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Campaigning to save the world, Strathclyde Climate Emergency Action Group (SCEAG) is an Action Group dedicated to fighting the causes and effects of climate change and environmental destruction at the University of Strathclyde.
We sit down and catch up with Ashanti Magoma, a 3rd-year Mechanical Engineering student and a Decentralised Administrator to SCEAG, about the Action Group, their campaigns, and what they have in store for the upcoming Sustainability Hub.
Pictured: Ashanti Magoma
Climate Action and Sustainability are what Magoma has always been interested in and cared for, so Magoma joined SCEAG and became one of the many active members of the Action Group during COP26.
From building and growing in the Strathclyde Community Garden, taking part in national protests, campaigning for change to Strathclyde climate policy and linking students to climate related opportunities, to campaigning for governments to make systemic changes, Magoma describes SCEAG as,
A group of Strathclyde students who want to challenge the University and the Union institutions on their climate policies and actions for the climate. We want to take an action that has the most direct impact in contributing towards tackling the climate problem.
When asked about the current goals of SCEAG, Magoma shares that the Action Group has several campaigns they are running this year. "First of all, we have a fossil-free campaign running. We want to inquire where the University is investing their money, whether in the fossil-free field or renewable or sustainable sources. We need to figure out what position they [the University] are in before we decide to take action, whether that’ll be visual action, lobbying, or speaking to the head of finance."
Magoma talks about a new campaign focusing on the staff’s pension fund. “We found out that staff are automatically opted into the USSA fund. When, in fact, they can opt out and invest in a more ethical fund that would have a bigger impact. So we’re spreading awareness to all staff who don’t know that they can make that switch.”
Pictured: Posters created by the Action Group
Not only does SCEAG initiate new, hard-hitting campaigns, but the Action Group also continues its legacy of the sustained effort to tackle climate change; this is where the Climate Assembly takes place. “We want to campaign for a Strathclyde Climate Assembly where students can come together to make decisions on climate-related topics. Any decisions made will be directly taken to the Union and the University to be implemented in their policies.” The topics may range from staff investment to University’s climate commitment.
Joining a long-standing society with many ideas and plans in the pipeline can be quite intimidating and overwhelming. Magoma shares her personal experience joining the Action Group,
"It can be a little bit intimidating, especially if you’re passionate about the cause, but maybe you don’t have as much knowledge on it and want to gain knowledge. You just kind of don’t know where to start.
I would say, just keep asking questions. Those people who are more developed on their journey, in terms of acting for the climate, were also at a point where you are now, where they didn’t know anything. So just ask as many questions as you can; we’re here to work towards a common goal.
There are so many different roles that come towards acting for the climate. Even making an Instagram poster, sharing words with friends, or with the more visual action we want to do, like standing with the banner, every single help speaks volumes.”
With assignments, deadlines, and other responsibilities that we, students, have, maintaining the ‘active’ status in any club or society can be challenging. However, Magoma stresses that it’s not something anyone should feel guilty about,
We don’t have any leader at SCEAG. Everybody contributes where they can and when they can. We want people to feel like they can come in and out anytime.
Pictured: Action Group member at their recent Bake Sale stall
One thing that motivates a lot of students (and young people) to take part in fighting climate change is that it’s our ‘future’ that is going to be affected by this global crisis. We must challenge the older generation and work with them to find a solution for all.
Love what you’re reading? Inspired to take action? The one thing you can do right now is to sign the Climate Democracy Manifesto Petition, here.
If you want to get involved in organising campaigns, spreading information, and changing the world through the student movement, learn more about Strathclyde Climate Emergency Action Group (SCEAG) here.