YUSU President Kallum Taylor:
York will feel weird for many without the omnipresence that is Kallum Taylor. He’s been president for two years now and focused on giving YUSU a ‘Public Face’ and an on-campus profile, doing block runs and having a strong Twitter presence (weird hashtags and all!). Here’s our review of his YUSU President position over the last two years- goodbye Kallum!
KalTay came into the job hoping to raise the profile of YUSU and get more students involved- and that he did. He increased his Twitter followers from the last President exponentially, became a real ‘public face’ of YUSU– we at Vision often make fun of his trademark scarf and tight trouser combo, but the very fact he has a trademark shows just how well known he has become. Also, although this has caused controversy, he has increased voting turnout by taking strong stances, and AGM turnout by hosting controversial referenda on the same night. He even gave free drinks to those who turned up in 2013. All in all, Kallum Taylor is the ultimate BNOC and his name will resonate around the halls of York for years to come.
He moved Live and Loud, the Freshers week festival, from the campus bars to Hes East. This pleased Heslington East colleges because it raised the profile of Hes East and got people over there, and also it improved the concert, making it into more of a festival than before and made sure that everyone got to see the headline acts.
The event is now a legitimately big event, with big names performing each year.
The only complaint he got was from some people who were worried the noise upset the geese. Poor waterfowl.
Kallum Taylor worked hard in favour of health science students in his term as President, and this is arguably one of the most notable achievements he made. He made wins including extended bus services for early morning placements, a hardship fund for students and also started negotiations to do with funding with the NHS.
Health science students definitely got a fair deal under KT.
Anna had a shaky start as a Sabb, with student media reporting that societies were annoyed at her lack of organisation, with Fresher’s and Refresher’s fairs being slammed as ‘poorly managed’. However, it would be prudent to note that the barcode scheme was piloted by her predecessor, for Fresher’s Fair, so to blame solely her would be unfair. Refresher’s fair was widely scorned as a complete failure, with one student complaining that only 8 people went to visit her society in YourSpace, and that was by accident. Mcgivern started off being very slow at communicating with societies too, affecting society events. She herself admitted that she had been slow. However, she did improve towards the end of term and does reply to emails quite speedily now. She’s always been on it with blogs, however little sense they make and if anyone bothers to look on the YUSU website you will probably find a chatty, long, rambly blog from Anna. Overall, she hasn’t completely recovered from her shaky start, but she’s improved immensely.
Academic Officer Dan Whitmore:
Daniel has worked a lot with RAG this year, for example securing a deal with the library to donate all fines to charity during RAG week. He’s also been trying to improve the library, by working with them to collect students’ views on the Key Texts sections, piloting a seat availability system which is available online, so we can see how busy areas of the library are (which is lucky, as the student behind @LibrarySeats graduates this year) and gave out free water bottles to keep students hydrated. He’s also worked to make sure academics get proper IT training- which will hopefully end the Overhead Projector tyranny in some departments…Overall, he’s been pretty active, and for a position which is usually filled by someone who isn’t very loud and one that is seen as a bit dull, he’s done a good job. He is very funny and personable on his Twitter and doesn’t come across as your ‘typical student politican’. He also gets involved in a lot of student societies and is generally a good sport, he is in HazSoc where he dresses as a zombie and pretends to kill people, and also in Pantomime society, in which he is performing soon!
Welfare & Communities Officer George Offer:
In his year of sabbatical tenure, George Offer has introduced YUSU’s new Call It In scheme, which has been widely praised and has previously been covered in Vision. It’s genuinely a great scheme, for students who have issues with any crime or want any form of assistance regarding security; they give free lock kits out for student houses for example. He also worked with Tron on the “Living Library”. He doesn’t take as strong stances on social issues as Bob Hughes did, and certainly blogs far less, but he has consistently, if quietly, plugged away this year. He also managed to focus his role more on the Community by changing from Welfare to Welfare and Community Officer. George was not as active on Twitter as some of his counterparts and was definitely not as creative with hashtags as some. He isn’t as much as a ‘character’ as other student politicians and is probably seen as a safe option for Welfare. Hopefully he will be as good at Academic next year!
Sport President Cass Brown:
Cass has fulfilled most of last year’s manifesto promises as she moves on to her second term as Sport President. She is very popular amongst the student body and is a personable, friendly Sabb. She secured Physio for sports players, helped us move up 10 places in BUCs, secured £10,000 of extra funding, to mention a few things she’s done. She’s also worked with Liberation and Welfare, trying to help Disabled and Trans* involvement in sport. Sadly, her aim of an away Roses win failed to take place, but this was obviously a difficult thing to pull off and not really her fault. Roses went really well; Vision was there and we saw it for ourselves! She really is very good at engaging students, and not just around election time either.