As you blunder your drunken way through Freshers Week, you will come across a strange little collection of circles in orange and black, spelling YUSU. Standing for York University Student Union, these are the people who are supposed to create that mythical ‘student experience’ which everyone talks about.
The five paid Sabbatical Officers (Sabbs) are elected to represent the student body, and are supposed to ensure our complaints are addressed, rather than being buried in a pile of paperwork. They have an office in James College which is open to visit for confidential advice – currently undergoing a million pound refurbishment for the start of the year. All of the officers are York graduates, which should mean they have an idea of what students want; however, there is occasionally inevitable friction between the student body and YUSU. The Sabbs are helped by Student Officers, such as Racial Equality, who are there to represent all the different facets of student life.
YUSU promotes events such as RAG (Raising and Giving) which raises money for a select number of university chosen charities, culminating in a week where the colleges compete to raise the most money, ending in a university-wide parade into town. The ‘Viking Raids’ also come under YUSUs control; these drink-fuelled events are York-based pub crawls with around 1500 students participating. The students wearing a luridly bright t-shirt and/or some kind of Viking affectation are (generally) on one such trip.
YUSU’s support of campus sport has a good record. Whatever your interest there will be an outlet for it; from American football, to Octopush, to badminton, you name it we’ve got it. The sporting year culminates in Roses, where the teams of York and Lancaster University compete in a sporting version of the medieval Wars of the Roses.
Unless you desire to live under a rock (or permanently in the library) during your time at university you’ll get involved in society life. YUSU ratifies, partly funds, and generally supports nearly all societies on campus. A society can be where you make your closest friends, learn new skills, and further your interests…and YUSU is behind it all.
YUSU is often at the receiving end of negative campus press interest, sometimes merited, sometimes not. With a new President for the first time in two years it is not only Freshers who are looking forward to seeing what their Student Union can do.