A CLIMATE protester drew crowds of students after climbing onto the roof of a university building.

The Extinction Rebellion protester climbed on top of a building at the University of Southampton’s Highfield Campus yesterday.

The protest took place during an open day for prospective students.

The protester, who gave his name as “Willy”, said he was protesting the university’s links to companies ExxonMobil, Shell and BAE.

The 31-year-old, a former student at the university, said: “During my time as a student at the university they would try to legitimise links with companies that are emitting carbon into our atmosphere.

“I thought I would come back to the university to make potential students aware.

“I don’t want to be up here but I’m frightened by what’s going on (with the environment). I believe students at the university should be aware.”

Asked how his protest had been received, he said: “It has been really positive.

“I’ve been giving seminars to potential students and a security guard threw me up a sandwich earlier.”

The protester said he planned to be on the building for the whole of yesterday, but was down safely by 1.45pm, according to the university.

A spokesperson for University of Southampton said: “We are aware of the protester whose safety was monitored by our staff.

“Whilst we respect the right to free speech on campus our concern was primarily for his safety in being on the roof of a building which isn’t specifically designed for such activity. “During the time he was in place, he received limited attention from visitors to our Open Day today and caused very minimal disruption to activities planned, largely for health and safety reasons.

“We are proud of our strong track record in environmental sustainability research, education and enterprise with a definite commitment to reducing our impact on the environment resulting in direct action taken by students and staff to collectively reduce our university’s impact on the environment.

“Our corporate partnerships bring wide ranging benefits to the University and particularly to our students with numerous projects and activities focused on making a positive impact on the environment.”

ExxonMobil refused to comment on the protest, while a spokesperson from Shell said: “We respect the right of everyone to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others in mind.”

BAE did not respond to the Echo’s request for comment.