Anton Muhkamedov, SPEcimen president, interviewed by Maddie Covino
Can you introduce yourself, your position, and your list?
I am Anton, President of SPEcimen, one of the SPE lists. We decided to run and create this list when we thought we had enough ideas and something to bring to the debate. We want to actually transform something.
What are the main goals of your SPE list for the upcoming year?
There are several main goals and we divided our platform into four sections. I’ll focus on the most important ones. Our first goal is to make sustainability a priority for the campus. We see sustainability not just as some series of some small measures, but as a change in how we view the campus. One of the projects we are proposing is to install a juicer in the student lounge. It would allow students to bring in their own fruit to make juice on campus instead of buying it in plastic bottles at Carrefour, which would be healthier and more environmentally friendly. Another major thing in our platform is student implication and decentralization. By this, we don’t mean that SPE will have less responsibility, on the contrary, they will have more. But there will be projects that engage the students. There will be working groups and discussion sessions so that students can play a larger part in what is happening on campus.
What is the most important thing you would like to do if SPEcimen is elected?
We don’t like to think in single measures, but I think one of the things that really stands out is the report that we’d like to publish annually, per semester, or possibly every month. We hope to publish a report on the carbon emissions and material footprint of the campus. It’s not just going to be one or several numbers, it’s going to be a detailed description of what is happening on campus in terms of the food that is consumed monthly, the electricity, the water, the buildings that are currently being built and the kinds of materials that are being used, and – if it’s possible – to improve the ecological footprint. There are three main reasons why this is important to us. For students who want to mobilize to make the campus greener, there’s too little information. For example, we know the individual footprint of each sandwich, but we don’t know the combined impact of this information on campus. Second, this will allow for student participation because it won’t be published just by SPE but we will have working groups on it and we will ask for feedback from the campus. And third, this isn’t just a single measure – it connects a lot of our other measures as well!
Can you describe the poles of your list?
We’ve mostly retained the same poles that the current SPE has because we feel like when we are bringing new ideas, it’s to expand our focus, not actually to switch focus. For example, we have a pole on Urban Agriculture. One of the things they did this year was Sciences Potager which we think is a brilliant project, but we also think it needs to be expanded to focus more on partnerships with the Jardin Potager and the farmers in Reims. We also have a Panier Bio pole that we would like to expand. We have a pole on Sensibilization which we kind of changed. It used to be Conferences and now it is Conferences and Sensibilization, but we changed it because we think we need to provide information to students on what’s happening in Reims and also globally. There is also Green Student Life, Green Campus, and the Natural Hikes Pole which are key poles. It’s part of our platform to expand the focus of what every pole does.
Anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?
Well we’ve talked a lot about making the campus greener, more sustainable, and expanding our focus. What we haven’t talked about, but we tried to convey with our announcement today (Thursday) about the juicer, is student welfare. Ecology for us is more than just focusing on a few numbers. It’s a very global vision. It’s not just focusing on the environment, but on the individual. Life at Sciences Po can be very stressful and each bureau has a very limited ability in terms of what it can actually achieve. But SPE can connect students and bureaus in a way that I think can actually improve student welfare, amongst other things. For example, we’d like to promote meditation on campus and yoga sessions. Also, although SPE is being politicized and while ecology is always a social movement, we don’t see it as a social movement in a restrictive sense in that it is not limited to a specific ideology. It’s mostly about being on the same page as students and discussing our similar principles of a sustainable campus, of better student life, of more integrated spaces, of better recycling. So the idea of a social movement then comes into play with mobilizing people, but it is not a social movement in the traditional sense.
Why should the students vote for your list over the other?
I think I’d say because we have a coherent and an ambitious vision for what this campus may become. Because it’s not a few small things we’d like to add or alter, but instead we’re presenting a different way of interacting with the students and with the local actors in Reims. Finally, because students would like to know how to engage for the environment and how to make the campus more sustainable, and for that we need a comprehensive insight into what we consume in terms of energy, water and materials! We also need to figure out recycling once and for all, reappropriate common spaces like the student lounge which are too rarely used, and show that a sustainable life in Reims is entirely within the realm of possibility, if we connect with local actors (like farmers, bike-users, etc) and promote partnerships which go beyond small, punctual actions.