Issue 272

Page 1

30.09.21

YORK’S AWARD-WINNING TABLOID NEWSPAPER

ISSUE 272

YORK’S SOCIETIES

How to get involved and what’s out there

LOCKED OUT

YUSU PRES: STUDENTS “ABSOLUTELY RIGHT TO BE FRUSTRATED”

Students Denied York Accomodation Despite Promised Clearing “Guarantee”

BY

MATT WARD-PERKINS

HUNDREDS OF YORK first years were left waiting a month for accommodation offers, only for some to be told their rooms would be in Hull. York Vision has found that many students now in Hull say they were promised on campus accommodation, before being advised to go private or even book hotels. Speaking to Vision, one parent criticised the University’s “dangerous advice” to book a hotel and hope that campus accommodation became available.

FULL STORY ON PAGE 5

18-MONTH PLATINUM CARD REFUND DELAYS PAGE 4


2

NEWS

Thursday September 30, 2021

News 2 Editor Perkin Amalaraj Deputy Editor Alex Rich Opinion 6 Editor Jasmine Moody Deputy Editor VACANT Features 24 Editor Iwan Stone Deputy Editor VACANT Lifestyle 26 Editor Em Whitehouse Deputy Editor Hannah Frost Science & Tech 27 Editor Sarah Veale Deputy Editor VACANT Climate 28 Editor Emily Houghton Deputy Editor Alex Openshaw Sport 30 Editor Marco Phillips Deputy Editor Georgia Lambert Stage S3 Editor Lucie Jubin Deputy Editor VACANT Food S4 Editor Georgia Lambert Deputy Editor Lucy Purkis Charters Games S6 Editor Matthew Igoe Deputy Editor VACANT Music S7 Editor Rory Sanger Deputy Editor Tom Holderness Screen S8 Editor Charlie Gaskell Deputy Editor VACANT Travel S9 Editor VACANT Deputy Editor VACANT Books S10 Editor Hannah Jorgensen Deputy Editor Jo Reed Relationships S11 Editor Holly Palmer Deputy Editor Naomi McGrath

Editor Matt Ward-Perkins Editor Will Rowan Deputy Editor Matt Igoe SCENE Editor Charlie Gaskell Chief Subeditor Lucas Lefley Subeditor Natasha Brooks Subeditor Hannah Frost Subeditor Georgia Lambert Subeditor Jo Reed Illustrator Niall McGenity Managing Director Marco Phillips Deputy Managing Director Tasha Croager Social Media Director Jasmine Moody Technical Director Marks Polakovs Photography Director Vittoria Avigliano Marketing Director Alex Rich Opinions expressed in York Vision are not necessarily those of the Editors, Editorial Team, membership, or advertisers.

STUDENTS AND STAFF SPENT OVER 15 YEARS IN SELF-ISOLATION BY WILL

ROWAN

8045 STUDENTS REPORTED to the University they were self-isolating at least once last academic year, York Vision has learned. Nearly 40% of the student body were forced into self-isolation last year, on and off-campus, due to COVID-19 lockdown laws. Analysis by Vision shows that, in Autumn Term alone last year, students and staff spent over 15 years in total in self-isolation. At the peak, 331 students and staff were self-isolating last October. If one member of a household tested positive for COVID-19, all members of the household had to isolate. The definition of a household included University halls where students share a kitchen or communal space, resulting in large student household bubbles on campus. Fresh air zones were introduced by YUSU last November to provide dedicated spaces near University accommodation blocks for self-isolating students to have an outdoor space. Updated guidelines mean that, for this academic year, fully vaccinated students will not be legally required to self-isolate if a member of their household tests positive for COVID-19. 90% of those who have com-

MORE THAN ONE IN THREE SELF-ISOLATED LAST YEAR

pleted the University’s annual enrolment have reported being partially or fully vaccinated. This is a significantly higher figure than the around 75% of those in the national 18-24 year old age group who have taken up the offer of a vaccine so far. It is even a higher takeup than that of the general population, despite widespread accessibility of vaccines for all adults only beginning in June. Of those vaccinated students, over 60% reported being fully vaccinated at the time of enrolment. In addition to pop-up vaccination centres operating at Freshers Fair, follow-up clinics are being planned to ensure students get their second dose as soon as the current eight week dose interval allows. Analysis by Vision found that over 1900 students, nearly 10%

A NOTE FROM THE EDITORS Matt WardPerkins Editor

YOU’LL HAVE HEARD this plenty of times over the past week… but welcome (or welcome back) to York! Just as importantly, welcome to the 272nd issue of York Vision, York’s award-winning tabloid newspaper. Over the last year we have been proud

of what our paper has achieved, as the most awarded paper in York at the national Student Publication Awards, where we were recognised as having the best digital media and second-best design of any paper in the country. In this issue we are once again bringing you hard-hitting

Will Rowan Editor

news, with a front page story revealing new detail on York’s accommodation madness, and the delays some students have found waiting for Platinum Card refunds. Elsewhere, you can find the views of our student writers in Opinion, the best ways to live sustainably in York in our

of the total student body, have reported a positive test result to the University in the past year, meaning that over 6000 students who had to self isolate last year did not test positive. YUSU President Patrick O’Donnell said: “Universities across the country saw increases in the infection rate at various points last year, along with many other regions with no universities at all. “The key thing to be proud of is that the overwhelming majority of York students did the right thing by self-isolating, reporting it to the University, and subsequently benefitting from a wide package of support on offer, which I am pleased to have secured after significant lobbying. “The really high level of vaccination take-up at York is promising and means our community will be better protected in the months

Climate section, and in Sport we are looking ahead to a new BUCS season, as well as speaking to Beth Moulam, a recent York graduate who has just returned home from the Paralympics. Our freshers supplement, FRESH, is your ultimate guide to life in York, from the best places to eat and drink, to the films you can find on campus this term, and York’s incredible student music scene. In our features section, we are sharing the stories of some of York’s societies – whatever you are interested in we think there is a home for you in a York society, and they are all ready for you to meet them to find out more (maybe even at Saturday’s Freshers’ Fair!). A new year means we are looking for new writers, editors, and members to join us, and our doors/messages/emails are always open for you to learn more. If you want to find out more about what we do, we’d love to see you at our welcome talk next Tuesday at 6pm in the Berrick Saul Building’s Bowland Auditorium. We’re returning to the same room at 6pm on Monday 11 Oc-

ahead.” A spokesperson for the University of York said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have made it a priority to support those who have needed to self-isolate, by providing regular welfare calls, food packages, and e-vouchers. “If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must let the University know via our student self-reporting form, and we will then support the student throughout their isolation period. “The student take-up rate of the vaccine (data from our students indicates 90% are fully or partially vaccinated), is fantastic, however, not everyone is exempt from having to isolate, so we continue to encourage students to closely follow the University’s guidelines to prevent any further spread of infections in the upcoming academic year.”

tober for our Editorial elections, which are the perfect way to get involved – we will give you everything you need to get started (and don’t worry, neither of us had done this before York either!). All year round, we will be working to bring you the best and latest in news, sport, reviews, interviews, and so much more, and we’d love to have you along for the ride – whether that’s as part of our team or just keeping an eye on our papers and online content. Writing this in Freshers’ Week, looking out the window of our office, it has been amazing to see life come back to campus in a way it hasn’t over the past 18 months, and we hope this week has been special for you too. All of us at university this year will have faced plenty of challenges over the past few years, and we genuinely believe that this community is an amazing place to find support, encouragement, and fun. Whatever it means for you, this is the year where we all hope we can find that university experience, free from Zoom socials, but still looking after each other as we try and move forwards.


NEWS

Thursday September 30, 2021

STUDENT REPORTS RISE

BY MATT

WARD-PERKINS

COMPLAINTS OF STUDENT misconduct more than trebled in the last academic year, York Vision has found. In the 2018-19 and 201920 academic years, the University received 45 formal complaints of student misconduct, but this rose to 145 in 2020-21. The dramatic rise in complaints was caused by complaints about student misconduct relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vision found that 90 of the 145 complaints that the University received in 202021 were related to alleged breaches of rules put in place because of COVID-19. However, a number of these reports contained other additional elements as well as those related to the pandemic, including bullying, physical violence, harassment, and damage to property. In comparison, fewer than five complaints were made about students relating to COVID-19 rule breaches in the 2019-20 academic year, as students largely remained off-campus after teaching moved online. The 145 complaints received by the University do not include all students who use the University’s Report and Support tool, as many reports submitted in this way do not become formal complaints. In the first months of the tool’s launch in the 2019-20 academic year after 1 June 2020, only 70 students used the tool, with an increase in 2020-21 t0 400. YUSU Community and Wellbeing Officer Kelly Balmer said: “As difficult as it is to hear that students at York are having to use the Report and Support Tool for reporting Student Misconduct, it is a positive reassurance that the Report and Support Tool is making it easier for students to report student misconduct, which will help make York a safer and more welcoming community. “It also means that students are being enabled to access the range of support that the University of York has to offer, which previously hasn’t been as easy.”

TEN STUDENTS WERE BANNED FROM ON-CAMPUS ACCOMODATION

3

STUDENTS SANCTIONED OVER COVID-19 RULE BREACHES IMAGE: Harry Clay

BY

MATT WARD-PERKINS

265 STUDENTS WERE given sanctions by the University after rule breaches related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a York Vision Freedom of Information request has found. All 265 students received formal warnings for breaking the rules, while around one in ten students found to have broken the rules also received a stronger sanction. Ten students were banned from on-campus accommodation as a result of breaking COVID-19 rules, and five were given three month exclusions from the University’s campus. Other punishments given by the University for breaking the rules included room moves and no contact agreements, as well as partial exclusion from areas of campus. Multiple students were hit with nine or twelve month suspensions from study and exclusions from the University’s campus. At least one student was referred to the Fitness to Practice committee, which is responsible for the monitoring and management of students in relation to health, professional conduct, criminal conduct, and failure to follow programme requirements.

In July this year, a Telegraph investigation found that Russell Group universities had fined students more than £430,000 for breaches of COVID-19 rules. The Universities of Warwick and Nottingham alone charged students £230,000 in permanent or suspended fines. However, Vision found that the University of York has not issued any fines relating to COVID-19 rule breaches. Speaking to The Telegraph, Professor Robert Dingwall, who sits on the Government’s scientific body NERVTAG and on the JCVI vaccination advisory group, said: “The sort of behaviour by campus patrols is clearly over-zealous in its attack on the kind of small-scale communal life that is important for student mental health and which would have passed unnoticed in thousands of private homes around the country.” YUSU President Patrick O’Donnell told Vision that “the vast majority of students have played their part over the last eighteen months to keep themselves, their friends, and our local community safe. “While elected officers have no involvement in complaints or disciplinary processes, I would hope that all sanctions given by the University are proportionate and investigated in a timely

manner. “It’s clear that those who did break the rules are in the clear minority of all sections of the population, and any assumptions suggesting that students are solely at fault for the spread of COVID-19 are incorrect.” A spokesperson for the University said: “Throughout the pandemic, we encouraged everyone to be vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When legal restrictions were in place, we had clear COVID-19 policies based on Government guidance for universities. These were frequently communicated to students and we outlined a range of proportionate sanctions - including warnings - if someone was behaving in an inappropriate manner. “While many UK COVID-restrictions have now been lifted, we still need to manage many aspects of day-to-day life carefully. We expect our whole community to play their part by testing regularly, and we strongly recommend wearing face coverings in busy indoor spaces, including teaching sessions. “We’d like to thank everyone for respecting others and helping keep us all safe, especially when it comes to protecting those most vulnerable in our community.”

