Nouse analyses how this year’s Sabbatical Officers have fared in what many have termed a turbulent year for students.
Under pressure of rising tuition fees and cuts to Higher Education budgets, the six Sabbatical Officers have had to deal with both local and national issues in the past year.
While some went above and beyond the call of Sabbatical duty, others did not do so well in achieving their policy pledges, made last year when they first stood for election.
YUSU President, Tim Ngwena, commented: Policies form a fraction of the officers workload…without them, a representative would have no direction but if a representative only had their policies, they would only be representing the perspective they saw while studying.”
The implementation Democratic Review next year may force major changes to how the next team will work, and it will be interesting to observe whether more students will engage with YUSU, particularly after the removal of the Democracy and Services Role.
Tim Ngwena – President
√ – Bring back democratic stewardship to President
√ – Additional Union space
√ – Create accessible communication channels and Presidential reports
? – Centralise staff support to enable JCRC’s to focus on their issues. YUSU have secured funding for a JCRC Co-ordinator, currently consulting College Chairs on the role.
? – Strengthen communications between Colleges and YUSU.
√ – Collaborate with the ISA and GSA to provide a wider range of events.
? – Introduce a Union Reward card to redistribute some profit back to Colleges and societies. While the till system in the Courtyard has been adapted, the YOUR:Shop system is waiting the changes to be implemented.
Sam Asfahani – York Sport President
√ – Increase participation by ‘try something new’ campaigns
√ – Re-do the Sports Volunteering programme. The Programme has been restructured to its previous format, with YSIS involvement due to take place next year.
√ – Bring a 3G Pitch to York. With the York Sport Village due to open in Easter 2012, Asfahani managed to secure four 3G pitches within his first term of York Sport Presidency.
? – Provide coaching and referee training clinics or campus. This policy has been booked in for Fresher’s Week next year, under Asfahani’s second term as York Sport President.
Ben Humphrys – Academic
√ – Prepare for modularisation
√ – Prepare for funding cuts to Higher Education
√ – Extend funds for careers development and graduate employment links
√ – Support and strengthen Course Rep networks
√ – Increase interaction with the Careers Service
√ – Campaign for better, timely, consistent feedback. Humphrys has implemented a six week feedback rule for first-years.
√ – Assessment methods and test skills being learnt
√ – Support a range of learning styles and campaign to inform module choices
√ – Reject current proposals on Combined studies supervision
√ – Increase online resources such as the VLE, for every course
Nick Scarlett – Student Activities
√ – Introduce College based RAG raids
√ – Start RAG Week with a large scale College based apache relay race
? – Move all society administration online. The majority of administration can be done online including the ratification process, and allowing students to purchase society membership online.
√ – Create a programme of targeted skills based training. This has included ensuring York’s First Aid training is nationally accredited, and collaboration with the York Award.
√ – Introduce an summer opportunities fair
√ – Safeguard Kids’ Camp
? – Re-introduce SWAP. Scarlett has been working with the Volunteering Officer for this policy to be fulfilled this year.
Laura Borisovaite – Welfare
√ – ‘Skint’: tips on cheap living.
? – Free condoms: all campus events
? – Shorten Health Centre waiting lists; bring prescription ordering online to campus
√ – De-stress campaign: to promote methods of releasing stress during exam periods
X – Termly planner: add customising tools like stickers for ‘exam’ periods
X – Increase interaction with the Careers Service. Borisovaite has admitted that her Academic policy pledges fell under the Humphrys’ remit, and so did not undertake them herself.
√ – ‘Housing checklist’ (continued from last year), set up housemate hunts
√ – Launch another Magicbus
√ – STYC training
Dan Walker – Democracy & Services
X – Publicise College events
X – Give JCRCs online exposure
X – Support a college branded freshers week
? – Clarity and Accessiblity
X – Create a forum on YUSU website
? – Create online opinion polls and UGMs to consult students for major YUSU events
– Begin working on making York a major gig city
√ – Use Central Hall as a venue for major events
√ – Work to bring live comedy to York
? – Utilise the mobile Courtyard
X – Introduce a Shopping Bus
X – Make sure a cash point is brought to Hes East
All photos: YUSU