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YUSU Elections 2017: Mikey Collinson (Activities Officer)

Image: the University of York Students' Union
Image: the University of York Students' Union
Image: the University of York Students’ Union

Mikey Collinson, a Third Year Biologist, would like to become the new Activities Officer of the University of York Students’ Union (YUSU).

What inspired you to run for the position?

I’ve had some of the most amazing opportunities while at York as both a member and chair of a society and as a volunteer. Being able to make a small difference to the lives of students already is massively satisfying to me, and what inspired me to run to do it on a larger scale. My policies are aimed at improving what is already there for student groups, while introducing new initiatives that will make a difference to lives of all students whether they are involved with activities or not (yet!).

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Firstly, I’ve got experience of both the society and volunteering sides of activities at YUSU. They each have separate needs and requirements and being familiar with these will help me get the most out of YUSU (and the university) for these groups.

My manifesto is also full of ideas with things that will appeal to everyone. Whether you’re a society/volunteering project leader or someone not involved with anything, you can find something that will appeal to you and will make a difference to your time here at York. There are some things that I want to improve and expand on from previous year, but I also have many brand new and unique ideas that I believe will help activities be the biggest and best they can be.

How would your policies change student life at York?

I’ve got a load of exciting policies that I believe will improve the student life at York. My manifesto is broken into three parts, and I want to change student life by:

  • UNLOCKING RECOGNITION: introduce a points based society rewards scheme. This scheme will give you perks (such as Love York awards, discounted entry to YUSU club nights, promotion and public recognition on YUSU social media) for the work you already do, while giving you some aims to help your society develop further.
  • UNLOCKING OPPORTUNITIES: make it easier to find what’s right for you through an Activities Matchmaker. This will be on the YUSU website and will match you to opportunities that appeal to your interests, future prospects, and suit your timetable. I also want to push more RAG challenges with more achievable fundraising targets e.g. campus bungee jumps.
  • UNLOCKING SUPPORT: ensure your committees and volunteering projects are receiving support. I’ll hold open office hours where I’ll be free for you to speak to me about all things activities. This is to ensure that you feel supported by YUSU and any concerns or difficulties are being treated seriously. I also want to make society training easier and more efficient by putting it online and push for online YUSU finances.

What challenges do you expect to face in this position and how will you respond to them?

I expect the lack of money and space available to be the biggest challenges I’d face as Student Activities Officer. I’ll respond by working with the union to protect the money activities get and make sure that isn’t in anyway reduced, I’ll also work on making my proposed online society training includes valuable information on how to structure/what to include in grant applications and also how to approach getting sponsorship so that your group gets the best chance to get the money you need. For space, I want to work with the university to fight for more space that students can use in any future building plans, while making sure that the new updated Planon system is both functional, easy to use and makes the most of the space we do have by allowing student groups to be added to a waiting list so that no room is left empty after bookings are cancelled.

What has been your most enjoyable experience at university?

My most enjoyable experience at university was watching the last dance of the last performance of last year’s Central Hall pantomime that I had been producing for about eight months. Just seeing the result of all the work, long nights and no sleep was amazing.

Why should students get involved with extracurricular activities?

People should get involved with extracurricular activities because there’s a lot more to university than just work! It is the activities and people you meet through these that you are going to remember for years to come. There are so many things you can do at university that you can’t do out in the ‘real world’ so I’d really encourage everyone to get involved and make the most of your time here. There is something for everyone and everyone can find their niche.

As told to Richard Tester