OVER 3500 MADE SELF-REFERRALS LAST ACADEMIC YEAR

OPEN DOOR REFERRALS ALMOST TRIPLE BY MATT

IGOE

THE NUMBER OF self-referrals to Open Door has nearly tripled in the last academic year, a Freedom of Information request by York Vision has found. The number rose from 1293 self-referrals in the 2019/20 academic year to 3526 in 2020/21 - a 172% increase. York Vision also found that funding for Open Door and Disability Services has been steadily increasing since at least 2014. By the end of the 2019/20 academic year the University had spent £692,000 on Open Door and Disability Services. This was an increase of £210,000 from the previous year. The University stressed the importance of their student wellbeing services during the pandemic in the 2020/21 academic year. On their Coronavirus webpage, the University state that they are “still here to support you”,

and offer students “support from the team of mental health practitioners at Open Door”. In late 2020, the University revealed to York Vision that it planned to give £2 million to Open Door and Disability Services in the next year. It marked one of the largest known budget hikes for a University department. At that time, a University spokesperson said that: “We are not complacent and we continue to work closely with our students, YUSU, GSA, the NHS, and other partners across York and the region to ensure our students receive the appropriate help and support when they most need it This increase of budget followed an extensive 2016 report on student mental health by the University. This found that the number of students declaring a mental health concern has been increasing, and found evidence that, at any one time point, over one in four students in the UK were experiencing clinically-recognisable men-

IMAGE: Will Rowan

tal ill-health. Until the publication of the University’s Annual Financial Statement, it is still currently unclear how Open Door and the Disability Services plan on spending the rest of their increased budget. A University spokesperson said: “The pandemic has been a challenging time, as shown by the increase of self-referrals to the Open Door service. “Recognising the need to meet this increase in demand, we expanded our budget to recruit Departmental Open Door Practitioners and Wellbeing Officers. The University also put in place Togetherall, an online support service for students. “The Open Door service will continue to support students’ wellbeing needs, and will closely monitor demand and any issues arising from our student population. We encourage those who need help to contact the Open Door team or fill in a self-referral form.”


4

NEWS

Thursday September 30, 2021

SHEFFIELD’S ARCH NEMESIS FORGE PRESS HAVE dug deep in their coverage of protests against the closing of their archaeology department. Sheffield’s prestigious archaeology department was left on the ropes after it was announced that their department was at risk of closure. Forge Press kept students in the loop, particularly when a student-led petition was launched to save the department, one which went on to attract over 45,000 signatures. Following an internal review, the VC and members of senior management have demoted archaeology from a department to a discipline. Sheffield’s VC is of course our old friend and ex-VC, Koen Lamberts. If there’s one thing you can credit Lamberts with it’s giving student media events to cover, whether it was the thousands he spent on international flights as reported by Vision, or now by the Forge Press in the battle for Sheffield’s archaeology department.

BRISTOL’S ACCOMODATION CRISIS

EPIGRAM HAVE BEEN reporting on the ongoing accomodation crisis at the University of Bristol. Following a record number of successful applicants, the University was left unable to house all first-year students. Epigram covered the University’s response to the situation, including the large financial incentives, some of which totalled nearly £11,000, in exchange for students deferring their start date to the following year. This included a rent reduction of up to £7,000 in guaranteed university accomodation for the following year, and a bursary of £3,600 for their first year of study. However, Epigram revealed that some students were unable to access this support package, being told that those on their course were not eligible to receive it.

DETENTION CENTRE ROW IN DURHAM

PALATINATE’S REPORTING HAS had an impact in Durham, with the city’s MP promising to raise concerns over the University’s relationship with a controversial firm. The Uni has a facility management contract with Mitie FM Ltd to provide security and estate services, despite a related company being responsible for a controversial Immigration Removal Centre in the county, which students and staff have expressed concerns about. Mary Foy, MP for the City of Durham, told Palatinate she would raise the arrangement with the Uni’s new Vice-Chancellor.

LEEDS’ FIGHT FOR TRANS INCLUSION OVER IN LEEDS, The Gryphon has been reporting on calls from staff for an end to “systemic transphobia” at the University. The University U-turned on plans to change its Trans Equality Policy after pressure from students and staff who believed that it rolled back their commitments earlier this year, and the Vice-Chancellor has previously apologised after coming under pressure for liking and sharing Twitter content seen as anti-transgender. One of the latest issues highlighted is with Leeds’ IT systems, which the letter says can’t manage identity changes and so reveal the previous names, titles, gender, or natal sex of transgender individuals, and the University has now committed to updating their systems.

A LONG WAIT ON THE PLATINUM CARDS

IMAGE: YORK PARTIES

BY TOM

WILLETT

SOME STUDENTS WHO purchased 2019/20 Platinum Cards are still waiting for refunds for cards they were unable to use 18 months ago. Platinum Cards have long been a staple for students at the University of York, granting access and queue jumps to four student club nights a week over the University’s 30-week year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, holders of 2019/20 Platinum Cards lost out on the opportunity to use their cards during Term Three of that year. York Parties offered students a £22.85 discount off the price of the following year’s card - the value of six weeks missed in Term Three. Some students did not take this offer up, due to the ongoing disruption of nightlife caused by the pandemic. This has left students calling for compensation for the value they missed out on in Term 3 of 2019/20. Em Hawick, owner of a 2019/20 card, told York Vision: “I never received a refund despite the fact I emailed them on three separate occasions. “I never heard from them myself but heard from people that we were entitled to a refund if we emailed them, but I never got anything back.” Alex Andrews, a fourth year Archaeology student and holder of a 2019/20 card also criticised York Parties’ communication, telling Vision: “I emailed York Parties a few times regarding this, however I never received a response to any of my emails. “I found out later that this had happened to a lot of people in the same situation who never even got a response from York Parties.”

Students who had purchased 2020/21 cards also cited communication as a major issue. Ben Potter, a recently graduated AFBM student who purchased the 2020/21 card, told Vision: “At the end of the year, they did refund me the full amount. They did not communicate with me at all or apologise for anything at all. “I’m glad they gave the money back, but transparency is key in businesses like these, and it left me on edge throughout the year; wondering if I was going to see this money back.” When Vision asked YUSU if they were aware of complaints surrounding Platinum Card refunds, Activities Officer Sophie Kelly said: “A small number of students contacted YUSU for help with obtaining a refund with their Platinum Cards. “In most cases, it then transpired that the refund had already been paid without the student being aware of this. “The majority of refunds were processed in the Autumn of 2020.” However, some students were not aware of the ways in which to access a refund. Some students who have not inquired about refunds have not been granted them. York Parties did not contact students to let them know about how they could access a refund. Hawick told Vision: “They did manage to text me the other day to tell me that I can buy a platinum card for this year, so they can obviously communicate when it suits them.” Earlier this year, YUSU made the decision to partner with York Parties for their Official Club Nights contract. When asked by Vision whether this was the right decision given complaints from student, Kelly

said: “YUSU has directly received a limited number of complaints about the Platinum Card. “Where YUSU has been contacted, they have ensured that students have received the refund that they were entitled to. “The decision to work with York Parties was made by the five sabbatical officers, who unanimously agreed that they offered the best deal for York students. “They have a wealth of experience and expertise in this field, as well as a commitment to ensuring student safety and wellbeing. “York Parties pitched an offer that went beyond just nightclubs - they showed a genuine and thoughtful interest in student life as a whole at York, and how they could continue to support it - both financially and through how they are operating four brilliant student club nights.” Platinum Cards for this coming year are currently on sale, and Kelly said: “the student nightlife consultation conducted this Summer found a high proportion of students are interested in Platinum Cards and there is a clear demand for these”. Speaking to Vision this Summer, Kelly said that York Parites had “a range of improvements to their customer service process”. In response to this story, she gave further detail of what this would mean for students. “For general enquiries, students can contact the York Parties team from 1pm-9pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays (during term-time) on Whatsapp, or email them at hello@yorkparties.com. “In addition to this, students can chat to a York Parties ambassador on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 1pm and 3pm at either The Glasshouse or Courtyard during term.”


NEWS

“YOU CAN MAKE YOURSELF

INTENTIONALLY HOMELESS”” HOMELESS

BY

MATT WARD-PERKINS

HUNDREDS OF YORK first years were left waiting a month for accommodation offers, only for some to be told their rooms would be in Hull. York Vision has found that many students now in Hull say they were promised on-campus accommodation, before being advised to go private or even book hotels. Speaking to Vision, one parent criticised the University’s “dangerous advice” to book a hotel and hope that campus accommodation became available. A University spokesperson said that accommodation challenges were caused by “unprecedented demand” for on-campus housing. A number of first year students and parents of students told Vision that, when they applied to the University through clearing, they were told accommodation on campus was guaranteed. One first year student said: “The person who gave me the offer was one of the professors for my subject. She said: ‘as long as you accept your place by Thursday, you’re guaranteed accommodation’.” One parent of another first year said their daughter was told the same, telling Vision: “Before [my daughter] accepted the place, she rang up, I sat right by her and she spoke to the accommodation team to say ‘if I accept my academic place, will there be a room in halls for me?’, and they said ‘yes there would’.” On the basis of that phone call, the parent said their daughter rejected an offer from another Russell Group university, where on-campus accommodation would have been guaranteed. These apparent verbal promises match the commitment made by the ‘UoY Accommodation’ Twitter account in July, which said: “We will have a clearing accommodation guarantee, so students who apply by a certain date/ time will be guaranteed a room offer.” Multiple parents who called the University say they were advised to book an AirBnB or hotel for their child, as if they began the year in temporary accommodation like a hotel they would be a high priority for any University accommodation that became available. One parent said: “They said, ‘well you can make yourself intentionally homeless, so stay in a hotel, and you’ll be top priority if a room comes up in the first two, three weeks’, but they can’t guarantee that. “It just seemed the most dangerous advice

you could give to a young person.” A first year student said their parents were given the same suggestion, and “went a bit ballistic at [the University], because they were like, ‘no one can afford to stay in a hotel for an unprecedented amount of time’. “It could be one week, and then someone drops out and I get the place, or it could be two months, or it could be the whole year, and I’ve got nowhere to live.” Even as new students were told that no accommodation was available, the University continued to offer rooms in Franklin House to commercial guests and other visitors for £90 a night during term time. Students who called the University say they were first told that accommodation was oversubscribed around a week after Results Day. By the end of August, students and parents say they were being advised to look for private accommodation, with one first year receiving an email from the University giving a list of options for private housing. However, Vision was told that every private hall that the University suggested was already fully booked by the time the email was sent. York students offered rooms in Hull were only offered a 10% discount on rent, which was increased on Tuesday to 25% after pressure for a bigger discount, meaning that the average student is paying around £70 a week. Students who return to Anne Lister College in January would be expected to pay £149 a week, more than doubling their rent. In contrast to many other universities, in York oversubscription is, at least in part, a result of the number of offers made to students through clearing and adjustment. The clearing and adjustment process is one which the University’s accommodation team is involved in and where the University has control of the number of offers made. Multiple parents told Vision that they were told at the end of August that there were around 200 students who had applied through clearing and adjustment who had not received an accommodation offer. Added to this number were students who had York as an insurance choice and had not applied for accommodation ahead of the late July deadline. By the time the University made an offer of accommodation to remaining students in mid-September, some had already taken offers of private housing, telling Vision that they planned to view or accept rooms as far away

Thursday September 30, 2021

BY

IMAGE: Will Rowan

from the University as Clifton or Dringhouses. YUSU President Patrick O’Donnell said: “It’s hugely disappointing to see that York, along with a number of other universities across the country, has been unable to house new undergraduate students on campus this year. Our initial priority has been to try to ensure everyone is offered a roof over their head. “These new students are absolutely right to be frustrated, and should be compensated fairly by the University, before they are moved to new accommodation in Anne Lister College. “So far, we’ve lobbied the University to increase rent discounts to 25% as a disruption payment. “We have already secured over £10,000 in funding to support free events, activities and memberships for affected students, as well as a free shuttle bus service, 7 days a week, with the last bus leaving York at 3am. “The University has committed to exploring a hardship fund specifically for these students, to ensure they are supported in the coming weeks. “Any student who feels they are experiencing distress, hardship, or disadvantage should speak with our independent Students’ Union advice centre where we will try to support you in securing the support you need from the University. We’ll continue to do everything in our power to support students and ensure that all arrangements are continuously reviewed.” A University of York spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the uncertainty and distress that the demand for University-provided accommodation has created. We worked as quickly as we could to allocate rooms to students who were guaranteed accommodation, but we clearly recognise the situation for some of our students not placed in York is far from ideal. “We are fast-tracking our new purpose-built accommodation on campus and affected students will be fully supported with tailored welfare and social activities through our College teams and Students’ Unions. “Normally, a significant number of students choose to find their own private accommodation, and so every year we typically have many more students coming to York than we provide accommodation for on campus. “Demand has been compounded by a reduction in the availability of privately-let accommodation in York as well, which is why we have done all that we can to help students find alternative accommodation.”

