THE 2018 YUSU Elections have seen their highest turn out ever, with 5753 individual University of York students voting. Though the percentage of voters at the University has been higher in the past, it has bucked the recent trend of decreased interest in the YUSU elections, being the highest proportion of UoY students to vote in the past three years.
The voter turn-out did more than break the University records however, it also raised money for student causes. The University donated 50 pence to YUSU for every individual voter, with 40 pence going to the Class of 2018 Project (Equal Access Funds to support asylum seeker scholarships) and 10 pence going to Raising and Giving. This year’s RAG charities are the Independent Domestic Abuse Service (IDAS) and Action for Children.
YUSU also decided to donate money to a good cause this election, with every 1000 voters causing 10 pence to be removed from the price of alcohol in YUSU venues. This unfortunately ended after the results weekend.
The turn-out increased, inspite of new campaigning rules. Cardboard on the University campus was limited to certain areas, meaning that the visibility of campaign materials was sometimes severely limited. There was also a ban on materials being put on Central Hall due to accessibility issues. Formerly, sabbatical hopefuls have often hung banners as an easy way of increasing name recognition.
Regularly in the top 10 for voting numbers in the NUS. In 2015, the average UK university had a sabbatical officer election turn out of under 18 per cent. The University of York, meanwhile, has achieved just under 30 per cent.
YUSU President until June, Alex Urquhart, was ecstatic about the increased voting stats. “The fantastic turnout that we saw was a demonstration of the passion and tenacity that candidates bring to the election period. It’s great to see students engaging with the important issues that affect their student experience and the student community here at York. The University donated a total of £2876.50 to our causes; £2301.20 for Equal Access Funds and £573.30 for YUSU RAG. I am hugely proud of this.”
Alex Urquhart also told Nouse about YUSU’s money-raising achievements: “We’re so pleased we managed to negotiate the charity donation deal with the University and that this had a positive impact also on engagement. The Equal Access Scholarships Fund was lobbied for by past sabbatical teams and provides access to higher education here for asylum seekers that they cannot get otherwise, as they don’t legally get access to student finance.”
“The team are so proud that this, alongside RAG charities, the Independent Domestic Abuse Service and Action for Children, have received so much support from students here. We’re deeply moved by how much the UoY community came together on this. Thank you to everyone!”