Lizzy Haughton has had an eventful year as Activities and Development Officer for the University of Manchester Students’ Union (SU).
Responsible for improving societies, student groups, and student development, Haughton has focused a lot of her time on climate activism this year, which led to her arrest in November for “wilfully obstructing the highway”.
The same activism has also seen the launch of the Zero-Waste shop in the SU, one of the few Officer-based initiatives that has earned the Union a profit. Overall, Haughton used the majority of her £1,425.62 spend on materials and supplies for the shop, although £1,000 was allocated from a different Union department, so her net spend was £425.62.
This means she used only 5.3% of the total Officer budget.
Haughton’s attendance for her scheduled meetings was 79.3%, making her fifth-best of the eight Officers.
In terms of her manifesto, Haughton has had mixed success, but the areas in which she has performed better have been in sustainability. Her pledges on the SU website include: “Create an efficient platform for societies to advertise events and increase membership”, “increase the number of places outside of the University to shelve The Mancunion“, “provide better accessibility to all student events and activities”, “improve sustainability in the SU and around University”, “set up a zero-waste shop in the SU”, “set up a Community Fridge in the SU”, and “make the SU more affordable by bringing in more deals on food and drinks”.
Haughton has set up the aforementioned Zero-Waste shop, which features a community fridge, and has also improved sustainability in the SU by bringing in more recycling points, as well as introducing VegWare plates and cups in the Union’s food outlets, which are biodegradable.
However, Haughton has not worked on improving the spread of Mancunion shelving locations, and has had little input on an advertising platform for societies. It’s also unclear what direct input Haughton has had on making SU food more affordable and improving accessibility on society events.
In a statement to The Mancunion, Haugton highlighted her successes to include the Zero-Waste shop and to also improve “sustainability on campus this year, which has been at the loss of some other things but has meant that a large network of people has been strengthened across the Union and the University, including the Single-Use Plastics group, the University-wide Divestment Strategy group, the Green Impact team, and a strong network of students and lecturers involved with Extinction Rebellion”.
“My budget has almost entirely gone on my main manifesto points for this year, with a very financially-efficient Go Green Week which was also supported by donations, as well as some money being spent on my Sustainable Christmas Fair (which wasn’t so successful but have definitely learnt from my mistakes this time around).
“Most of my budget went into the zero waste shop which was always planned to go back into my budget once the shop made it back, which it has done!”
Haughton, along with Liberation and Access Officer Sara Khan, will continue in her post next year and said in her re-election campaign she would keep sustainability as her “number one goal” for 2019-20.