Jamie’s November Update
Jamie’s November Update
Hi everyone, hope you’re all doing well and have been settling in back at Uni. This blog is going to be a quick overview of everything I’ve been up to across September and October.
Starting back at the beginning of term, Welcome Week was obviously very different this year to previous years, but the team at the Students' Union put a lot of work into creating a schedule that we hoped students would enjoy whilst also staying as safe as possible. I hosted a number of events, both in-person and online, including our Big Quiz and Bingo events. It was so good seeing students back in the SU building again and chatting to everyone at our 'Meet the Presidents' hut.
With the ever-changing landscape surrounding social distancing and, in an effort, to stay connected with our students, I’ve been hosting online events to provide a space for students to come and interact with the union. We have “Pints with the Pres” every other Wednesday where students can come, have a drink and chat to me and play games. I’m looking forward to more people joining in over the next few weeks!
Governing Body & Trustee Board
As part of my role as President of the Students' Union, I’m a member of the University Governing Body and I also chair the Students’ Union Trustee Board. Both are top-level, decision making bodies and it’s imperative to have student representation on them. Over the last two months, I’ve had various meetings as a member of both boards, discussing everything from finance policy to health and safety regulations. Very exciting stuff.
So, this is obviously quite a prevalent issue and I know there was a lot of upset and confusion surrounding the cancellation of our 2020 graduations. I had several conversations with the Vice Chancellor and with the University Governing Body and they agreed that they had gone about it the wrong way and reaffirmed their commitment to providing us with a physical celebration when they can.
Of course, one of the things we’ve had to do this year is adapt our activities to fit within the new COVID restrictions, and one of the big challenges we’ve had is understanding how the sports exemptions affect us especially with the move to Tier 2 restrictions. Alongside the Sports Coordinator and other members of the Union, I’ve worked to understand how the new Tier system will affect our sports, and we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure they can continue as safely as possible.
Parent a Fresher
One of my manifesto points was to create a “Parent a Fresher” scheme to help people settle into university life. This month I had a few meetings with SU Presidents at Unions that have schemes such as this to help understand how we can implement it and what works and what doesn’t.
Sports and Societies Council
Back in August, I created a proposal for a new democratic sports and societies council with the aim of enhancing the representation across all of our different clubs at YSJ. Alongside our Governance and Information Assistant, I’ve worked to establish the council and we have since seen most of our ratified sports and societies nominate members to sit on the council. We are currently working to implement a date for our first meeting.
Winchester Students' Union & York University Students' Union
We’ve had catchups with colleagues at both Winchester SU and York Uni SU to help build collaborative partnerships and share best practice across different institutions. It’s really useful seeing what other institutions are getting up to and if they’re doing anything that we like the look of as well! We have set up joint campaigns with YUSU. President of YUSU, Patrick O’Donnell and I wrote a joint letter to York Outer MP Julian Sturdy to challenge him on comments he made about students being the cause of the rise in COVID cases in York.
Men's Mental Health Month
November is Men’s Mental Health Month and as well as doing my best to grow a moustache for Movember, I’ve been working on creating a podcast series aimed at opening up the conversation surrounding different aspects of men’s mental health and I’m really excited to share it with you.