The University of York Students’ Union (YUSU) is essentially representative of every student at the University. Whilst representation is hardly at the forefront of every student’s mind, the Union is actually very important for ensuring the welfare and fair treatment of it’s members. On top of this the Union is also responsible for organising campus’ biggest and wildest events.
Most students neither know nor care who runs YUSU until election time comes round in March, when candidates will catch the public eye with stupid stunt and the excessive use of body paint. YUSU is in fact run by six elected officials, all of which are students at the time of their election. The officials take a year out of their course, many are in their final year when they run anyway, and take up a paid position as a union sabbatical officer (sabb). Their are six sabbs; President, Democracy and Services, Academic Affairs Officer, Welfare Officer, Sports President and Student Activities Officer.
Theoretically students go to University primarily to study. Though this may not generally be the case, studying certainly takes a high enough priority in most students lives to ensure the necessary pass marks needed to further their social calendar. The academic representation of YUSU supports students in their course, working with Board of Study representatives to ensure that students are treated correctly. The Union also checks up to ensure that departments are performing well and not letting down their students.
YUSU provides free condoms, lube and pregnancy tests to any student willing to reach across the reception desk in the YUSU offices and take a handful. YUSU welfare provisions go far beyond free contraceptives, with the Union offering confidential advice to any students, representation to minority groups and coordination with the University over welfare issues.
YUSU is the place to go to fulfill all your volunteering and charity-giving needs. Raising and Giving (RAG) is Union fund raising. It has a committee, magazine and everything. RAG evens gets a week in the Union calendar when students go crazy for charity, and subsequently skint. Student Action (SA) is all about students acting in the local and wider community. Organising lots of voluntary schemes, particularly Kids Camp, it’s the place to go for that feel good feeling.
As well as the issues of academic affairs and welfare, the majority of YUSU time goes to bringing the fun to students’ lives. As well as the alcohol fueled debauchery of the YUSU events calendar the Union also coordinates a range of non-alcoholic events throughout the term and is the parent organisation of all of York’s societies. Finally it is YUSU, and not the University, who offer a vast range of sports to all it’s students, with teams ranging from Football and Rugby to Ultimate Frisbee and Octopush.
(Photo: George Lowther)