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Aisling Murray

Society and Citizenship Officer
Aisling Murray

The Society and Citizenship Officer represents students in matters relating to active citizenship, community engagement, and ethical and environmental action.

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Aisling's manifesto:

For change you'll see, vote Murray!

 

Having lived in Brighton all my life I feel I know the city inside out as both a resident and a student. I have loved being part of our vibrant student community and campaigning for the things I care about with Sussex Cut The Rent, Safer Sussex, Access Sussex, and Don’t Deport Luqman, to name a few. I am proud of the values that Sussex and Brighton stand for and I am so excited to be Society and Citizenship Officer as  I am passionate about everything that the role includes; active citizenship, community engagement, and ethical & environmental action.

 

I will use my experience to lobby the university and the council to provide more housing for students to rent in the city making sure it is affordable, good quality and accessible. I will  set up a Students Union Housing Committee to help students make compensation claims for on campus accommodation as well as educate students about their rights as renters and advise them on dealing with landlords and letting agents. I also would like to  use the Rate Your Landlord survey to put pressure on letting agents and landlords to provide better quality housing.

I want to collaborate with the council to make sure that every renter in Brighton can contribute to the survey in order to come up with a city-wide ranking system for letting agents. I want to ensure that every student understands their rights and responsibilities as renters by making this information available through the Student Union website, as well as working with Brighton Solidarity Federation to provide Know Your Rights as a Renter workshops.

I will lobby the University to  commit to providing all new students with accommodation so that no student has to live in a hotel. I will also work with Sussex Student Lettings to increase the amount of housing that they can offer to students ensuring affordable rent, no agency fees and a good relationship with landlords and ensure that every student is aware of the new guarantor scheme. Support students who are interested in living in Cooperative housing!

I will continue working to  set up a Brighton Tenants Union. Students are arguably the largest community of renters in the country and setting up a Tenants Union will make the renting community stronger. By working together we can campaign for more housing, better quality housing with lower rent prices, strong renters rights and landlord accountability. I would also work with the equivalent officer at Brighton Students Union to ensure that Brighton students are included in the Tenants Union. This would be based on the Bristol Tenants Union, Renters Rising and ACORN (the Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now) model which has already proved successful in other parts of the country.

 

I will continue the Food Waste Cafe on campus. I have really enjoyed being involved in the organising and running of the Food Waste Cafe; on campus this year and I want to make sure it can continue regularly by  finding a permanent location where we can store, cook and serve food on a pay as you feel basis. I will also set up a  food collection point on campus where people can donate food that may otherwise go to waste. I'd also like to introduce a smoothie bike at the weekly food market. Like the Food Waste Cafe; the smoothie bike would make use of surplus food going to waste from on campus catering outlets. Additionally students could bring their own ingredients to the bike for it to be turned into a smoothie.

I want to  work with the Fossil Free Sussex campaign to lobby and put pressure on the university to commit to complete divestment from fossil fuels and to ensure that the university keeps to its new Ethical Investment Policy. I will work with the Estates and Facilities department to  make sure that every campus accommodation has recycling and compost stations and encourage all students to use these facilities. What students learn at university they have with them for life! I also would like to  continue and expand & Go Green Week; which Sarah has made so successful! Work with clubs and societies to promote and educate people about sustainable living with events, workshops, talks, cooking lessons and energy saving education initiatives. It would also be fun to create more events like this throughout the year and collaborate with Brighton university and open it up to the Brighton community! Set up a Sustainable fashion week.

I have participated in a Trash fashion week before and I want to make this a regular event at Sussex because it was so fun! This could involve students from across Brighton coming together and creating their own fashion items from waste and recycled materials with a fashion show and awards ceremony at the end! It would also include talks and events to promote ethical and sustainable clothing and could also be linked with Brighton Fashion Week. A clothes swap during the week would also be essential!

I will also lobby the council to provide more bike storage in town and pressure letting agents and landlords to provide bike storage for tenants so students living off campus can store their bikes. I also want to set up Bike trains going to and from union events/clubs/societies/campaigns/meetings on and off campus to make cycling to and from uni and around town easier and safer for students.

Work with Brighton Students Union to create stronger links between equivalent clubs and societies to bring the student commuity in Brighton closer together. Work with ethical and environmental groups in Brighton (such as Brighton Permaculture Trust, Sisters Uncut and Brighton Antifascists) to make the ties and networks of Sussex and Brighton activism stronger and to ensure that students are able to fully engage with campaigns taking place outside of the university and students union. Collaborate with Brighton Permaculture Trust to expand the workshops that they already provide at the Stanmer Park Earthship to make them more affordable and accesible to students. Specifically I want to work towards builing our own wind turbine to have on campus and consider the possibility of building an earthsip on campus in the future which could be used as an environmental education space. Build on the existing ‘Know your Neighbour’ campaign that Sarah has worked so hard on to ensure that positive relationships are formed between students and Brighton residents. Set up a House the Homeless campaign to enable students and the Brighton community to work together to fight the increasing levels of homelessness in Brighton and Hove. Set up an activist forum within Sussex and between Sussex and Brighton students unions and groups in Brighton to create a stronger platform from which to campaign on local, national and global issues.

Ensure that students are registered to vote in local and national elections and also build on the existing ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ campaign to ensure that students can engage with local, national and international political action separate from elections and to encourage political engagement.

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