LEAVES OF ABSENCE SKYROCKET WILL ROWAN

5

LEAVES OF ABSENCE increased by nearly 70% in years affected by the pandemic, a York Vision investigation has found. Both withdrawals from the University and leaves of absence increased to their highest levels in five years last academic year. The combined total of leaves of absence in the past two academic years, both affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, were nearly 70% higher than in the two years prior. 1875 students took a leave of absence and 2210 students withdrew from University over the past two academic years. Last year alone, 2205 students, over 10% of the total student body, either took a leave of absence or withdrew from the University. A University spokesperson said that students can still access University support to ensure this is the right option for them. They said: “We will be closely monitoring the data to understand the possible impact of the pandemic on leaves of absence.”

UNI OF YORK’S GUARDIAN RANKING FALLS

BY MATT

IGOE

THE UNIVERSITY OF York has fallen two places on the Guardian League Tables, and now stands at 18th. It has been overtaken by Leeds and Exeter, and is now five places behind Lancaster. It is tied with Strathclyde. Out of the 24 Russell Group Universities in the UK, York stands at 16th. Course satisfaction fell from 87.1% to 81.6%, and teaching satisfaction fell from 87.1% to 84.6%. However, the table showed that both the student to staff ratio and the spend per student have improved. A University spokesperson said: “League tables provide only a snapshot of universities and all the work they do. “The University of York has been shortlisted for University of the Year in The Times & The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022, and has also risen one place to 19th in the Guide’s league table. “Similarly, The University of York has been shortlisted for University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2021.”


6

OPINION

Thursday September 30, 2021

Vısıon YORK

OPINION

SAYS...

WHERE THE HULL WERE YU(SU)? YUSU SABBS AND staff have been working hard behind the scenes since we first learned of students being sent to Hull and Leeds. But if YUSU is really a union, this was the time to speak out. The time to show freshers who are brand new to the University that there is a voice that will publicly pressure their uni and fight for them. It feels like a missed opportunity for YUSU to take that role, and if students aren’t seeing their frustration matched by their union, that anger just goes elsewhere. It’s the anonymous social media pages of York that incoming freshers have seen criticise the Uni and give a voice to the injustice that they are feeling, so is it any real wonder that they can be where students go to campaign, rather than going through YUSU processes. If YUSU wants to be a campaigning force and the voice of students who feel let down, they need to know when to get loud.

MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME CREDIT WHERE IT’S due, YUSU and York’s colleges deserve praise for making this year’s Freshers’ Week events pretty much as normal. YUSU bringing back a full-scale festival, comedy night, and multi-route bar crawl must have been a big call, as nobody knew this Summer what October would look like, and plenty of unis and SUs will have made the decision to scale back. Our colleges haven’t backed down either, delivering a range of club nights and non-drinking events that look refreshingly familiar to two years ago. And it’s paid off, with demand for YUSU events seemingly higher than ever as standalone tickets for Freshers’ Festival and Comedy Night were already sold out a week ago. Let’s hope our events for the rest of the year are as normal as these few weeks.

JUST START DOING GRADUATIONS ALREADY IN JANUARY IT will be two years since the last in-person graduation ceremony at York. Now, we get why the Uni didn’t do them last Summer and this January, and you can even try and justify ceremonies being cancelled this year because of uncertainty about what the COVID-19 rules could be. But it’s Freshers’ Week and here we are, with club nights and major events on campus, and travel rules starting to relax. Nothing’s going to be certain in the world for a while, but the longer we delay the more students will be impacted - the test for the Uni should be that nobody due to graduate next year should be left waiting while we catch up. There’s no perfect time to get on with it, and if we wait for that then there’ll be disappointed graduates next Summer.

YUSU SABBS: GET OFF YOR-FENCE IMAGE CREDIT: WILL ROWAN DAN BENNETT CONTRIBUTOR @danbtweetz

A NEW ACADEMIC year has begun, and with it comes all the same old familiar sights; cars stuffed with overfull bags and proud parents, the shine of brand-new seats in your favourite campus bars, and a meme page starting a petition asking for fundamental change to a YUSU policy. The York Parties situation was always going to be messy. Sophie Kelly stood on a manifesto of promising to “listen to student voices” in order to “reinvent York nightlife”, however some of the loudest voices in the student community are undeniably York’s anonymous social media pages. All these pages have been overwhelmingly against York Parties, but with the company being the biggest and longest-established one in the running, it was always likely they were going to get the contract despite the flaws many have levelled at them, so controversy was destined to happen. And every part of the proceeding debacle was entirely predictable. These pages were always going to push for a student-run competitor company to be used. These pages were always going to create an outrage when York Parties was chosen. These pages were always going to publish unsubstantiated claims about both YUSU and York Parties. These pages were always going to target this outrage onto a figurehead like Sophie Kelly, she would have known all of this would happen and she had two good choices as to how to deal with it. Firstly, she could have engaged with these pages directly, respond-

ing to their many story posts on her own accounts, or message them directly. This isn’t a case of replying to everyone, just engaging with the largest voices who were being vocal against her. Not doing so, therefore, implies she knows about the negative reputation of these pages. Their past actions have been seen as problematic to say the least, once even going so far as to force college committees into a rare moment of actual action to call one of them out.

“We saw a Sabbatical Officer once again sitting on the fence” This would justifiably make anyone hesitant, yet if this was the case Sophie should outright name and shame the pages launching a petition against her, rather than letting them control the narrative. But instead, we saw a Sabbatical Officer once again sitting on the fence, neither talking to the page or calling them out directly. Instead she stayed remaining awkwardly perched between the two and as such letting the anger on both sides grow. And we keep seeing this fence-sitting. In the space of a few months leading up to his re-election, Patrick O’Donnell went from saying that the pages were not part of a community he wanted to be a part of, to responding to one of their messages, to then implying that he disagreed with them but that it was wrong not to engage with them, to finally settling on the vague stance that he would “happily call out people where they do things wrong” (without directly calling out the attack on a URY presenter that this was in response to). This refusal to pick between condemnation or open cooperation could very well be

interpreted as Patrick not wanting to upset anyone before an election and putting student politics before principles. I would make the case that the act of choosing which YUSU-external groups to include in debate regarding our Union and which ones to dismiss is one of the few actual tangible powers a Sabbatical Officer has, far more so than their chosen crusades of tackling tuition fees or single-handedly reinventing a city’s club scene. Allowing appropriate external voices to influence YUSU will let the Union’s future be directed by everyone, not just the few dozen people like us who already follow it closely, and it is a real shame that certain Sabbatical Officers shun this duty in favour of cosplaying as York MPs. Everybody knows the deal with these pages, if Sabbatical Officers believe the pages to be problematic, they should call these out directly and condemn them, otherwise if they genuinely do not see a problem, they should include them directly in the conversation in some way. Our elected Sabbatical Officers need to pick a side and get off the fence before the next big controversy comes up, or be forced off these wooden perches by the student media groups who are quick to highlight it when such controversies occur; either that, or none of us should act surprised when the Sabbs continue to talk like they have splinters up their arses about the whole affair.

Bottom Line: Everyone knows about these pages, so either condemn them or communicate with them.


OPINION

Thursday September 30, 2021

YORK IS WORTH THE WALK

OPINION TEAM JASMINE MOODY POSITION VACANT

BY

IF INTERESTED PLEASE EMAIL VISION@YUSU.ORG

WHY LGBTQ+ CLUB NIGHTS MATTER IMAGE CREDIT: WILL ROWAN MATT ROGAN YUSU LGBTQ+ OFFICER @MattRxgan

AS YOU MAY have seen recently, students in York will be able to go to not one, but two brand new LGBTQ+ club nights every term! I think this is fantastic. Finally, we have nights on offer that are dedicated to our wonderful York LGBTQ+ community, and they come at a time when we’re at last getting the queer culture the city has been lacking. When I first arrived in York, back in 2019, I must admit that the city had – in my opinion at least – no queer scene. Google searches didn’t bring much up in terms of LGBTQ+ things to do at the time, aside from local charities (York LGBT Forum) and the LGBTQ+ Social Society at the university. I remember when I first found out about Portal Book-

shop – it was a hidden gem within the city! However, I remember this distinct sense of wishing that we had more LGBTQ+ spaces and events in the city. So, with two brand new LGBTQ+ nights – with one student-only night and one open to the public – I feel we’ve been spoiled for choice!

“I remember that distinct sense of wishing that we had more LGBTQ+ spaces and events in the city” When Dan and I first ran for LGBTQ+ Officer, we dreamt of getting an LGBTQ+ club night; dreamt that we could “work towards getting a club night for students. Whether it’s in town or on campus, we [wanted] to ensure [that] LGBTQ+ students have somewhere to go to enjoy

themselves in a safe, supportive space”. This was the achievement we were ambitious about, but with COVID-19 throwing a spanner in the works, it became something – when we re-ran a few months ago – that seemed impossible… yet here we are! Not only do I think these new club nights will be safe spaces for queer people to enjoy themselves, but I also believe they will be nights in which we can celebrate and appreciate queer culture. For many people, events like Pride are the only times they can wear Pride flags as capes, become embellished with rainbows, and dance along to LGBTQ+ anthems; these club nights will be a space all year around to do exactly that! And, like Pride, I hope these will be events that all queer people – from the loud and proud, right through to those still figuring themselves out – can feel celebrated at.

Overall, I believe we’ve come so far from when I first started here at York. We’ve gone from no club nights at all to having two; we have the brand-new Lunar Café – a dedicated space for LGBTQ+ people (which I highly recommend going to if you haven’t already!) - along with a queer-friendly hairdresser, Glenn Miller. The university have even named two new colleges after queer people/queer allies, and continue to fly the progress pride flag by Central Hall. LGBTQ+ representation has come so far here in York, and I only have four words to summarise how I feel: Long may it last!

Bottom Line: LGBTQ+ representation has come so far here in York, long may it last!

