AFTER a seven-year hiatus, the University of Aberdeen’s Scottish Greens Society has reformed. At its helm is co-convenor Lucy Angus, a third-year Gaelic and Politics student from Dundee.

Angus spoke to The National about the challenges she and like-minded students have faced in getting their society “off the ground”.

The UoA Greens only gained union approval in August last year, by which time many of its committee had graduated. “Recruitment’s been a real issue,” Angus said, adding that despite there being a “real passion for the environment” among UoA students “it just doesn’t translate into membership”.

To overcome these problems, Angus has been “reaching out” to Green societies and organisations outwith the university. Aberdeen Climate Action, LGBT+ groups, and the Aberdeen branch of the Scottish Greens have all been in touch.

Asked whether Aberdeen’s oil and gas industry has had an impact on membership, Angus said: “I think it fosters environmentally friendly mindsets because students see the environmental damage and they don’t like that.”

Besides campaigning for greater sustainability at the university, the society is supporting “a really valuable campaign to protect the rights of visa students and to stop the very strict monitoring process the UK Government runs”. On the UK

Government’s blocking of Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, Angus told of friends, loved ones, and colleagues all directly affected and said it showed “how scary Westminster control over common-sense legislation is”.

She described the Tories’ anti-strike bill as “something of grave concern to us. Westminster oppression like this is a key motivator that pushes us towards the desire for independence.”

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Angus said that as a teenager she supported Scottish Labour. However, she “felt pushed out of the party” when it failed to respond to her political interests, especially on “social issues” and “the environment”.

Brexit was a major moment, drawing “a straight line across the Border” in which Scottish people “were just completely ignored because England has the stronger political power”.

“We believe that under the shadow of Westminster, Scotland will be blocked from thriving as the sustainable, economically viable, human rights- based society it can be,” she said.

Finishing on the topic of energy, Angus compared Holyrood’s forward- thinking, sustainable measures with the “very old-fashioned” infrastructure at Westminster.

She added: “I think Scotland’s oil does have a place in the present but I think it should form a small part of a much bigger picture of all the reasons why Scotland should be independent … I don’t think it should be the sole focus any more.”