Fourth party participates in student council elections: ‘If things don’t change soon there will be no future’
Radboud University has gained yet another student party: Green+ just announced its founding. The party is committed to ecological and social sustainability.
A green(er) university, animal ethics, inclusivity, and social safety. These are the four spearheads of the brand-new student party Green+. ‘We are in the middle of a climate crisis’, says party leader Kjeld Bloemendal. ‘The university should do more, before it’s too late.’
It is the third new party to register for the upcoming university student council elections, which take place at the end of the month. After asap announced its abolishment at the end of 2022, it seemed for a long time that only AKKUraatd would take part in the elections. A month ago, umbrella party V.O.S. filled that void. Not much later, the Knokpartij, which focuses mainly on democracy and transparency, also joined in.
‘That was the right moment to start a new party’
And now there is also Green+. The party was founded thanks to a collaboration between the Vegan Student Association and AGREEn (a student organisation dedicated to sustainability, ed.), explains Romé Kraaikamp. ‘We had been meeting before to talk about sustainability and the climate crisis. In doing so, we thought about how we could do more with these themes on campus. When asap quit, we knew that was the right time to start a new party.’
More active role
Radboud University already does a lot to promote sustainability, including the ‘You have a part to play’ campaign, and sustainability has become a compulsory topic in all education at the institution. Is a party that focuses on sustainability really necessary? That the university is making progress is great, but not enough, the pair say adamantly. Bloemendal: ‘The university needs to take on a more active role. Students are worried. It’s nice that we are thinking about the future, but if things don’t change soon there will be no future.’
‘Radboud University wants to be energy-neutral by 2030’, says the party leader. ‘But we want to take it one step further, we want the university to be climate neutral by that time.’
‘Scientists should fly less’
So what needs to happen? ‘With energy neutrality, you only look at reducing energy consumption’, says Kraaikamp. ‘With climate neutrality, things like food consumption and transport are also taken into account.’ In the long run, for instance, the party would prefer to see the food on campus become entirely plant-based. Scientists should also fly less. ‘And we no longer want collaborations with companies that pollute. That also applies to career- or information days.’
‘This means car traffic needs to be reduced’, she continues. ‘Preferably, we’d like to see as many employees and students as possible commute to the campus by bike or public transport.’
And biodiversity needs to increase, Bloemendal adds. ‘The university has now created many lawns around the Maria Montessori building. Those are nice to look at, because they are indeed green, but they do not help biodiversity. Different types of animals would benefit more if there were bushes, or more insect boxes.’
‘The university should require associations to actively engage in sustainability’
Besides ecological sustainability, social sustainability is also an important issue. Inclusiveness and social safety are high priorities for Green+. ‘There is a lot to be gained there too’, Kraaikamp explains. ‘The other day there was a theatre performance about inclusiveness, but it only attracted students who are already working on that topic anyway. That is of no use. The university should require associations to actively engage in this topic.
How will the party be campaigning for the elections? ‘We are obviously looking for posters made of recycled paper’, Kraaikamp winks. ‘And we will, of course, also put our efforts into online campaigning.’
Translated by Jan Scholten