ENDING ONLINE TEACHING EARLY WILL LET PEOPLE DOWN JASMINE MOODY OPINION EDITOR @Jasmine07404371

THIS ACADEMIC YEAR is seeing students return to campus, and the University seems to have forgotten that COVID-19 is still creating chaos for some. There have been plenty of issues this pandemic. Take the anger of recent graduates about the lack of an actual graduation as a clear example. However, York hasn’t flopped at everything: outdoor venues, testing and vaccination centres, and the £2 million budget to Open Door and disability services. It could be worse, but we still need to demand better. The Vice Chancellor said we will have “in-person teaching and learning from the start of term”. COVID-19 has caused utter chaos, including limiting travel. This clearly affects international stu-

dents, but the University will only continue online provision for the first six weeks of term. That online teaching certainly takes into consideration some of those who are unable to return to campus due to travel restrictions. YUSU International Students’ Representative Juné Tiamatakorn told me that it’s a “good idea” and will ensure that international students “will feel included in these difficult times”. This temporary continuation makes education accessible, demonstrating that educating York’s students is at least on the Uni’s list of priorities. However, the email failed to mention disabled students and whether they will be given the same help. It was wrong for disabled students not to be mentioned, especially since online provision is supposed to provide accessibility and support those who need it. Disabled Students’ Representatives Victoria Cornford and

Rowan Casey told me that they were disappointed about the exclusion of disabled students in the Vice Chancellor’s announcement, and I can see why. Inclusion is for everyone, and excluding one group from the announcement completely goes against what the Uni should be trying to do with their online provision. No wonder our Disabled Students’ Reps said to me they feel like the disabled community at York is “an afterthought”. They say they have been told by the Uni that “disabled students should contact Disability Services to make arrangements”, but this information was only sent directly to them. This doesn’t sound very accessible. The Uni should have been clearer so every student who needs to know this has all the information that they need. So what happens to those who can’t return after six weeks? Do they miss out on their education, or will the Uni continue to help

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those stranded? Juné told me that online provision should last longer than six weeks due to the “stress and cost of travelling during COVID-19”, adding that International Students do not need any more pressure. Similarly, Victoria and Rowan said that the University should have planned to do “both online and in-person for the first term”. I guess we’ll have to wait and see but we can only hope that this academic year will be accessible to everyone. We will also have to see if the University is truly considerate towards ALL their students throughout this incredibly challenging time.

Bottom Line: The University should continue online teaching for everyone who needs it, so no one misses out.

MATT WARD-PERKINS

WHEN I THINK back to my first year, one of my biggest regrets is spending too much time on campus. Yes, there’s plenty of great stuff here, and I love an evening in Courtyard as much as the next person, but there are some things you need to get off campus to do best. Realising I shouldn’t do the big shop at Nisa took me embarrassingly long, but once I did that first walk through the slightly intimidating barracks to Aldi and saw the difference in my bank account, I didn’t look back. Just a walk away, York has amazing food, coffee, bars, and music, and more than often it’s quite a bit cheaper than what you’ll find in the comfort of campus. York is an incredible city, and there’s so much to find, so you’ll need all the time you can get.

MAKE YOUR FIRST YEAR COUNT BY WILL ROWAN

WE’RE OFTEN TOLD “first year doesn’t count” but you should make it count. The marks may not matter but it’s a year full of opportunity. It’s a time for you to find yourself. Explore your interests, meet people with different experiences, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone a little. There’s always a trade-off between your course and everything else. Of all the years, first year is your chance to look beyond your course and try a bit of it all. By the time second year comes around, you’ll be longing for those times you could roll out of bed to a lecture and pop to another block for a chat. First year can set you up for even better following years, whether in a sports club or society committee, or simply knowing your way around. It’ll all help. There’s more to York than a degree, make your time count.


@ImogenWebbe


COLUMNS

Thursday September 30, 2021

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@ImogenWebbe

WORLD WIDE WEBBE IMOGEN WEBBE

THERE’S NO EXCUSE IN YORK: PLASTIC IS NOT FANTASTIC!

You might not know it, but there’s plenty you can do in York to go green on the cheap EY UP, WE’RE back on campus! Well, many of us are. And to those of you just dipping your toes into the warm waters of higher education: Welcome to York! One thing we saw improve over the past year and a half has been our appreciation of this planet and lounge wear, but that’s by the by. As your in-house vegetarian planet-lover, I’m here to offer some words of wisdom on keeping it green at uni on the cheap. There’s simply no denying that our uni can be a lush haven, but I’m sure us students can be doing more to keep it this way. Often credited with perpetuating a ‘throw away society’ awash with single use plastics, us young’uns don’t half bear the brunt of it all. And, to be honest, there’s no reason why we should. A circular economy means less money is spent on new things save the ground, save the pound as I say - and saving money is something we all love to do. To me it’s pretty clear: reuse what you have, reduce what you throw away, and recycle wherever you can.

So, where to begin? The first couple of weeks will take some getting used to, and figuring out what day the recycling bin gets taken out isn’t at the top of anyone’s priorities (I imagine), but do make sure you’re putting the right things in the right bins. Genius, I know. Empty bottles of VK, Kopparberg and Heineken recycle well (to name a few). Remember that things like bread packets, cling film, and packets from cheese can’t be recycled at home. So, what to do? Why not get into the habit of collecting those plastics and bringing them to the bin at Hull Road Co-op. Going out-out? Woah, put down your third PLT package this month! Let’s talk about ethical clothes shopping. While I absolutely love a charity shop, I’ll be the first to tell you they can be a little pricey in York. Fear not, I have some other ideas up my second-hand sleeve. In York city centre we often get pop-up vintage shops at Spark as well as some permanent shops on Walmgate and Goodramgate. Another one of the best ways to reduce the amount we throw away

is to repair what we already own - like that that jacket you love but the lining is coming away, or those trousers you bought that have legs longer than anyone’s ever had. If you’re not handy with a needle and thread yourself, there are clothes alteration shops in the Shambles and on Fossgate. Finally - and this one’s my favourite - download Vinted and get selling your old outfits to make room for some new ones. Many of the items on Vinted are big brands, many still with the tags, and you can practise a bit of haggling to lower the price! Save yourself some money and help someone else have a clearout at the same time. What’s not to love?! To fill your fridge and cupboards there’s Asda, Lidl, and Morrisons, of course, but here at York we have our very own student-run zero waste food shop ‘Scoop’. Head over to Wentworth college to order a fruit and veg box, or custom-weighed grains and pulses. You’ll also find organic hand sanitiser and reusable masks that won’t break the bank. The concept of ‘only buy-

ing what you need’ can be a pipe dream for many, especially when you’re only cooking for one and you want to use just a quarter of the cucumber right now. One of the best pieces of advice I have for you is to talk to the people you share a fridge with and agree to go halves on things such as milk that go off quickly (the operative word here being ‘talk’ - don’t just assume they want to share!). Why not take turns buying the items, and maybe once a week you can cook together to use up any leftover ingredients. Making multiple amounts for one meal means that you can freeze the rest, saving waste and time and leaving more time for… studying in the library of course. Invest a little money in some good quality Tupperware and you’re all set. Don’t forget when you’re on the move that it’s 20p cheaper to buy a coffee when you’ve got your YorCup; it doesn’t cost-a-latte to invest in the initial £5 for a little green sleeve that means you get a clean reusable cup over the counter at a campus cafe - with the first drink free. Little waste but a lot saved. So how are you getting around

York? As the world is tearing itself away from endless Zoom calls and home workouts, there’s no denying that we’re using our cars more and more. If you don’t have your own bike then the Uni rents them out on campus - just look out for the cycle pool scheme. Public transport in York, though known for having its issues, is a greener alternative to Uber-ing your way around. If you buy a day ticket it’s much cheaper, too. But of course, I do understand that we live in a society of convenience and sometimes we do just want a taxi. So why not share it with your new housemates (or offer to drive)? That first trip to the shop together is a bonding experience and should help to break those early nerves. At the end of the day, someone has always left their toothpaste at home. I’m well aware of the fact that being mindful of the environment is time-consuming, and time is not something many of us have if we’re working, studying, or socialising. Kuda beckons, but so does the planet, and we’ve all got a part to play.

RELOCATION. RELOCATION. RELOCATION IT’S SAFE TO say that accomodation this year has been a complete disaster for York students from both universities. The student population has been steadily growing, yet York, a relatively small city, was clearly unprepared for the larger-than-normal cohort of students coming this September. It’s a dilemma even Kirsty and Phil would struggle with. But

surely this could have been foreseen by University management? We’ve all heard that around 150 first year students who were guaranteed accommodation by the University have been housed 40 miles away in Hull. I understand that some freshers have even resorted to deferring due to accommodation offers, and I don’t blame them. But for the second and

third years, the postgrads and international students who are more likely to seek private rented accommodation, available housing is proving impossible to obtain, let alone affordable. As a returning third year I have been looking continuously since March. I regrettably didn’t sign up for halls, This may need some updating, how about Hes East East? I think it could and I do feel somewhat

catch on!

misled that the city just isn’t able to house me. For at least my first term I will have to take the weak advice of the accommodation team and commute into the city. It’s a reality for many of us. The daily phone calls to estate agents are getting tiresome, and the chances of living anywhere near the University are growing slimmer and slimmer. This was avoidable. York, do better.



FRESH. SCENE. BY

INSIDE:

THE DEAD DUCKS: OUT OF WATER MAPPED OUT: YORK’S BEST FOOD & DRINK SHOWCASE: OUR CAMPUS MUSIC SCENE YSC TERM 1 GUIDE CAMPUS DATING HOTSPOTS


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CONTENTS

Editor’s Note guide for all your cuisine concerns. And, for those looking for love, we have a breakdown of the best dating spots on campus in our Relationships section. With many print editions planned this year, I can’t wait to expand our team of editors, contributors, and complainers with fresh faces and ideas. I share the Vision office with a team of truly terrible people, IMAGE: ALEX HOLLAND so any newcomers would be welcomed with open arms and tears of joy. Of course I’m t’s happening, everybody stay calm. After a joking. Without the hard work and dedicalong summer of failing to be productive and tion of our (very) senior editors Matt and Will succeeding at procrastination, I’m proud to – perhaps the most powerful duo in student say Vision is back with our latest FRESH edimedia – this print wouldn’t be the same. tion brought to you by SCENE. Like the Batman and Robin of the Vision It’s been an interesting and wholly difficult 18 office, they regularly make a Joker out of me months for everybody, and I’m sure you are all through their determination to go above and thrilled to begin a new university year that can beyond. Your first year of university will go (hopefully) put the past behind us. First things by like the Flash. But fear not, Batman and first, welcome and congratulations to any of the Robin are here to guide Vision to a bright, new lot joining us at York. It’s been a lot of fun exciting future. crafting an edition catered towards people new Of course, this edition is all about looking to York and I can’t wait for you to read it. forward to the new term and the many fun FRESH contains the essential articles to things to come. But allow me one chance support your university life and offer the advice to get nostalgic, and say another thank you. that can only be learnt through university expe- This time to our previous editors. Their rience. For those dreaming of BNOC status, our work last year has enabled the new team stage section contains a guide to having your to pick things up with ease, and we are all voice heard on campus (East & West). Following very grateful for the InDesign templates that that, Food and Drink provides a day in the life make our lives just that little bit easier. Now that’s over, let’s head back to campus. To the many returning students who have seen the quirks of campus and sticky Salvos floor one too many times; or have made one too many trips to the Quiet Place, and may even grimace if you hear that dreaded duck mentioned one more time, I’m proud to say our latest edition also boasts a host of reviews and interviews. And fear not, SCENE will be back very soon. Later in the year, you can look forward to hearing film critic and author Helen O’ Hara talk her new book ‘Women vs. Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of Women in Film’, taking us on a guided tour of the deeply flawed Hollywood system. We are also eagerly anticipating Vision in conversation with Tommy Wiseau, director of the seminal classic The Room.

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FRESH: Our Edition in Images

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SCENE Editor Charlie Gaskell Chief Subeditor Lucas Lefley Subeditor Hannah Frost

Charlie Gaskell

In previous editions, the cinematic world has continually crept into the psychology of our punning wizard and editor Will. His piece titled, ‘You’re tearing me apart, Nisa!’ exemplified the stronghold and control that Tommy Wiseau has over our writers. Other cinematic headlines stored carefully in the Vision office, ready for the appropriate time include, ‘Oh, hi Spark’, ‘Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty duck’, and ‘Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the Warhammer room!’. Or, for the inevitable inquest into Derwent living conditions, ‘I love the smell of asbestos in the morning’. As this is an editor’s note I suppose I should try to offer some advice to the fresh faces on campus. Now, before you continue reading, just remember you’re taking advice from someone who thinks Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a great film. Okay? Here goes. If I can give any tips to freshers making the brave dive into university life: take your time and try new things... and don’t, under any circumstance, commit flatcest - that’s experience talking. And, perhaps even more important than that, get involved with Vision! Oh, and for new students. I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but Long Boi isn’t 1 metre tall like many misinformed non-Yorkers have claimed. That is fake news. He barely sniffs 0.7 metres. Despite James Cordon’s lies, in reality he’s more of a Mid-long Boi. But we love him nonetheless, and I’m proud to dedicate this edition to him. Long may he reign over us. ‘That’ll do, duck. That’ll do.’

