Chris’s Semester 1 Highlights

Chris’s Semester 1 Highlights

As semester 1 has drawn to a close, it’s time to reflect on an amazing first part of the year. It was absolutely fantastic to see campus buzzing with students after so long away from normality and I hope this continues into the rest of the year and beyond. Here are some of my highlights (out of many!) from semester 1.

We all started the year by appearing on ITV’s Lorraine with Dr Alex George and Scarlett Moffat to discuss the mental health of students at university. I also made appearances on BBC Radio York to discuss the vaccine rollout and the spiking epidemic in York. 
We have made some good progress on addressing the rising cases of spiking in York through our #StopSpiking campaign. We now have anti-spiking devices available in the SU bar, we’ve begun collaborating with City of York Council to ensure a city-wide approach in York and are collaborating with North Yorkshire Police to set up a student safety survey providing students the opportunity to report incidents and create long-term change. 
I ran on a manifesto point to provide better private housing support and this was achieved through creating our new Housing Guide Booklet which is available to all students and provides great information for prospective tenants at YSJ. We also ran our housing fair which was a great success as well as our ‘Find a Housemate’ event.
When I took office, I immediately established a relationship with York Sexual Health clinic where we secured large amounts of free contraceptives for students. We are currently working on a better way to distribute both the contraceptives and resources in a discreet and private manner. 
During semester 1, we ran several successful campaigns highlighting issues and celebrating our diversity at YSJ. Our BAME Officer Kalen Reid ran Black History Month which provided fantastic content for students such as read and watch lists as well as recipe lists from black chefs. We also ran campaigns on student safety (involving the RNLI and the Fire Brigade), National Hate Crime Awareness Week, and ‘U Ok YSJ’. 
As we move into Semester 2, I’m working to get York St John Students’ Union signed up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme which I believe will be a big win for the organisation as a whole and provide great resources and training to our staff and students. 
Finally, we ended the year in style with our graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 who finally were able to graduate having waited a long time during the pandemic. It was amazing to see you all celebrate your fantastic achievements. We look forward to doing it all over again in February with our class of 2021 (and celebrating our own President of Education Aimee’s graduation!).
I hope you’ve all had an amazing first semester. You all deserve this time off over Christmas. It’s time to recharge and we cannot wait to see you in semester 2 to do it all over again. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
- Chris x
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