With the new posts of Student Development and Charities and Societies Communications officer yet to be announced, next year’s sabbatical team has begun to be assembled.
Rich Croker will be joined by Amy Woods as Services Officer after she overwhelmingly won by 200 votes over Matt Wareham, her closest rival. Woods, who came out as the victor in the exit polls, ran on a campaign claiming to be “the most experienced candidate to take the Union forward,” and the voters responded well to her promises to provide a campus takeaway service, named YOUR:FOOD, as well as continuing the fight for a central venue in Heslington East and a relaunched Freshers’ Fortnight.
Woods also stressed her work with campus events, having been YUSU Ents Officer for a year and Halifax Ents Rep in her first year. She also played a major role in the creation and promotion of the Revolver event, an attempt to provide a midweek campus late license for students.
At hustings, Woods stated she wanted to “work for students in the way that they want, so that they get value for money for what they pay for.” When probed on what she thought this year’s Student Union had got wrong, she said “the constitution” and also promised that the environment “would not be forgotten” on campus as well as in the plans for Heslington East.
The media-friendly policies of Woods’ rivals, Carl Nuttall and Matt Wareham, failed to connect with students. Nuttall promised to “meet the full running costs of all the media societies,” whilst former URY Programme Controller, Wareham called for a greater media presence in Your:Shop and union operated screens in campus bars enabling Sky to be shown alongside adverts, which would generate extra revenue to fund the campus bars.
Neil Barnes’ successor for Education and Welfare officer, Amy Foxton, fought a closer election as the result was delayed to a final round decision between her and Bex Emery. Foxton highlighted the issue of mental health, emphasising the fact that one in four students will suffer from a mental health problem during their time at University. The former co-ordinator and veteran of Nightline also used Heslington East as a focal policy, promising to “make sure that welfare is represented in the plans.”
Current Women’s Officer, Bex Emery, gave greater attention to the Academic side of the position and called for “a University-wide standard on the feedback given for assessed work.” She also stressed her breadth of experience in the Union, claiming to “know both the campaigning and welfare side of the job.”
After receiving the news of her success, Foxton declared herself “ecstatic and completely surprised. Obviously in a way I’m the outsider. I don’t have any experience in the SU.”
She also defended herself against comments that her campaign ignored the academic side of the job, claiming that “if you have a welfare problem whilst at University it will impinge upon your degree.”
Access Officer, Sally Rhymer
Sally Rhymer’s sunny demeanour prevented students choosing R.O.N and gave her the chance to follow up her promise to “make everyone’s life easier.” Her own experience of disability has led her to an understanding of “how frustrating it could have been, yet how simple it is to make life that bit easier.” Again, awareness was the key word for her campaign, and although specific policy was sparse, a role in the construction of Heslington East can be expected. A ‘stunt’ that is sure to prove popular is organising days in which York students can experience life with a disability, for example spending a day with a blindfold on.
LGBT Officers, Rose Rickford and Ben Nichols
Rose Rickford and Ben Nichols, who faced no competition, have already had the experience of fighting for their position, being heavily involved in the campaign against the removal of LGBT Officers from the SU Exec. Their heavy involvement in the blood donor protests shows they’re not afraid of hard hitting campaigns. In their acceptance speech, Rickford reiterated their point that they are fully behind keeping the transsexual aspect of the position. As well as the usual promises to provide greater publicity of welfare help available, they vowed to reintroduce a specific LGBT committee for the first time in years.
Events Officers, Christine Barnes and Leigh Kroeger
For many students, Kroeger and Barnes, elected unopposed, the promise of “musical diversity” is a breath of fresh air in a cheese-dominated University. As their publicity states, “variety is the spice of life!” Another innovative idea is to bring sports and society socials onto campus – surely a rugby team night in Alcuin would provide it with funds for at least a term. The promise they will struggle to achieve is providing a regular YUSU event that, in their words, “works better.” The failure of Revolver, despite sponsorship and promotions, means they will have an uphill struggle to rescue the brand and find a way to tempt students away from town bars.
Training Officer, Chloe Hutchings
The only person contested for a non-sabbatical position, Hutchings, a second year History student who boasted of experience “working in the training department of a large company,” triumphed over Alcuin Vice-Chair, Chris Roberts, who had JCRC-based experience. Perhaps the most interesting and novel of Hutchings’ ideas is that of providing training sessions concerning the working of the Students’ Union itself. For many students, the role of training officer is unclear: many students have queried what the job entails. It remains to be seen whether Hutchings can change this perception.