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Students say YES!Sabbatical Campaign

CUSU Ethical Affairs has been doing more and more for students and the causes we care about in the last couple of years. From running the Go Greener campaign, to working on ethical investment, consumerism and volunteering, our work has been taken increasingly seriously by the university, and it's becoming too much for even two part-timers to handle! So we want to make Ethical Affairs into a full-time sabbatical post.

We have already achieved the first step towards this goal: having a constitutional change approved by a student referendum - a majority of students voted YES in March '09 for a full time Ethical Affairs Officer!

The next step of the campaign is to secure funding for the position - this is vital in order to support all the work of the officer. If you are interested in supporting the sabbatical position financially, or know someone who might be, contact ethical-chair@cusu (.cam.ac.uk)

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More about why we want this to be a sab position, and what we would do:

As the importance of environmental and social sustainability is increasingly recognised, an understanding of issues from climate change to corporate social responsibility is a growing part of everyday professional life. This means that areas traditionally not taught in Cambridge are becoming an essential part of a university education. Many students are demanding that sustainability be taken into account at all levels in the university, from the content of our courses to the environmental impact of university buildings and the investment of the university's funds, and the purchasing choices it makes. The social and environmental impacts of the University community to which students belong can be as important a part of an education in sustainability as formal, curricular education.

Students themselves are playing an important part in making these changes, as the younger members of the university have time, idealism, and large stake in the future.

Background:

Cambridge University has for centuries been a centre of academic excellence, attracting bright young students engaged with the world around us. The university plays an important role in forming the minds of the leaders of tomorrow, as well as influencing government policy and industry, and having a significant environmental and economic impact as a large institution. As such, it has a responsibility to address the social and environmental impacts of this influence with intellectual integrity, rigour and courage. CUSU members, as citizens of the world, have a stake in the impact that the university has, and the CUSU Ethical Affairs Officer is there to hold the university accountable to ethically engaged students. The Officer does this through direct representation on University Committees, CUSU Ethical Affairs campaigns, and support and training for student initiatives.

The Officer will interact with different stakeholders as described below:

Students:

  • Facilitate democratic decisions to be made through a council made up of elected officers representing JCRs, MCRs and faculties. These decisions will include steering the direction of the campaigns and the support offered to students by the sabbatical officer, as well as deciding on policy to proposals t take CUSU Council.
  • Represent student views to relevant university committees, and be well-informed and engaged with the issues at hand.
  • Coordinate student societies with campaigning, community, or charitable aims, in association with the Cambridge Hub.
  • Coordinate CUSU Ethical Affairs campaigns as chosen by the Ethical Affairs Council.
  • Provide information thorough a useful and up-to-date website, support and training to college and faculty representatives.
  • Support College and faculty green or ethical affairs officers in their work.

CUSU:

  • Integrate ideas of sustainability into the work of the CUSU team to get our own house in order, through updating and enforcement of the ethical policy covering the environmental impact of office management, the responsible investment, and more.
  • Work with other sabbatical officers in CUSU team where appropriate, e.g. to tackle issues of ethical issues in the curriculum.

University:

  • Represent students views on ethical matters, providing more expertise and engagement with relevant issues than is possible for other members of the exec.
  • Push forward and support the university in its efforts to reduce energy use, integrate awareness of sustainability into undergraduate curricula, and invest more ethically.
  • Promote Cambridge University as a centre of excellence in holding up high ethical standards and addressing ethical issues consciously with responsibility, intellectual rigour and courage.

Local:

  • Liaise with local initiatives including the city council, humanitarian centre, Jimmy's night shelter, Student Community Action, Transition Towns Cambridge.

National:

  • Provide Cambridge students with information about student and non-student national initiatives.
  • Support Cambridge students in fulfilling the potential they have for playing a role in national campaigns.
  • Network and liaise with other student unions both in this country and others, and other student campaign networks, both to share best practice and to provide inspiration and mutual support.