Freshers are thrust into a new world, sometimes reluctantly, perhaps through clearing, and are forced to make new bonds that supposedly span from a year to an entire lifetime. The immediate facilitating of this enormous and mammoth milestone is undertaken by those courageous volunteers we refer to as STYCs.
Their principle responsibility is to enlighten their freshers regarding the night-life of York, encourage friendships and most importantly, give freshers a week to remember. The STYC/fresher relationship varies considerably. Some are extremely awkward, some are embarassingly forced and some are filled with laughter and joy. The liberty and character of the STYC helps mould which type of relationship is to manifest, the master and the apprentice, the parent and the child, or just good friends and how enjoyable the Freshers Week is to be.
I thought that we as a house would have to awkwardly begin discussions surrounding A-level results, secondary schools, home cities, summer excitements and musical tastes. Drawing attention to one another’s accents, region-specific words and their equivalents elsewhere .
The tactical deployment of STYCs under the command of their generals, the college welfare officers, offered a reality completely different to my preconception of Freshers Week. The reality: STYCs, the ones I encountered, are the life of the party, the beholder of the logistics behind (a) getting your housemate’s bed into the shower; (b) bribing your housemates with cakes and chocolates after a dispute; and (c) rooting out the culprit of food theft through careful deployment of laxatives. This brought forth a sweet and pleasant fresher/ STYC relationship.
However, this relationship, and the responsibility of the STYC is fundamentally in conflict. The STYC is contracted to make sure the freshers are safe from harm, making sure they have the best week possible in their new home. Whether this is through great nights out in town or introducing freshers to societies on campus.’
The boundaries need changing. STYCs need further liberty to give freshers a great basis to form lasting and entrenched bonds.
Irrespective of the boundaries, many STYCs overcome the fundamental conflict their role awards and offer an exciting week. They pass down the ability for interhouse ties to strengthen, they offer an approachable contact for advice and, most importantly, an avenue into second and third year parties.
Their selfless desire to give freshers an incredible week supersedes the responsibility bestowed upon them. Credit must be given to STYCs for their hard work and creativity, and people need to stop dismissing them as only doing it to get on the first-years. Possibly with greater liberty given to STYCs more freshers may gain unforgettable memories, friends for life – all within their first week of university. It would leave them wanting to be STYC in their own right when they take the mantle of becoming a second year.
STYCs are an unappreciated institution that should be given more liberty to carry through their duty.