Subeditor Jo Reed Sex & Relationships Editor Holly Palmer Deputy Editor Naomi McGrath Books Editor Hannah Jorgensen Deputy Editor Jo Reed Music IMAGE: IMDB Editor Rory Sanger Deputy Editor Tom Holderness Stage Editor Lucie Jubin Food & Drink Editor Georgia Lambert Deputy Editor Lucy Perkis Charters Travel Editor Position Vacant Deputy Editor Position Vacant Games Editor Matthew Igoe Deputy Editor Position Vacant Screen Editor Charlie Gaskell Deputy Editor Position Vacant

IMAGE: D.S PUGH

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STAGE

STAGE EDITOR lucie jubin DEPUTY STAGE EDITOR position vacant

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The Dead Ducks: Ducks out of Water

Luke Luxson

F

ounded in 2019, ‘The Dead Ducks’ are the University of York’s resident sketch comedy group. The 3rd generation of the troupe wrapped up their cross country, 11-day show ‘The Dead Ducks: Ducks out of Water’ at York’s Theatre41. You only need to catch a snippet of their material to see that the cast of ‘The Dead Ducks’ are talented performers and sketch comedy writers. Each sketch performed carries a host of comedic influence, from the familiar jovial wit of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Saturday Night Live to the quirky satirical bite of In Living Colour. With diverse vignettes ranging from phraseology, grammar, and literature, to children’s television, cyber security, and giraffes. Beyond just topic, the theme of variety extended to the performance of each sketch, with some being delivered with deadpan sincerity, and others controlled chaos. Every sketch was received by the full theatre with rapturous applause

IMAGE: URY

IMAGE: EMILY BRIGHTY and audible laughter; moreover, I suspect that if the audience could, they certainly would have duplicated the two five-star reviews previously received by The Dead Ducks at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe. Following the hilarious performance, I got to sit down and speak with ‘The Dead Ducks’ to discuss everything from ComedySoc and the tour, to inspirations and the effects of COVID-19 on student comedy. Rohan Asher (President and producer), Emily Brightly (director), and cast: William Osbon, Gwenllian Davies, Tegan Steward, Verity Best, Jasmin Clarke, all joined me for the interview you can see below.

The Dead Ducks Quack So, your most recent tour has seen you perform at the Camden Fringe, as well as other dates across the country, how did you find the experience? William: “It went beautifully, experiences like these are rare, and especially when you get to do it in, like, lovely tight knit groups like these, I mean we’ve spent like a year together just learning everyone’s ins and outs and really getting close so it’s just really nice to go do something like this … it’s been an amazing time.” Emily: “Thanks to COVID it’s has been a whirlwind, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

How did COVID-19 impact rehearsals, preparations for the tour, and the tour itself? Rohan: “We pride ourselves on being one of the most active societies in the University, but COVID-19 affected the society massively; however, we kept working online […] We held online auditions during lockdown and the writers kept going.” As sketch comedians, are there any notable influences that drew you to comedy? Verity: “Smack the Pony, Saturday Night Live, Sarah Pascoe, John Mulaney.” Emily: “Rowan Atkinson, Floodlights, Fry and Laurie, Not the Nine O’clock News, that whole era of comedy really inspired me; it’s what I watched growing up, and it’s what I still re-watch now […] it influences a lot of my writing.” Tegan and Rohan: “Monty Python, simple!” William: “Genre bending material to see how far it could go; Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman, Noel Fielding… they all push the IMAGE: CHLOE HODGSON medium to a whole different level.”

@YorkVisionStage

Make Your Voice Heard: How to Get Your Name Known On Campus

F

Charlie Gaskell

or some, becoming a BNOC is an important goal for their university experience – and luckily, at York, there’s plenty of ways to make that happen. If your specific interests lie in the performing arts then the opportunities are endless. Obviously, societies are a great place to start. York is host to societies for any interest, whether that’s musical performance with BandSoc, Brass Band Soc, Central Hall Musical Society, Big Band Society, and DanceSoc. Or, for those more inclined towards theatrical performance, there is Pantomime Society, Shakespeare Society, Comedy Soc and of course, Drama Society. Still, you may wish to have your voice heard but your face less seen. If so,

student media is a great place to go. URY and various student publications are regularly recruiting and always seeking a confident and diverse point of view. Alternatively, your interests may be less arts specific, but still very much attention oriented. In that case the options are still endless. Getting involved with subject-specific roles is a sure fire way to get your name heard amongst your cohorts. Departmental positions, such as student rep are a great place to start. Additionally, there is no greater place to have your opinion heard than running in YUSU elections. As we all know, politicians are egotists at heart – whether reciting Shakespeare or pushing policy for peers, it’s all a chance for performance.

it; if you don’t like one, you can just try another, but if you’re anything like me you’re going to fall in love with every aspect of ComedySoc and you’ll meet some great people.” William: “The best thing about the society is everyone’s coming from a different perspective; it’s different people IMAGE: CHLOE HODGSON writing different stuff because they are inspired differently.” How has ComedySoc impacted How can interested freshers and your university experience and other budding student comedians would you recommend ComedySoc to get involved with ComedySoc? freshers? Rohan: “Freshers can follow our InsRohan: “Yes, even if you have a vague tagram [@yorkcomedysoc] and join our interest in comedy. We’re very open, just Facebook groups for updates.” watch at first or come to a workshop; see What is the future for the Dead what we’re doing and see if you like it, Ducks, can readers look forward to simple!” seeing you perform on campus or Jasmine: “I think comedy is one of locally any time soon? those things you don’t realise you want to Rohan: “We plan to return to weekdo it until you try it, so yes come to York ly live performances and workshops; and do ComedySoc.” workshops are always free to ComedySoc Emily: “Being a member of ComedySoc non-members […] We are also hopeful has been the highlight of my university that The Dead Ducks will be back at the career and there are so many aspects to Edinburgh fringe next year.”

stage@yorkvision.co.uk


FOOD

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FOOD EDITOR GEORGIA LAMBERT DEPUTY FOOD EDITOR LUCY PURKIS CHARTERS

From Coffee to Cocktails: A Tour of York’s Best Food and Drink

Charlie Gaskell & Matt Igoe

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erwent dinners aside, York is a city which thrives on its varied food and drink culture. However, the vast selection of bars, pubs, and coffee houses brings some difficult decisions. We’re here to make that a little easier for you. We offer to you, dear reader, a ‘day in the life’ breakdown of York’s best food and drink hotspots. Each eating and drinking spot will be accompanied by a little key. This corresponds to a spot on the attached map, which you can cut out and bring with you as you begin your adventures into the city centre. Good luck!

9AM: Coffee Kick (C) For a lot of students, university life would be near impossible without a regular, daily dose of good ol’ caffeine. Someone at the uni must’ve taken notice of this, because, no matter where you’re based on campus, there’s bound to be a spot for your dose of coffee consumption. Alcuin has the appropriately titled Alcuin Bistro, suitable for a quiet pre-lecture coffee. Named with similar creativity, Derwent Café is on A-Block’s doorstep, serving Costa Coffee to tired students. Alternatively, if Costa isn’t the brew for you, a quick trip to East campus offers the most popular destination for Constantine girls, Starbucks. Other campus coffee houses can be found at Hub Café in Ron Cooke Hub, or the Galleria Restaurant in James College - which, despite its great Costa coffee, is probably better known for being the largest food court on campus. If you ever find yourself lecture-free and without a hangover (unlikely as it sounds), coffee is just as easily sourced in town. Most notably, Humpit (C1). Obviously their vegan hummus and pita is a great choice for a lunchtime bite, but their warming coffee is just as worthwhile. Drift-In (C2) is also another great choice. It’s got some lovely big windows for people-watching, and very reasonably priced drinks.

cosy spot of warmth, beer, and food. For a northern city, the pints in York can often get a little pricey. For freshers on a budget, there’s no better spot than Toby Carvery. Although an Uber drive away, it’s comfortably the best bang for your buck. Cheap, cheerful, and a nice way to spend your Sunday. For those of you less attracted by hops and scotch, it isn’t hard to stumble across many other great lunch spots in town. Standouts incluide Nice to See You (L5), which boasts a delicious range of small bites, sweet treats, and caffeine cocktails. Similarly, Fortyfive Vinyl Café (L6) is a fun, quirky spot famous for its grilled cheese sandwiches. You can find outstanding on-the-go eateries at the Shambles Market (L7). If it’s good enough for Rate My Takeaway, it’s good enough for you.

5PM: Dinner is Served (D) This one’s for the non-catered crowd. And the catered crowd on weekends. Having been given 4-stars for taste and 5-stars for affordability in our last edition, it’s hard not to give some attention to The Chopping Block (D1), a quaint restaurant in town. Red Chilli (D2) offers an alternative culinary option, with a range of delicious Chinese dishes. You can find York’s most underrated spot, Everest Ghurka Nepalese (D3), along Fossgate as you travel into town. Sitting a little closer to campus is student favourite Spark (D4). Although expensive, Spark is a great place for food and drink as the evening draws in. With a row of exciting food stalls, from burritos to loaded fries, Spark has a little bit of everything. Just try to keep your visits to once a week, or the overdraft may start to slip. Another option, offering simple but great grub, is The Block (D5). The Block specialises in pizza and is a slice of classy fast-food fun. With a stylish aesthetic and simple focus, The Block is proof that cheap can be more than just cheerful.

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10PM: Drinks! Drinks! Drinks! (T)

If the typically grim York weather allows it, a short walk into town welcomes you into a world of bakeries, brunches, and pub lunches. Flori Bakery (L1) is the perfect place for a post-lecture bite. Proadly boasting the tag ‘Vive La Bakery’’ - it is the coffee and pastry palace for those in the know. If you find yourself after something with a little more meat on the bone then I recommend you walk a little further down the road. You’ll soon stumble on the likes of the Fossgate Social (L2), Cosy Club (L3) or, if you wander a little further into town, SOPHiE’S (L4) offers coffee and cake with a view. Maybe you’ve found yourself with a free afternoon and you and your friends fancy a proper pub lunch. Luckily, you’re in one of the best places to find just that. With around 130 pubs within the city walls, we really are spoilt for choice. Each offer something slightly different. For a cold, winter afternoon, many pubs provide a

Right. So far, according to this guide, you’ve had several cups of coffee, bakery treats, a grilled cheese sandwich, and a pub lunch. If you’ve managed to get to this stage without slipping into a food coma, then congratulations! Now’s the time for some evening drinking. It would be criminal not to show some love to Dusk (T1). It’s not just the quirky cocktail names that attract the buzz. The 2-4-1 deal is great and the cocktails are strong. Seek out the ‘Stormtrooper’. For a similarly fun cocktail experience, Evil Eye (T2) is a great spot to seek out. With a fun variety of drinks, its website describes itself as “Home of the bizarre, weird and wonderful”. Little more needs to be said. Slightly more lively offerings can be found at The Lowther (T3) or The Stone Roses Bar (T4). Always busy, and always fun, both are the perfect pre-club stopgap. For an interesting night, drink as many ‘Blue Shits’ as you can.

