Surprisingly, there is no ‘official history of YUSU.’ Upon inquiry, one will be told that one does not exist, as it has never been written down.
The past of our Union is, therefore, only recorded by its media outlets. So, if you desire an accurate, succinct and well-written documentation of all that has occurred in YUSU since it’s formation in I-don’t-know-when, might I direct you to the Borthwick Archives in the JB Morell library. There, you will find editions of Nouse (and perhaps some other publication known to circulate on York campus) , in varying degrees of yellow-ness, dating back to the birth of the Union. Or perhaps more accurately, the birth of the papers.
For those of you with less time on your hands I suggest a rather wonderful website recently discovered by our Technical Director and present to you some, most likely unknown, facts about our university and union that will give a somewhat alternative history.
Peruse this wonderful website and you will discover that the YUSU building is a converted set of squash courts given to the Union in 1994. During its history is has been named ‘The Clean Pancake Building’ (1994) and ‘The Vaseline Building,’ the latter of these names awarding the Athletic Union £6000 from the makers of Vaseline for ‘most original advertising of the year.’
During its existence, YUSU has seen some unusual Sabbatical Officers. A Winnie the Pooh soft toy once got elected onto the YUSU team. He was, unfortunately, rapidly no-confidenced and now cannot stand for another sabbatical post.
During the late 60s/early 70s, a dog stood for SU President, but failed to be elected. And sometime in the 70s, some frivolous students faked a nomination for one of the sabbatical roles. Since the position was uncontested, the unperson was elected. When he failed to show up to the first YUSU General Meeting, he was no-confidenced and replaced. The story made the tabloids.
On the subject of elections, apparently an inflatable sex doll and a hoover have both been elected onto the Goodricke JCRC at some time. And York used to hold the record for the greatest number of people to stand on a postbox.
In more recent history, only last year York became the only Student’s Union in the country to have a pirate for a President, Mad Cap’n Tom Scott, our former leader, was democratically elected in 2008, when apparently no one thought through what would happen if he actually won, and the embarrassment this would bring to our student body.
The last year at York has also seen the opening of The Courtyard, the first Student’s Union bar (as oppose to a college bar) on campus. The bar opened on the site of the old Langwith College bar surrounded by worries that it would take business away from other college bars, which, seemingly, it has. The YUSU Studio also opened this year; a nice room in Market Square where you can get help with societies and sports.
For more history of the University of York, the Campus Folklore Guide should fill your needs (but beware it is out-of-date and inaccurate in places!)
(Student Centre photo: George Lowther; Tom Scott photo: Michael Brunsden)