sustainability is something Imogen is very passionate about, and they are “ready to take it to the next level.”

Their plan consists of three central topics: food waste and carbon neutrality, food justice and recycling.

Food waste and carbon neutrality

One of the key issues Imogen would like to tackle is food waste on campus. To do so, they intend to communicate with the Union, the university and the student body.

As Sustainability Officer, Imogen would like to “hold the Union to account” regarding their commitment to sustainability by holding frequent meetings with the Union President.

In an interview this week, Imogen said: “I’d like to reinforce the existing data [to the Union] and be like: ‘are you looking at the data? Are you working with the available science and are you doing all you can to achieve [it]?’

“Carbon neutrality is one of the things you work towards. I’m not saying that we’ll necessarily achieve carbon neutrality, but are we doing everything we can [to get there]?”

Another way the third-year English and Politics student is eager to eliminate food waste is by looking into the logistics of how the food waste is currently discarded at the university.

“How we are actually dealing with food waste on a waste-management level is a conversation of key importance. But there’s also this issue of how we can reduce food waste and how we can reduce the energy we’re putting into storing food.”

In their manifesto, the candidate mentions that plant-based foods have “longer shelf lives” and “are less energy intensive” unlike meat and other animal protein foods that need to be refrigerated or frozen.

They believe that the introduction of plant-based menus will “help cut down [food] waste massively.”

Food justice

Above all, Imogen strives “to continue campaigning for more Community Food Initiatives that offer foods that are just, sustainable and accessible to all.”

“I have seen a lot of interest in the Community Food Initiative founded by VERA in collaboration with Labour and believe that I can expand this to be more widely available to students.”

The Community Food Initiative helped distribute some plant-based food, like chickpeas, lentils and pasta. This small-scale, self-funded (primarily by VERA) project saw the food “go within just a couple of hours.”

The third-year English and Politics student is running for Sustainability Officer this year. / Image Credit: Imogen Robertson

“I wish I could be putting more into it,” Imogen said. “It’s something I really want to expand and provide more funding for. I think it’s so important to make those kinds of things accessible.”

As Sustainability Officer, Imogen would like to provide an array of additional dietary and protein options, as well as more canned or microwaveable food.

“People may have different disabilities where they can’t open cans, so I’d like to make it accessible by providing [more] food that they can just pop in the microwave.”

When Brig asked Imogen about how they plan on “divesting from animal agriculture” as smoothly as possible, they said: “A smooth transition for people is really important, especially for people with different diverse backgrounds and with different nutritional dietary needs.

“I think having an outreach with those people and asking: ‘how can we make this accessible? What kind of problems do you deal with on a health and dietary level? What would you need from us to make this accessible?’ is very important.

“When we passed the plant-based motion, one of the clauses was that it needs to be ‘just’ and ‘sustainable.’ It needs to be ‘just’ for people with different dietary needs, allergens, and people of different religious backgrounds. It’s about having those conversations with those people and saying to them: ‘let’s amplify your voice and I want to learn from you.'”


Furthermore, Imogen is likewise interested in refining the recycling system at the university because “recycling isn’t really being done.”

“The general waste that’s being mixed with the recycling becomes contaminated and unrecyclable. How to recycle things needs to be made clearer.”

There are several questions regarding recycling that Imogen has, and would like to pose to the Union for some self-reflection.

“What can we do to limit our plastic waste? Can we change over to vegware? Can we be changing over to biodegradable things? And are there certain things we could just be doing away with in terms of plastic?

“I think recycling needs a bit of refining and [it needs to be] made clear to people what you can actually recycle because there’s a lot of confusion about that.”

Overall, Imogen desires to create a Union that is “‘just’ for animals, ‘just’ for the environment [and] ‘just’ for people.”

Imogen’s full manifesto can be found here.

Voting opens on Tuesday, February 28 at 10am and closes on Thursday, March 2 at 5pm.

Featured Image Credit: Imogen Robertson

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A 22 year old aspiring writer.


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