FoodDrinkYork

12AM: Another Round (A) For some, it might be time to call it quits and make a steady stumble back to campus. For others, things are just getting started. If that’s the case for you, here’s some suggestions for the best clubs and bars in York that burn the midnight oil. Although the following recommendations are all great places open until late, a little less attention has been paid to the quality of these joints. Realistically, if you’ve made it past midnight and the drinks are still flowing, all you need is music, company, and an open tab. Included in the long list of late night haunts is Bobo Lobo (A1) a particularly popular place amongst students. And, with it’s late closing time, strong drinks selection, and party atmosphere, it’s easy to see why. Similarly, Bora Bora (A2) is the best late night cocktail spot in town. Open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, it regularly takes people longer than that to leave, and it’s no surprise why. With cocktails so good, you’ll wish you could rememebr them in the morning. Pushing later than all of these is Vudu Lounge (A3). Somewhere between bar and nightclub, Vudu is open till 4am Mon-Sat. Holding a similar club/bar status is Revs (A4). Not the classiest evening out, sure, but who cares? By this point it’s probably around 2am and you’re far too drunk to care about the quality of the establishment. It does what it says on the tin.

3AM: Pizza Time (P) Now, you may have noticed that as this article progressed the quality of the establishments slowly declined, as did the quality of the writing. Now comes a time when quality truly means nothing. Here is where the food and drink guide truly proves it’s worth. Picture this. You stagger out of Salvos. You’re alone, you’re cold, you’re scared. There are lots of people around you. They all look like they’re having more fun than you. But, fear not, because just there, barely perceptible through the alcoholic haze, is a shining beacon of safety and hope. York Pizza and Kebab (P1), formerly Salt and Pepper, does not have the best pizza in town. Nor does it have the best kebabs. But it’s a short walk from the club. That’s more than most can say. Oki’s (P2) is a bit more homely. You won’t stay for the food, but you’ll stay for the company, thanks to some lovely (albeit stressed) staff. As you trek back to campus, Efe’s (P3) will stare tantalisingly at you along Heslington Road. Their pizza is very solid. It also reheats beautifully - if you don’t demolish it in one sitting that is. There it is. Don’t ever say that we don’t help you out. For a truly masochistic bingo, you can try to do all of these in one day. We aren’t liable for any stomach or liver damage. Alternatively, a neat sampling of these throughout the year is guaranteed to give you a good time.

food-drink@yorkvision.co.uk


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GAMES EDITOR MATT IGOE DEPUTY GAMES EDITOR POSITION VACANT

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GAMES

eSports Isn’t Just for Gamers ... No Don’t Stop Reading Come Back Please

Matt Igoe

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don’t watch much sport. My dad took me to a cricket match when I was 13 and I spent most of the game wishing that the ball would hit me in my fucking head and put me out of my misery. A little bit of that changed recently when I tuned in to the 2021 Euros. What changed is that I got to know the people behind the game. I came to loathe Gareth Southgate’s waistcoats, and love his patented ‘better-than-Boris’ leadership. I met the unrelenting force of good that is Marcus Rashford and the baby-faced boy wonder Bukayo Saka. What I saw in football was the exact thing that I loved from watching eSports. Let me show you what I mean. The year is 2014. We’re at EVO, a massive fighting game tournament, and we’re watching Super Smash Bros Melee. Axe is facing off against SilentWolf. Jeffrey ‘Axe’ Williamson ‘mains’ (plays most frequently) Pikachu. This is not normal. Smash Bros Melee is a fighting game with a large cast of characters from Nintendo history. Each plays very differently. Bowser moves and attacks slowly, but with a lot of power; Luigi slides and hops across the stage more quickly, but isn’t as good at taking a hit. You get the idea. Through a variety of factors in the production of the game, some characters ended up being objectively better than others. Over the years, players have ranked them in an unofficial ‘tier list’, with the better characters being ‘high tier’ and the worse being ‘low tier’. If two players of exactly equal skill level got into a match, one with a high tier character and one with a low tier, the high tier would win. No argument. Because of this, high-level tournaments like this one became occupied with only the ‘hightier’ characters. Pikachu (Axe’s main) is not a high-tier character. In

fact, he’s a pretty low-tier one. Statistically, Axe is very, very unlikely to put a dent into SilentWolf’s main, Fox, who some would argue is the best character in the game. They lock in their characters and the first game starts. In Smash Bros Melee you get four lives (or stocks), and a percentage bar. When someone hits you, your percentage increases. The higher your percentage is, the further you’ll fly when you’re hit. If you fly off the stage when you’re fighting then you lose a stock. The idea is that you keep hitting your opponent and their percentage goes up, then you hit them really hard, they fly off the stage, lose a stock, repeat. The first game is pretty tight to begin with. SilentWolf takes a stock off Axe in the first 20 seconds, and Axe responds with a stock of his own, just catching SilentWolf with a low kick as he tries to get back onto the stage. After a minute and a half has passed, they’re on two stocks each. Axe knocks SilentWolf off again after a little bit. 2-1. And again. 2-0. Axe holds up a Pikachu toy to the audience. They’re loving it. The crowd starts chanting ‘Pikachu!’. They don’t know that he’s barely getting started. Game Two starts. It’s another tight one. Axe starts out strong, taking two stocks off SilentWolf, but SilentWolf evens it out after two minutes. 2-2. SilentWolf kicks Axe

IMAGE: MATT IGOE

into the sky. 2-1. Axe is getting worried. He desperately tries to hold on, but SilentWolf has got him. SilentWolf wins the set, 2-0. The crowd is beginning to worry. Game Three: the decider. Whoever wins this wins the set, and moves onto the Grand Finals. Axe is not playing around. Without giving SilentWolf a second to breathe, he pummels him, and takes a stock off in the first 15 seconds. SilentWolf respawns, and Axe destroys him again. He takes a stock off within ten seconds, still without taking a single hit. SilentWolf tries to fight back, but Axe rips another stock off in seconds. You can literally see SilentWolf sweating on the player camera. Axe starts to clench his body as he furiously mashes his controller, trying to knock SilentWolf off the edge of the stage. He punches the air, and the crowd goes absolutely wild. He’s done it. In under a minute. It’s unprecedented for any character, let alone a Pikachu. It’s not about the game, or how good someone is at the game. The one thing that eSports and sports have in common is the people. Their stories - the underdogs, the reigning champions, the heroes and the villains - are the same, irrespective of whether you’re kicking a ball around a field or pushing buttons on a GameCube controller and not showering. The story of Axe’s win against SilentWolf isn’t about how good someone is at a video game. It’s about someone who perservered and succeeded. Before Axe, Pikachu was never seen in a tournament, let alone winning one. Now he’s everywhere. Even if you’re not inclined towards games, even if you’re crap at them, try turning up to a FragSoc tournament. Get to know the people: Why do they play this game? Where did they start? Before long, every kill, every stock, and every goal will feel just as impactful for you as it does for the players.

Fantastic Games and How to Play Them

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tarting at university, moving into halls, and making new friends can be a daunting experience, especially in the first few weeks of term. If you’re looking for a great way to bond with some of your new flatmates, games can genuinely be a great place to start. Even if you put the drinking games aside, there’s a wealth of board games and video games to waste a couple of hours with. Here’s a few of them! Psych There are several different game modes you can choose from in Psych, but my personal favourite is ‘The Truth Comes Out’ (it’s also one of the few free ones). In each round you are given a prompt question to answer about another player and then all the players vote for which answer they think is the funniest. The answer with the most votes wins the round and whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins! This is a game that gets better with time too - the more you get to know your flatmates, the funnier it will get.

@YorkVisionBooks @YorkVisionGames

Photo Roulette This app is a great and fun way to get to know people quickly. To begin with, each player selects photos from their camera roll that they are happy for the other players to see. Then, each round all of the players are shown a photo that belongs to one of the players and everyone who gets it right gets a point. The player with the most points at the end wins. Choose some whacky or fun photos and it can be a great way to start conversations with your new housemates! Jackbox Games If you have a games console or a laptop and around £20 to spare, then Jackbox’s ‘Party Packs’ are a great option! Each pack offers a selection of party games that can be used as drinking games for pres or just as a fun evening activity! Among the packs,

Joe Radford

there are games such as ‘Mad Verse City’, where you face off against other players in a rap battle using prompts the game gives you; ‘Dictionarium’, where you come up with made-up words and definitions for them; and the classic, ‘Fibbage’, the game where you create fake trivia facts to try and fool the other players into thinking they’re real. Horse Race A super fun drinking game sure to liven up any predrinks! Begin by lining up the four aces (the horses) ready to race and then shuffling the deck. Then create an L-shape by lining up 8 faced down cards in a straight line alongside the aces. All the players then place bet sips on which horse (ace) they think will win the race - if your horse wins, you give out that many sips, but if you lose, you have to take that many sips. The announcer begins by turning over cards one at a time from the rest of the deck. The ace that is the same suit of the card that is turned over moves forward by one space. Once all the aces have moved past one of the cards at the side, turn it over and the ace of whichever suit it is moves back a space. The first ace to make it to the end wins! (Extra tip: the more cheering, the more fun it is!)

@YorkVisionScene games@yorkvision.co.uk


MUSIC

MUSIC EDITOR RORY SANGER DEPUTY MUSIC EDITOR Tom Holderness

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Inside York’s Student Review: DONDA Music Scene

Sam Harding

Matt Igoe

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ear freshers, this article is a warning. Salvos is a lovely place. So is Kuda. So is Flares. They’re really fun, and you’ll go there every night, and that’s great, but by God, they must have a playlist of about 10 songs between them. The number of times you will hear Piece of Your Heart in Freshers Week is frankly disgusting. I once had a nightmare about What You Know. Get out while you can. York has an active and lively music scene, with a huge variety of exciting and interesting acts. However, it can be quite hard to find gigs and events as a fresher, without any insider info. Look no further. We’ve gathered together some of York’s finest student musicians for a short interview and fact file - who they are, what they play, where they’ll be next, all that sort of stuff. You’ll see some at upcoming freshers gigs, and you can find others at bars up and down the city.

Slop Em Up How would you describe your music? We’re stoked to be playing this year as a band. We’ll be playing some neosoul/jazzy numbers - baby-making music you can move your feet to. Where and when can we find you? I’m sure we’ll be floating around the scene this year, but our next appearance as at the Victoria Vaults on October 8th. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, folks! Who are your biggest influences? Skippy - King Krule, Bob Dylan. Matt - James Jamerson, Cory Wong. Ally Sugababes, Girls Aloud. Ben - Yussef Dayes. Conor Albert. How did you start making music? Skippy texted us all one day with an idea to start a band. For most of us, it had been a childhood dream, so there was no hesitation.

IMAGE: SAM HARDING

Trueman and the Indoor League How would you describe your music? There are upwards of eight people in my band so our sound is pretty chaotic, but there is a healthy mix of alternative rock and indie influences in there.

How did you start making music? I started doing it years ago pretty impulsively, and I don’t tend to write stuff down. But if I can think of one decent line, I’m happy.

anye West’s 10th studio album is crowded with absences. This long and censored ‘black album’ is draped in dark Balenciaga across a stage both grand and austere, shrouding its 109-minute runtime and packed guest-list behind minimalist song structures that attempt to distill Kanye’s spirituality to the figure of his late mother, professor Donda West. But from the unfinished beats, to the three cavernous listening parties that built up to the album’s release, comes a chaos of iconography that eclipses its titular loss. Even at his most controversial, Kanye has made a career out of fully inhabiting the contradictions and sonic leaps that each of his albums has embodied, showing a living, breathing, messy human being at their centres. Donda, however, manages to sound sleek and lifeless at the same time, capturing in its scope the emptiness looming across those massive stadiums that Kanye turned into his live-streamed theatres. In some cases its flaws are barely audible. The voices of accused abusers Marilyn Manson and Chris Brown dissolve into the more repetitive strains of sound that Donda revisits, blurred into a tracklist with a lot of filler and toothless lyrics about censorship. Themes of resurrection clash noisily with a misguided Pop Smoke feature. Jay-Z shows up to talk billionaire-ese. Between the repetitive hooks and undeveloped palettes, it is ecstatically clear where Kanye has set off for on his search for transcendence. Although he hasn’t had a great verse since Kids See Ghosts, and the best example of faith-based rapping comes from Travis Scott in a single iconic declaration: ‘the devil my opp’, there are moments both frustratingly unrealised and magnificently executed on Donda that speak to a new, ethereal sound for West. From the stark guitar-stabs on ‘Jail’ to ‘Moon’s bluesy meanderings, Donda is full of sculpted creations both bombastic and fragile. The factory-line quality to this album’s gestation, of verses dragged-anddropped over metallic beats, comes off amazingly on ‘Off the Grid’, which features a standout verse from Fivio Foreign over a beat that sounds like an electrical storm got loose in the circuitry. Elsewhere, the chilly ‘Hurricane’ sounds like nothing Kanye has ever done before. Unfortunately, these moments fail to add up to anything greater. As Kanye disappears further into the impossible recesses of mega-wealth, opaque past the divorce headlines, mental-health diagnoses, and christian theologising, this album is a single flare burning in the darkness, revealing more in its absences than in what it does illuminate about Donda’s famous son.

