|Entry completed by:||Cleo Vernon|
|Club Role:||UCPOLS is a non-partisan political club on campus, dedicated to providing a forum for all things political.|
|Category Selection||Reminder that events and initiatives must have occurred in the eligible period: 7 September 2020 to 12 September 2021|
|Which category is this nomination for?||Best Arts Event 2021|
|Name of event or initiative:||Speaker Series|
|Brief overview of the event or initiative:|
The UCPOLS Speaker Series is an annual event, inviting politicians from local and central government to speak on current events, relevant issues and their own passion projects. This event breaks down the barriers between MPs and students, providing a platform for questions and connection.
|What were the aims of the event or initiative?|
The UCPOLS Speaker Series aims to educate students of all backgrounds on all things political. Our Speaker Series event educates students on what is really going on inside the minds, day-to-day lives and long-term projects of our local and central MPs. This provides an important space to educate students on how their voice can make a difference, by making submissions and exercising their right to vote. Speaker Series also breaks down physical barriers between MPs and students, providing a platform for questions and connection. The MPs learn how they can better support students in the process.
|How did you make it happen?|
UCPOLS was founded in 2011, and therefore we have assimilated into the political sphere over the past 11 years. We have been able to establish long-lasting connections within the academic and political realm. Many members of the UCPOLS Exec are politically affiliated, and thus we could lean on their connections for support. It made the entire process easier as we already had a foot in the door.
|How did you make it better?|
This year, our Exec worked very closely when choosing our speakers for Speaker Series. We wanted a mix of varying passions, opinions, parties and ideals. This year we kicked Speaker Series off with Duncan Webb, the labour MP of Christchurch Central. We chose Webb to headline as he is a well-known face around UC and works alongside our current prime minister. Chloe Swarbrick was our second speaker, which drew a large crowd, and never fails to do so. This year, we also adapted to an online Speaker Series once lockdown was announced.
|How did you show your commitment to sustainability?|
UCPOLS is very passionate about sustainability. Our carbon footprint for these events is close to zero. This is because it is completely paperless, and many MPs have chosen to present over Zoom, limiting the need for travel. Sustainability is a topic addressed in all Speaker Series, whether it is by the MP themselves, or asked as a question from the audience. This ensures that we are educated on the local and central governments' stance on the issue, and what they are doing to combat climate change and promote sustainability.