Despite concerted attempts to revive them, our campus bars have not faired well in competition with venues in town. When drinking, it seems, students prefer to leave their place of study. McQs, Vanbrugh and the Wentworth Edge are last resorts at best.
YUSU have tried and failed to change this. We have seen the desperately named “Save our Bars” campaign and then “Campus Wednesdays”. Neither promotion achieved what it set out to do – that is, curb the nightly exodus from campus into town.
Given this, the decision by YUSU to take over Langwith Bar is a bold one. Matt Burton has so far proved a capable Services and Finance Officer but there is no hiding the fact that running a bar is new territory for YUSU. There is nothing to suggest that the venture will succeed as a business and a conflict of interests seems inevitable. Students will not drink on campus out of loyalty and the re-branded bar will struggle to compete with the campus bars once promoted by YUSU.
But if Langwith bar succeeds – and this paper sincerely hopes it will – it could be the answer. York students would for once be able to enjoy a night out on campus, the city’s clubs no longer an inevitability.
The responsibility, of course, lies with Burton. To turn around a struggling business would be a commendable achievement. To watch it fail further, however, could place our Union in dire financial jeopardy.