Being 22 is not as fun as being 21. It’s great to know that we have the 22nd most satisfied student body in the country, but there’s still 21 places to go! The Vice-Chancellor missed out a big dollop of gratitude in his official statement about another league table triumph, and that was to students.
Over the summer, YUSU sabbs have been in contact with so many people wanting to help and it’s really warming to feel that we’re all pulling in the same direction. It’s no wonder we have such a high level of satisfaction when students are going to the ends of their wallets, time and academic worlds to meet the needs of their community.
I had a first meeting with the new Director of the Careers service this week, and she couldn’t believe it when I explained how many students would rather be getting on with things than filling in forms for the York Award, or would drop degree classifications to be involved in their college JCRCs, YUSU, sports teams and societies. I really believe that this level of responsibility is a by-product of our social diversity (we’re the most diverse student population of the Times Top 10), and it’s terrifying to think this could be jeopardised if tuition fees go up this year.
We’re in an exciting, but tough time with the expansion of Hes East, the library renovation and expansion of numbers along with a rocky financial climate. I just hope that the University remembers how vital it is to invest in and maintain student services at these crucial times. A bigger nursery, student family accommodation, extra resources in Disability services and more academic support for international students are all on the waiting list yet we’re seeing cuts to porters, cleaners and catering: the basic necessities which keep our students safe and healthy and which make college feel like home.
This year I truly believe that the bastions of the learner voices are going to be our 240 course representatives. I’m excited for the online elections and think they’re going to be the most contested, democratic and biggest that York has ever seen. We’ve made it easier than ever to nominate yourself for the elections online. We’ll be sure that our voices are being heard in departments, and that the pockets of best practice in different areas can be shared to maintain standards.
If we want to get better, the University needs to hear and respond to the student voice much quicker than they currently do to keep up with the times. Those departments who go above and beyond for their students will shine, whilst others will be identified and exposed as we build skills and institutional knowledge as a student body .