Everything After Midnight How would you describe your music? Alternative Rock/“Grunge Dodie”. Where and when can we find you performing next? You’ll see us playing across campus all of Freshers’ Week. Go follow us @everythingaftermidnight for all future gigs and announcements (We’ve got some REALLY BIG announcements coming your way...). Our next thing is a Vanbrugh College gig on the 1st October!

Where and when can we find you? We have three dates upcoming in October. We’ll be at the York Crescent on the 1st and 19th, and the Bridlington Hinge Centre on the 15th October. Who are your biggest influences? The Velvet Underground, Dexys Midnight Runners, and F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

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IMAGE: FLICKR

Who are your biggest influences? Wolf Alice, Dodie, Phoebe Bridgers, The Beth’s.

IMAGE: EVERYTHING AFTER MIDNIGHT

How did you get into writing and performing music? We began performing covers, which was enjoyable, but we all wanted to transition to playing a mixture of originals and covers as soon as possible, and have ended up playing mostly originals. Nothing is more fulfilling than playing original songs and having those songs sang and chanted back to you. Performing is, however, equally as important as writing. A great set is not just about having great songs. It’s about having fun, getting your groove on, and making sure everyone is IMAGE: TRUEMAN AND having a sweet time. If you want to get into live music, all you’ve got to do is have a good riff and THE INDOOR IMAGE: LEAGUEMEHDI beHASSINE able to have a boogie!

@YorkVisionMusic

music@yorkvision.co.uk


SCREEN

SCREEN EDITOR CHARLIE GASKELL DEPUTY SCREEN EDITOR POSITION VACANT

WEEK 7: The Room

Film: The Room Director: Sir Tommy Wiseau When: Fri, 12/11/21 No irony this time. There is only one film I could select for recommendation at the student cinema and that is Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic, The Room. Is it so bad it’s good, so good it’s bad, or just plain genius? – We’ll never truly know with wisecracking Wiseau, continuing to deepen the mystery and intrigue of his infamous film. Jennfier Hudson channeling her inner-Aretha in the biopic Respect is equally enjoyable territory – and potentially a safer bet for a midweek viewing.

IMAGE: York Student Cinema (YSC)

YSC: Films to See WEEK 2: Another Round

Film: Another Round Director: Thomas Vintenberg When: Thurs, 7/10/21 In its original Danish title it’s Druk, in Spain it’s Otra Ronda, and in England, Another Round, but everywhere it’s fucking brilliant. For many freshers, alcohol is an integral component of student life, and this film definitely accompanies that spirit tee-totally. Whether perceived as a joyous gulp of a life-affirming cocktail or a sobering tap into drinking culture, Vintenberg’s film examines the highs and lows of boozy behaviour and compliments your welcome to York perfectly.

WEEK 3: Crash

Film: Crash Director: David Cronenberg When: Thurs, 14/10/21 Week 3 at the student cinema has far too many offerings to pick out just one. Opening on Monday is Florian Zellar’s stellar, Oscar-worthy, dive into dementia, The Father. If that isn’t your scene then Crash might be for you – and no, this isn’t the early 2000s Oscar-baity car crash of a movie. This is David Cronenberg’s Crash. Originally forbidden from West End cinemas, Crash is an auto-erotic spin into metal fetishization through the lens of the body horror king. Think ‘Fifty Shades of Chevrolet’ or even ‘The Mast and the Curious’. Long story short: watch it.

WEEK 4: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Film: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Director: Jim Sharman

When: Fri, 22/10/21

Eccentric drag queens, deliciously campy musical routines, and Tim Curry. If this hasn’t convinced you that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a must see at the YSC then I’m not sure what will. Despite its occasionally controversial track record, there is something genuinely charming about this picture show. Brimming with typical 70s extravagance, Jim Sharman’s magical musical is best seen on the

@YVScreen

Charlie Gaskell

bigger screen – the less said about its ‘semi-sequel’ Shock Treatment, the better.

WEEK 5: Freaky

Film: Freaky Director: Christopher Landon When: Thurs, 28/10/21 For Week 5, YSC have planned all things horror, guts, and gore in keeping with everyone’s favourite spooky season. Featuring The Evil Dead and Nia DaCosta’s recently released Candyman, there is a wide spectrum of tone, chills, and thrills. However, the pick of the week is Christopher Landon’s Freaky. Originally pitched as ‘Freaky Friday the 13th’, Landon’s high-concept ‘body-swap of horrors’ hits the comedy beats effortlessly while leaving apt time for some seriously strong gore. What’s not to like?

WEEK 6: C ats

Film: Cats Director: Tom Hooper When: Thurs, 4/11/21 There has never been a greater marmite week at the YSC than Week 6. James Gunn’s latest escape into the insane, The Suicide Squad, continues his track record of zaniness with even more quirk and madness. If this isn’t quite your bag then Leos Carax’s art-house musical Annette just might be. Featuring uncanny puppets and punchy Sparks lyrics, Annette is certainly batshit and definitely two and a half hours long. If you’re still unimpressed by this selection, then there’s one more that just might whet your cinematic appetite. Clawed at by one critic as “hideous to behold” and by another as a “digital veneer of horror and farce”, this film would probably sit alongside the freaky flicks of the previous week purr-fectly. If the terrible puns weren’t enough of a clue, I’m delighted to say the film of the week is Cats. It is integral to watch Cats entirely ironically and, most importantly, in good company – suddenly you might find yourself having more fun than expected.

WEEK 8: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Film: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Director: Destin Daniel Cretton When: Fri, 19/11/21 Week 8 is packed full of crowd-pleasing winners. Opening the week is Nobody, Ilya Naishuller’s darkly comedic trip into John Wick territory. It’s well-needed therapy to help kick the Cats-related trauma of the previous week. Also screening on Thursday is Zola, an energetic thriller based on the unpredictable and intense Twitter thread written by Aziah “Zola” Wells. It’s a sharp, inventive ride, which leaves you constantly second guessing. The Friday night blockbuster to see you through the longer nights on campus is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Smashing both

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its box-office and audience expectations, it’s guaranteed to brighten long, winter evenings on campus.

WEEK 9: No Time to Die

Film: No Time to Die Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga When: Tues, 23/11/21 Welcome to Bond-week. After multiple delays, it seems Bond had plenty more time to die than first anticipated. But Daniel Craig is back. Continuing the big-budget blockbuster wonder of the previous week, No Time to Die is set to be a big evening in the YSC calendar, and a must-see for those who prefer their drinks shaken not stirred. IMAGE: TASHA CROAGER With Cary Joji Fukunaga behind the camera and Phoebe Waller-Bridge behind the pen, there’s no predicting the direction that this espionage extravaganza will take.

WEEK 10: Last Night in Soho

Film: Last Night in Soho Director: Edgar Wright When: Mon, 29/11/21 It’s hard to top the potential quality of the final week of Term 1. The best recommendation I can give is to see all of them. Edgar Wright’s venture into horror, Last Night in Soho, is set to offer a modern dash of stylistic horror through a distinctively artistic lens. A far less intense exercise can be found in Wes Anderson’s quirky journalistic tale The French Dispatch. Then, we’re concluding the term with what might be one of the biggest sci-fi epics of the 21st century: Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.

My Maddening Descent into Reality TV

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Matt Igoe

hen I look back at the past year, the vast majority of it was spent on a sofa, in front of a TV. Did I spend my time becoming educated in film history? Did I watch any enlightening documentaries? No, dear reader. I watched reality TV. It all started with Masterchef. Masterchef is exceptional background TV. I’ve written essays to the accompaniment of a season of Masterchef. It’s basically perfect. They bring people in, and they cook something, and then at the end Gregg Wallace eats it. It covers every base. But what gives Gregg Wallace any jurisdiction to judge anyone’s food? He shoves the spoon into the hole at the front of his little bald head and almost invariably exclaims: “Oh yeah, that’s a cracking plate of food.” What does he know about cooking? I’m sure I’ve eaten at least as much food as he has. I could judge Masterchef. I could eat food all day for a living. Below Deck is the crown jewel of the reality TV that I sifted through in the past year. This show takes place entirely on a

luxury travel yacht, and we follow the crew as they try to prepare accomodation, food, and entertainment for an assortment of insufferable guests. The crew are all shagging each other, and occasionally shagging the guests. The guests are always disgustingly rich, and loud, and hilarious. It’s one of the best shows on TV. Once you’ve watched it, get back to me about Rocky diving off the boat in S3. Now that is cinema. I also watched Sexy Beasts. The show where they dress up in furry costumes and try to date each other. In one episode two people got off while they were wearing their ridiculous prosthetics. They just smashed plastic against plastic. Society is going down the drain. I think Gregg Wallace is behind it all.

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screen@yorkvision.co.uk


York Travel Guide Charlie Gaskell Walk Forrest, Walk... The Ghost Hunt of York: Fancy a guided tour of York’s haunted hotspots? The ghost hunt of York will give you just that. Beginning at The Shambles, York’s most famous medieval street, it is led by a Victorian guide dressed for the occasion and presenting York-based ghost stories. The Ghost Hunt website described it as “a journey that takes your emotions from horror to hilarity”. So, pretty similar to a fresher’s first trip to Salvos.

Ouse Crouse: Picture this: you wake up after a heavy social, your head is pounding and the sweat is building. Surely the best solution to clear your fuzzy brain is a calm cruise down York’s winding river. At The Ghost Hunt it’s known as the ‘Voyage of Virginia Woolf’s Graveyard’, but for oth-

ers it’s a gentle cruise through the city of York. Although less exhilarating than the paranormal rambles at the Shambles, this is the gentler alternative, and perhaps the perfect hangover cure. The Races: Who says University students can’t have a bit of class in their lives? Getting dressed up for a boozy day of fun at the races should definitely be on every fresher’s bucket list. As we enter the darker, colder months, the racing season is much quieter. However, freshers will still have time to catch the closing racing weekend. It’s just around the corner (Fri 8 - Sat 9 Oct) so get your tickets quick. Still, if you struggle to find the time to squeeze this trip into your busy freshers’ schedule, as soon as the weather perks up the racing will too, and it’s definitely a date to have booked down for your 2nd or 3rd term. YCFC (LNER Community Stadium): Currently sat in 12th at National League North, York City aren’t exactly flying high through the football league. But, if you’re after a bustling atmosphere, pies, and beer, then this is the place to be. It doesn’t matter that Kettering and Kid’minster are currently performing better than York’s side – this day out isn’t really about the football.

Bus or Bust... Highway to Hull: As many new students will know all too well, Hull can be visited from York via a bus. I hate to label the temporary location of many freshers as a travel spot, but it’s nearby and it offers something alternative if you’ve managed to drain York of all its attractions and destinations. If Hull feels like a step too far, small towns surrounding York such as Pocklington hold many little gems that make the journey worth it. Sightseeing: Although there are many amazing things to be found with a quick bus journey out of York, there is much to be said for the bus journeys that keep within the walls. ‘York City Sightseeing’ is the place to go to for the perfect open roof tour of the city. You know what they say: you’ve never really experienced a city until you take a guided tour in an open roofed bus. That is what they say, isn’t it? On the other hand, guided tours can be found at a much slower pace with ‘White Rose York Free Tours’, which offers a steady stroll through York and its history. And, if you

@YV_Travel

prefer your guided tours with a touch of lies and fabrication then ‘The Ghost Bus Tours’ is the one for you. Castle Howard: Although it may be a little more than a bus ride away, Castle Howard really isn’t that far and definitely worth visiting. As its website states, “it is a place like no other” (not including the hundreds of other stately homes in the country), and when visiting Castle Howard it truly feels that way. The building is breathtaking and the grounds manicured to perfection - there is truly nowhere quite like it (in Yorkshire).

