The University of Sheffield has come under criticism over some of the companies who were at the Launchpad careers fair, which began on Monday 21 October.
Sustainability Committee and two of the SU Officer team came out to criticize the fair, and some of the companies attending.
Launchpad is a three-day careers fair being held at the Octagon, which concluded with its busiest day on Wednesday 23 October.
There were more than 200 companies attending the fair throughout its run, including companies with links to the oil and arms industries, Government departments and various law firms.
Liam Slater-McGill, chair of SusCom, said: “Many of these firms barely have sustainability on their mind, let alone at the heart of their operations.
“The recent recognition and declaration of a climate emergency by the University has been heard and accepted, but this necessitates behaviour changes.
“Firms actively working against our futures are not welcome.”
Education Officer, Charlie Porter, concurred, telling Forge Press: “It’s not right for these companies to be invited to campus. They have created huge volumes of emissions and then hid the change of climate change from the general public in the 80s, and to this day lobby governments to pollute further.
“And not only that, many of the companies invited to Launchpad are arms manufacturers whose weapons are being used in horrendous military operations and occupations in Yemen, Kurdistan and Palestine.”
However, the University of Sheffield were keen to stress that the companies who had booths at Launchpad were not invited, and had to apply to be at the careers fair, which has been organised by the Careers Service.
A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: “We’re committed to providing our students with information about a wide range of organisations offering placements and graduate jobs.
“Our recruitment fairs offer students an important and effective opportunity to meet with potential future employers so that they can make informed choices about their future careers.
“We recognise that the climate emergency facing us demands urgent action and that many companies need to change the way they operate. By embedding Education for Sustainable Development in the curriculum, we want to equip our students with the knowledge, skills, values and attributes needed to drive sustainable change wherever they choose to work.”
Sustainability Committee set up a stall of their own outside the Launchpad careers fair, and encouraged students to ask the various employers inside questions about their record on sustainability, employment and ethics practices, and so on.
They even recruited Societies Committee’s squirrel to support the stall and the stand against what they see as unethical employers.
“It is our responsibility to students to represent their interests, and our duty to them to hold the University to account,” Liam said.
“There is a clear gap between the University promise and practices, which necessitates student action.”
The action was supported by two of the SU Officers, with Charlie Porter saying direct action was ‘absolutely necessary to challenge the power of these companies’, while Harry Carling, Development Officer, who was involved in the committee as a student, credited the action.
“I personally had a real issue with this as a student and it has been refreshing in this role to see the passion from students in wanting to protest against these platformed on our campus,” he said.
“It is vital that the student voice is heard this week, not only for freedom of speech, but to ensure pressure is put on the University to re-analyse their decision-making process in allowing these mass polluters onto our campus.”
However, he did add that he is aware, through his work with the University, that they’re committed to sustainability through their operations and teaching, but as a caveat is incredibly disappointed to see “mass polluters and arms traders” being platformed at Launchpad.