It’s the accountability blog!
By Millie Beach (Union President)
Hello hello, and welcome to ‘what I’ve been up to this term?!..The Sequel’. Term 2, if you missed it has been a pretty busy one with shedloads of things going on, most notably…elections! Rather than just listing everything I’ve been up to this term (believe me, it’s a lot), I thought I’d tell you about where I am in line with my manifesto goals.
To find out what I’ve been up to this term keep scrolling, but first here’s a few things you can do to get involved while you’re procrastinating over Easter!
How can you get involved?
Nominations for Love York and Excellence Awards. Do you know a student or member of staff who has been awesome for one reason or another?
Policy submissions - do you want YUSU to do something that it currently isn’t doing? Maybe you think we should be more energy efficient or do more to represent a certain group of students...if so, please submit policy! Active policy defines what YUSU works on and is a fab way of holding the sabbatical officers to account. You can check out current active policy.
Fill in these surveys (I know that filling in surveys isn’t always great fun, but it I can’t stress enough how much the evidence helps us to understand fight for things you want.
As I hope you’ve seen, we’ve really been trying to improve our social media presence to ensure that you are aware of all the exciting things taking place. We’re exploring how we can improve your contact with part time officers - currently discussing the benefits of pages vs professional accounts vs creation of social media accounts on a more ad hoc basis. We are making progress on the new website, there are blogs coming over Easter to clarify some FAQs from students - like laundry! My main focuses this term have been promoting elections and incorporation. Elections were a massive success - thanks to everybody who voted and massive congratulations to our new officer group.
This year a chunk of my manifesto budget went straight into supporting one of our student groups. International Students’ Association ran a better and bigger Global Week than ever before. This included expanding the food fiesta and beverage festival, as well as putting on a cultural performance showcase that highlighted the skills of several cultural societies and made use of a local space.
A lot of the high level meetings I attend have been focused on how we look at expanding the campus; I’ve been encouraging the university to ensure there is provision of good facilities and student spaces on Heslington East, as well as decent study space that’s open to everyone. Excitingly, the new Piazza building that’s going up at the bottom of Campus East, and the building going up by the roundabout at the top of Hes East both provide facilities for students. Changes in campus life just keep on coming, so I’ve been sitting on a group that looks at timetabling and how we can make your timetable more efficient and effective for you. Finally, I’ve been liaising with the university about signage, and how they develop their plans to ensure that routes are as accessible as possible in the future.
In line with my manifesto promises, I’ll be looking at organising a student summit termly from next term. Again, this is a feature that should be built into the developments in the by laws to create an accessible, accountability opportunity. In addition, I’ve been lobbying the university on key important issues, particularly accommodation prices, value for money, hidden costs in degrees and leave of absence provision. We know that with increasing fees and inflation, financial struggles are some of the most important things on students’ minds. In order to counteract this, I’m really trying to make sure that York is accessible for every student, regardless of their financial situation.
Over the next term, we’ll be making some changes to by-laws. Changes to the by-laws mean that we will be able to represent you more effectively, and, once this is completed, I’ll be able to get moving on the text and graphic ‘how to’ guide that I mentioned in my manifesto. A lot of the projects I’ve been working on are in the pipeline at the moment but aren’t quite ready for the big reveal yet. Watch this space though, because there are all the interesting things happening!
So what have I learned this term?
Students respond well to a President dressing up as an incorporation fairy - but the glitter from fairy wings is a nightmare to get off clothes!
So much of what sabbatical officers do is laying the foundations and planting the seeds from which awesome things can happen. Case in point - Spring Lane Building which has opened this year (woo!) and the message Dom and I got the other day confirming that we would get some lighting discs added to Walmgate Stray!
Our students are incredible. I have seen so many amazing and innovative events this term and it always amazes me just how cool our student groups are.
What should you look out for next term?
Roses!!! Get your opening ceremony tickets on our website now!
We will be launching an exciting campaign around small changes that make a big difference, in partnership with the space management team at the uni.
Keep Your Cool is back and better than ever before (or so Dom tells me) we will be keeping you up to date with all the things de-stress.
Planning to release some info on a Leave of Absence report I’ll be doing, so watch this space!
For now, wishing you lots of self care, relaxing breaks, and not too much dissertation/essay stress for all those third years reading. York Love xx