Aneke Janentzky, a third-year environmental geography student, is one of three candidates running for Sustainability Officer this year.
Sustainability Officer is a voluntary role in the Union, focusing on environmental campaigns and achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Janentzky’s manifesto has three key points: action, transparency and representing students.
Janentzky is no stranger to campaigning for sustainability. She’s been on the Environmental Enterprise Society committee and has organised climate strikes with Global Justice Stirling.
“I really care about climate change and that is why I decided to study [the] degree I’m in.
“I’ve been involved in many projects before coming to university, and then basically from first year on … everything that was environmental projects on campus, I’ve been kind of involved in most of them.”
One of Janentzky’s first action points is to increase sustainable job postings by the university.
“When you go on TARGETconnect [the university’s career service] and you put in sustainability, what pops up are the big law firms, the oil companies, nuclear power plants… a lot of companies that have very questionable ethics in my opinion, where a lot of greenwashing is going on.
“I would just like to make other companies more visible that really care about the cause, like NGOs, maybe some government jobs… jobs that don’t contribute to greenwashing and don’t contribute to the planet being destroyed.”
Recycling bins are also an area of concern for her: “I know that there has been work being done at the Students Union already and I don’t know to which extent.
“In general there’s two types of bins, general waste and then recycling, and sometimes one of them is standing alone.
“I’m lazy, students are generally lazy, they won’t walk to the next bin to throw their stuff in if the bin is not the correct one.”
Janentzky wants to work with the cleaning staff to discuss clearer signage.
She explained: “The signs are confusing, like it says paper on there, but then pizza boxes are not allowed because of the volume and then if the paper is dirty or greasy it’s not allowed to be recycled.”
Getting the university to be more transparent around sustainability is “one of the harder” points to achieve in her manifesto, Janentzky admits.
“I think it will be hard to make them put really clear information on their webpage.
“I think [the University] are really detached from the actual student experience and so creating some kind of dialogue… will also lead to more transparency in the end.”
When asked her thoughts on the Plant Based Union motion, she said: “I’m personally mostly vegan and so my first thought when I saw it, I was like ‘this is amazing, I’m so happy!’
“And then when I came back [from studying abroad last semester] I started hearing all the controversy around it.
“I don’t really care because it is only the Students Union, it is only by 2025.”
When asked what sets her apart from the other candidates, Janentzky said: “I’ve been involved in some projects they have not been involved in, like for example the community garden… I really know how the Students Union works.
“I know the students that are involved in things and I would know who to talk to.
“I also know that if one of the others get elected, they will do just as a good job as I will do.”
Finally, she told Brig: “I really care and I really have the motivation to do something.
“I just want to generally make the university better for future generations, because we have this amazing campus, it’s so beautiful.”
Aneke was unable to attend the hustings this week due to illness, but she stresses that “if people want to talk to me, have questions, comments, anything, let me know… I would really love to hear from students.”
Read Aneke’s full manifesto here.
Voting opens on Tuesday, February 28 at 10 am and closes on Thursday, March 2 at 5 pm.
Featured Image Credit: Aneke Janentzky