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5 questions with... our SU Democracy Officer

Jacob Jefferson is the SU Democracy and Development Officer and is attending week 2 of COP26 as part of Warwick's delegation.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ll be getting up to at COP26?

Jacob Jefferson, SU Democracy and Development OfficerI'm representing the Students' Union as part of Warwick's delegation and will be taking every opportunity I can to talk to the huge variety of people there, from governmental figures to academics and scientists. I'll be both promoting the voice of our students and finding ways in which we, as a Warwick community, can better help to push sustainability.

How important is it that students’ voices are heard in these negotiations?

As younger people, more of our lives will obviously be affected by the impacts of climate change, so it is imperative our voices are heard. A top institution such as Warwick produces future leaders across a variety of sectors which will have to respond to climate change, so what happens during these negotiations is directly relevant to all of our lives.

How can students get involved in taking lessons from COP26 forward?

I’d firstly encourage all students to try watch as many online sessions from COP26 as they can to really gain awareness of the efforts to combat climate change, on an international, national and local level, as well as to follow the University's social media feed which will be covering what our delegation is getting up to during the conference. We’re hoping for some ground-breaking agreements and actions from our leaders at this conference, so I’d look out for the details of those and then act on an individual level to best help fulfil them.

What is the SU doing to combat climate change?

Thanks to policies created and implemented by our students and officers, action has already been taken on issues like declaring a Climate Emergency in 2019, adopting the Coventry Food Charter integrating approaches to food sustainability in 2017 and reducing the amount of plastic we use in our commercial outlets. Active student campaigns include our clothes ‘Swap Shops’ and our ‘Not for the Bin’ food wastage campaign. As an organisation we are also signed up to the NUS 'Green Impact' programme to further commit us to more sustainable and environmentally friendly actions.

What can students do to combat climate change?

There are so many opportunities within the SU to help combat climate change. Our democratic systems allow any student to propose policy for the SU to take on, many of which have covered environmental issues. We have a student officer dedicated to the Environment as well as a committee which sits under it, both of which are elected, and always open to hearing new ideas. We also have numerous societies linked to climate change and sustainability which students can get involved with like Climate Reality, Warwick Enactus and Warwick Vegan and Vegetarian Society.

Our University is working to address the climate emergency too, creating a more sustainable future through research, and working to overcome the practical challenges of getting there. Warwick is building a sustainable University and taking sustainability out to the community too. And there are so many University initiatives you can get involved in, whether that's recycling, transport, wildlife on campus, being a Green Champion or contributing to our sustainability performance in lots of small ways.

Five cheeky bonus questions

What did you last see at the cinema?

I saw the new Dune last weekend and was blown away by the scope and grandeur of what was on screen. Epic stories of conflicts between empires always attract me and this did not disappoint. Without giving away any spoilers, it also has some key messages around the sustainability of energy resources so well worth a watch!

What’s your favourite piece of music?

Difficult to pin down one piece of music but 6 weeks ago I went to a Genesis concert in Birmingham. I am a big fan of Genesis as well as most of the solo work of the band’s members.

What’s your most-used app?

I am always on Twitter so it will have to be that, following football and politics mostly. It’s not always the most agreeable place but my desire to keep up to date with news and witness famous people quite regularly make fools of themselves outweighs the darker side of it for me!

House plants or pets?

Apart from fish, I never had pets growing up so I’ve never been too much of an animal person, although I feel like I will inevitably have a dog one day when I’m older. I do have a cactus in my bedroom but I worry too much about forgetting to water plants to get anything more elaborate or higher maintenance!

Where is your favourite place on campus?

My favourite place has to be The Terrace Bar! In my first two years as a student I spent many great evenings there with friends enjoying fantastically priced drinks, so the nights were always both memorable and cheap!

Read more about what the Warwick COP26 delegation is getting up to in Glasgow.

Taking part in COP26 is just one of the ways we're playing our part in tackling the climate emergency. We're building on our existing research and education programmes and our connections to industry and society to find The Way to Sustainable. Find out more and get involved.