Take a walk around campus. What do you see? Well, really it’s a case of what you won’t see. Campus today is looking more and more like an empty, industrial space – void of any personality, character, or indication that our University is a thriving cosmopolitan place, full to bursting of student events and campaigns.
Last year, a simple spread of colourful, vibrant campus posters could have told you that. This year you’ll have to go elsewhere. After ten years of inactivity, the University has decided to crack down on student postering – once and for all.
I do not need to tell you that campus postering is the lifeblood of many student performance societies who depend on it, both for advertising their auditions and finding an audience. Financially, postering increases members and, in turn, revenue for York societies. It allows them to become a real campus presence, and on a frequent basis, to appeal to students who may have bypassed them in the overwhelming crush of people that is Freshers Fair.
Though the argument can be made that societies still have the option of storming social networking sites and mailing lists (and maybe even utilise YUSU’s resources) to send out frequent reminders about their events, the limiting of marketing events to a purely online format, while more environmentally friendly, significantly undermines the true power of campus posters.
The thing about posters is that they always appear in the places you’re most likely to read them – whether you’re queuing for the cash point outside Vanbrugh or hoping for something to read on the back of the toilet door – they’re always there to provide a brief aversion from boredom, they may even plant a desire to join a new society or encourage you to take up a previously unexplored hobby.
However, for me, the biggest unanswered question remains that considering this ban has existed for the last ten years, why is it now that the University is suddenly pressuring to enforce it?
Ultimately, the university is alienating some of its most dedicated students: those who put an incredible amount of time and effort into providing an environment where students can follow their passions and gain those much needed transferable skills. That might be honing their employability skills at a Law Soc career event, representing the University as a volunteer in the local community, or just being the back end of the Panto horse in PantSoc’s Christmas performance because a good sense of humour and experience in working with a variety of people will be essential given the uninviting job market.
Furthermore, while the University may be hoping to gloss the buildings over and glitz up campus for the prospective ‘nine granders’ coming to have a poke around, it seems they’ve forgotten what really draws students to a University – a sense of community.
In the past, posters have told prospective students of the huge variety of events and groups on offer. From Dubstep to KnitSoc, from DramaSoc plays to debating, a brief walk from the library to Vanbrugh is all that would be needed to showcase to prospective students how much, beyond their course, the University has to offer.