Jamie’s April Update

Jamie’s April Update

Hi everyone, it’s that time of the month again where I get to update you on all the things I’ve been working on throughout the month. I hope you’ve all managed to enjoy a little bit more normality with the restrictions easing and hopefully it’s one more step closer to us all being reunited. I’ll try to keep the update brief and digestible as I’m sure you don’t all want to read about the intricacies of the Trustee Board. As well as my day-to-day work, here’s some main highlights of the month:


NUS Conference:


So back in March, your BAME Officer Kalen and I were selected to attend the (virtual) National Union of Students Annual Conference. We were there to vote on national policies that have the potential to impact your experience and we also attended various seminars and workshops aimed at improving how Students’ Unions across the country operate and lobby. The highlight of the week must be attending the Students Deserve Better virtual rally where one of the guest speakers was Zarah Sultana MP. It was a powerful and emotional display of how students can come together to effect real change.


Graduation Working Group:


Something that I know we’re all thinking about is how the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown impacts our graduation ceremonies at the Minster. I sit on the Graduation Working Group and we meet regularly to discuss plans and changes in the landscape and how we can ensure that, when possible, we are able to celebrate our students’ success in York Minster. All students whose graduations have been potentially impacted by the pandemic should now have received an email outlining where we’re at with discussions.


Buddy System:


One of my first term manifesto points was to create a buddy system to help ease the transition into university life. We worked on it again throughout April and I’m happy to say that we’re on course to roll out a pilot scheme in September after some extensive work and research done by myself and other members of the SU.


VC 121:


As President of the Student’s Union, I meet with the Vice Chancellor once a month to discuss issues affecting the student body. This month the obvious topic was the May 17th return date and how we could mitigate the disappointment our students would no doubt be feeling and what we could potentially do to welcome students back on and around this date.


BBC Interview:


Following on from the previous point, the Vice Chancellor and I both appeared on the BBC, calling for clarity from the Government who had once again failed to mentioned university students in their latest announcements. Typically, the 17th of May announcement was made after we’d done the interviews, but nevertheless it was a good opportunity for us both to hopefully put some pressure on them to ensure students are not an afterthought.


Reconnect the Right Way Campaign:


With the lockdown restrictions easing and pubs, restaurants and bars slowly reopening we wanted to do a campaign aimed at helping students get back out socialising both safely and responsibly. We also wanted to highlight some fantastic local/independent venues that you can support if you feel comfortable going out. Check it out on the YSJSU Instagram and let us know your favourite local institutions.


Head of Teaching and Learning Enhancement Interviews:


Earlier in the month, I was invited to be part of the shortlisting and interview panels for a new post advertised by the University. This might not seem like an exciting thing to write about in the blog but the fact they want a student representative on the panel is a great display of the partnership between the SU and the University. 


6 Weekly Meeting with University Executive Board:


Another one I’ll keep brief. Every 6 weeks, we as an SU meet with the University Executive Team to discuss pressing issues and future plans. It’s a fantastic opportunity to raise our thoughts and concerns to the most senior team at the university and a lot of your feedback feeds into the agenda. Keep your eyes peeled for updates from these conversations.


Sports and Societies Awards Planning:


Throughout April, we’ve been planning how to deliver our virtual awards evenings in May. Whilst it’s gutting that we can’t celebrate your successes in person, we’ve been hard at work putting the plans in place to ensure that we can still acknowledge the work put in by our fantastic sports and societies over what has been an incredibly challenging year.


Student Council:


Your Student Council met for the final time of the academic year at the end of the month. As a collective of your elected representatives, they’re responsible for deliberating and deciding whether to pass any motions submitted and they also collectively hold the Sabbatical Officers to account. The minutes of all these meetings are available on the YSJSU website.