Chris’s November Update
Chris’s November Update
It’s been a crazy and fun month at York St John! We’ve witnessed our class of 2020 graduate at the York Minster and it was incredible to celebrate everyone’s achievements during a tough 18 months. Amongst graduations, the three sabbatical officers have been hard at work on a variety of other projects.
Myself, Jamie, and Aimee held our feedback zones which sought to gather feedback from students on your experiences at YSJ. My zone focused on private housing, an area important to my manifesto, and we received some great feedback which will influence a lot of the work I do on this area this year. Thank you to those who attended our zones, your feedback is greatly appreciated (we hope you enjoyed the pizza too!).
We ran our housing week which featured events and resources for students looking to find new accommodation. We ran our ‘Find a Housemate’ event, our ‘Housing Fair’ (which was very successful and attended by students and landlords, letting agencies, and the accommodation team at YSJ), and I also released my ‘Private Housing Guide’ which will hopefully inform students on everything involved in the process – you can find our guide on the YSJSU website and come soon in print!
We have not taken our foot off the pedal when it comes to our efforts on tackling the spiking epidemic in York and we’re striving to ensure student safety is our utmost priority. We have now provided anti-spiking devices in both bars of the students’ union for students to take free-of-charge to bars and clubs across the city. I have also met with the City of York Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Monthly meetings in which I stressed the wishes of our student body to have more provisions from venues to increase safety on nights out. I was informed that the council is revising their licenses for venues to include more provisions on the duty of care to student patrons, as well as their ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative – this is a positive step but there is still a long way to go and we will keep working to lobby for more comprehensive change. We have also launched our new initiative, collaborating with North Yorkshire Police, which allows students to report anti-social incidents such as spiking, but also other issues they don’t feel as if they can go to the police over – be that verbal harassment, intimidating behaviour, unsafe streets, etc. Students will be able to remain anonymous should they wish and report details such as location(s), frequency. This information will be handed out to the local police who will be able to spot patterns and adjust their patrols if they notice any areas with high rates of reporting, or lobby the council to improve lighting or overgrown hedges to make streets safer. This is a massive step forward for our #StopSpiking campaign and allows real, quantifiable change to ensure that our students feel safer in York. Check out the Student Safety Survey here.
In a nice end to my update, myself, Aimee and Jamie took part in November’s graduation ceremonies. We were mace bearers in the platform party precession and also gave the student vote of thanks on behalf of some graduating cohorts. It was amazing to be able to share this experience with you all and we can all agree that it was a rousing success. From the uncertainty of the past 18 months, it was fantastic to finally be able to recognise the hardships and challenges you have all overcome to achieve your degrees and become graduates.