In a night of drama, excitement and vast amounts of alcohol, Stuart Leslie, Will Harmer, Rachel Stanford and Nik Engineer were voted into the top Athletic Union positions.
Cheered by crowds of supporters in a high turnout election the four graciously accepted their positions, thanking their opponents for competitive election campaigns. Addressing the raucous students in Derwent bar Stuart Leslie, the new AU President, told them “I am looking forward to the next 12 months.”
When Nik Engineer was asked if he intended to run for President next year the new Vice told reporters he was “terrified about running against Rachel.”
All the candidate’s campaigns were dominated by promises of the involvement of outside influences in the AU and greater investment in the universities sports facilities. Leslie’s publicity material stated that he wanted to attract more sponsorship in order to fund sports on campus. Additionally he believes that through volunteering in local community schemes York would attract grants from external bodies.
Rachel Stanford was also concerned about getting “more money for the AU as a top priority.”
All four candidates have had a wealth of experience concerning sport at York. A James College student, Leslie held the Vice-President position last year and the year before that was the Rose’s secretary. In 2002 he was awarded the Justin Taylor Memorial Prize for outstanding commitment to college and university sport. Harmer was this year’s Roses secretary and has been heavily involved in Langwith JCR.
In a year that promises great changes for sport at York, Leslie was keen for the AU to be at the forefront of decision-making. The plans for the massive campus extension are dominating the university’s outlook. For the York to gain facilities that one of the most successful universities in the country deserves an orchestrated campaign in required. Leslie seemed downbeat about his ability to influence the development. He told the news conference,”‘not much I can do next year. We need continuity.”
While campus 3 is in the long term, Leslie seemed more confident about York’s chances in the fast approaching Roses. He stated that “I think we are in with a chance, a good chanc” and encouraged students to travel to Lancaster and support the university. Whether York are victorious or not, the upcoming year promises to be full of great challenges for the AU, challenges the new committee seem eager to overcome.