Yorkshire Dales: Sometimes university life can just get a little bit too much can’t it? Luckily, the natural beauty of the Yorkshire landscape is the perfect remedy to the chaos of the student experience. A quick drive out of York will find you surrounded by hills and greenery in no time – providing an idyllic, head-clearing escape into a walker’s paradise. IKEA: Less natural, but equally as therapeutic, IKEA is a fun day out with friends, and a great chance to grab the last-minute university essentials that you could never have imagined were essentials until university life kicks in. Realistically, it doesn’t matter if you have no reason to go to IKEA, because the meatballs are reason enough. All you need is the right company, and you’ll get the ultimate furniture-based bonding experience for freshers.

Just a train away...

Leeds United at Elland Road Stadium: Now, although York City offers a cheaper day of fun, if your bank account allows it, a trip to see some Premier League action is hard to pass up. I mean who would say no to an opportunity to see ‘The Yorkshire Pirlo’ in action? Most appropriately paired with many pints and best followed by a venture into the Leeds club scene. A Trip to Whitby or Scarborough: Catching the train to Scarbados is a student favourite, and there’s no surprise why. Who wouldn’t be up for a bit of 2p machines and fish and chips by the seaside? And, with the North York Moors National Park just round the corner, it is an affordable and exciting alternative to the usual quirks of campus and in-town entertainment. Another option, a little further away is the train journey to Whitby. Offering a similar day out to Scarborough, this is the journey for freshers who have truly settled into their York setting and are ready to take on all that train travel will allow.

TRAVEL

Drive to Survive...

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The Yorkshire Steam Railway: The cherry on the cake for a student trip to Whitby. Perhaps less appealing to students and targeted more for middle-aged men (and the odd mature student), the steam railway experience is a wholesome adventure into old-fashioned travel. Like curry sauce on chips, catching the steam railway is the essential accompaniment to your Whitby based escapade.

All images courtesy of Flickr and York Vision

travel@yorkvision.co.uk


BOOKS EDITOR HANNAH JORGENSEN DEPUTY BOOKS EDITOR JO REED

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Six Degrees of Separation

BOOKS

Sophie Norton

T

o welcome you to a new university year, we have selected the hottest non-fiction books for six different degrees to roll off the press this side of the century.

1) ‘Into The Woods’ by John Yorke (2014) Degree: Film & TV, English In the Bible of narrative structure, John Yorke explains why all of your favourite films are the same. Why Speed is “Die Hard on a bus that can’t slow down”, why Avatar and Pocahontas are structurally nearly identical, and why Alice in Wonderland, Rebecca, and The Third Man are all cookies from the same architectural cutter. Using a plethora of well-known examples, Yorke delves into the main characteristics of story structure, explaining why humans have retold the same tales throughout time. From a man who’s seen the industry from the inside, Yorke dissects the stories that surround us, revealing the skeletons beneath. 2) Anything written by Malcom Gladwell Degree: Psychology If you’re a fan of TedTalks, Freakonomics Radio, or generally being on the proverbial high ground where knowledge is concerned, then Malcom Gladwell is your man; a wellknown explainer of big ideas into bite-sized concepts. He’s the kind of academic you’d want at your desert-island dinner party. Check out his TedTalk on ‘Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce’ for a taste. 3) ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History’ by David Olusoga (2016) Degree: History Olusoga brings to light the exhausting relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa in an important recognition of black history. His research includes specialist testimonies, age-old records and “jaw-dropping true stories”, in a quest to put black history firmly back on the map. This read is vital to understanding a neglected area of British history, and should be essential reading for anybody and everybody. There is a great BBC 2 documentary of the same name, in which Olusoga continues his mission to commemorate individuals who were silenced in history.

4) ‘No Logo’ by Naomi Klein (2000) Degree: Sociology, Economics, International Relations, Marketing It’s the 21st century and everything worth having is a noun. Clothing brands are the best examples of this: Calvin Klein, Gucci, GAP, the list goes on. In ‘No Logo’, Naomi Klein outlines the consumer logic of ‘status symbols’ following the shift in focus from product to brand in the late-80s economic boom. It’s why a ‘Juicy’ sweatsuit is more sought after than a plain velour one, why Kim Kardashian was right to assume that you wouldn’t put a bumper sticker on a Bentley, and what keeps the term ‘nouveau riche’ reassuringly derogatory. 5) ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate’ by Naomi Klein (2014) Degree: Environment, Ecology, Politics Another Klein recommendation, ‘This Changes Everything’ is a call to arms. It won’t turn you into a tree-hugging hippie who eats bugs and reuses their loo roll, instead delivering hard truths and case studies that present more than a generalised understanding that climate change is real, and more political than we think. Klein’s persuasive narrative drives home reasoning from a whole host of perspectives, leaving you with a glimmer of optimism, and a grim sense of reality that urges you to wake up and advocate for better.

6) ‘Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories’ by Thomas Grant (2015) Degree: Law With a narrative that revolves around a set of significant trials and events that took place in 60s, 70s, and 80s Britain, ‘Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories’, put together by fellow practicing barrister Thomas Grant, is a sensational insight into one of the 20th century’s most interesting personas. The late Hutchinson lived to the impressive age of 102, and this tell-all recollection would make a riveting biopic. Grant follows the succession of case studies and landscape as if he was there for it all. A text that is funny, scandalous, and provides plenty of party conversation, it’s well worth the read. Images courtesy of Sophie Norton

@YorkVisionBooks YorkVisionBooks

IMAGE: IWAN STONE

“If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again”

Luke Luxson

It is unquestionable that the move to university is a unique experience. The stresses of moving to a foreign environment, meeting new people, and being away from home are encountered differently by all freshers; some take to it with ease, some with understandable difficulty. The initial difficulty of the general fresher experience is to some extent analogous with the world of literature: as with some freshers who take to university life with ease, some authors such as the seminal Harper Lee [To Kill a Mockingbird], J.D. Salinger [Catcher in the Rye], and J.R.R. Tolkien [The Hobbit] found immediate success with their debut publications, whilst for others, it takes time and patience to fulfill their potential. So, whether you take to university lifestyle like a fresher New York Times best seller, or find yourself briefly on the slush pile, here are some contemporarily revered writers who struggled to hit the ground running with their first publication. An author familiar with publisher rejection letters is the indelible James Joyce. Despite Joyce’s eventual success and legacy as perhaps Ireland’s finest writer, his debut book in prose, ‘Dubliners’ took 18 submissions to 15 publishing houses over nine years to gain any attention. Once published, it was critically and commercially unsuccessful. Despite this tumultuous start, Joyce is remembered today as a titan of 20th century European literature. Unlike with Joyce, debut books rejected ad nauseam can sometimes gain instant acclaim once published. Thomas Wolfe’s ‘Look Homeward Angel’, William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, and Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ were all regular recipient of the dreaded rejection letter before promptly becoming best sellers.

Perhaps the ultimate example of the retrospectively regrettable rejection letter is one that had a slow start in sales, before becoming an unprecedented success; with over 500 million copies sold [across the whole series] and a reported $7.7 billion in book revenue, the thought that J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’ was initially rejected by 12 publishing houses shows the value of dedication and perseverance. Occasionally, as demonstrated in this case by Ernest Hemingway, a literary debut can be a poor representation of the author’s potential popularity and literary impact. Mixed reviews greeted many of Hemingway’s publications; however, none were more diversely contentious than those of his debut novella, ‘The Torrents of Spring’. Whilst important in the Hemingway canon, it is contemporarily considered by many to be vastly inferior to his later works, and therefore it has proven to be a poor indicator of Hemingway’s abilities and later bibliography. Despite this widely unpopular debut, Hemingway’s sophomore publication ‘The Sun Also Rises’ (published in the same year) is widely argued to be amongst his finest. The message lingering behind this extended debut novel metaphor, is that irrespective of the emotional and psychological stress moving to university places upon freshers, and regardless of your adaptability and comfort or lack thereof with this lifestyle change, you can, in your own time, acclimatise to the and thrive academically and socially. A slow or unsuccessful start is not a predictor for future achievement; we cannot all be Harper Lee or J.D. Salinger, what would the world be without its Ernest Hemingways? So, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

@YorkVisionScene books@yorkvision.co.uk


Keep an eye on the Facebook page to catch up with the latest news and line-up reveal.

Courting on Campus

Naomi McGrath

F

irst of all, ignore the title. It’s nothing more than Vision’s editorial urge to make every headline somewhat linguistically palatable. The term ‘courting’ is perhaps a little dated at this point, but I assure you these on-campus dating ideas are timeless. If at some point this year you find yourself optioning through dating locations, the obvious place to go is into the city centre. However, I’m here to inform you that there’s no need to make the admittedly short trek into town. Some of the nicest dating spots for students can be found right on your doorstep. Literally. Picnic By the Lake Why not picnic by the lakes and imagine you’re one third of Jerome K. Jerome’s ‘Three Men in a Boat’ - it’ll be like you actually got into Oxbridge! Enjoy the fresh Yorkshire breeze and the still, peaceful tranquillity of the campuses’ most beautiful lakes whilst getting to know your latest squeeze. Picnics are a failproof, cheap, and traditional act of romance. All you need is an aesthetically pleasing blanket, a flask of Yorkshire tea, and a handful of snacks from Nisa - you’ll be nibbling on cocktail sausages under the ambient October dusk in no time. You don’t need to splash the cash to woo your date – the lakes attract an abundance of wildlife and mirror the florid autumn sun, setting the scene for a romcom-worthy date. Take note of how many geese you see – you’re bound to spot a plethora of species floating, hopping, and buzzing around the campuses’ green spaces.

– 9:00pm. Alternatively, pop along to the gallery’s freshers’ event, taking place 5 October at 7pm. The Sculpture Trail Did you know that the University of York is home to a compendium of handcrafted sculptures? These works of art spread across both East and West campus, and spill over into the grounds of King’s Manor. You can find a sculpture trail map on the university’s website, so why not put you and your date’s communication skills to the test and navigate the campus grounds to discover each monument? From Hodgsons ‘Aspiration’, a beautifully detailed totem pole residing between the Quiet Place and the lake, to Mercer’s ‘Algol’, situated outside Goodricke College on Campus East, there’s plenty of sculptures to keep both body and mind active during this culturally enriching experience!

York Student Cinema Feel like bringing it back to basics and courting like the good old days? Then head over to York Student Cinema and catch your favourite blockbuster on the big screen! Presenting the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your date and giving you plenty to discuss after the film has ended, the classic awkward-arm-around-theshoulder move can be executed with grace and decorum here. Refreshments (read: popcorn) are also available to purchase before you cosy down together for a snug two hours of cinematic bliss.

IMAGE: D.S PUGH Glasshouse Pint After searching high and low for magnificent sculptures and lesser-spotted geese, why not stop off for a pint at Glasshouse on Campus East? Boasting pool tables, an eclectic menu of thirst-quenching cocktails, and TVs showing the latest sports fixtures, it really is the place to be after an exhausting day touring the campus! The staff are friendly and welcoming, and the nachos are to die for!

IMAGE: YSC Freshers’ Festival Freshers’ Festival is yet another outstanding annual event for all students, both old and new. Whether you’re

Trip to Norman Rea Gallery The Norman Rea Gallery is a YUSU-ratified society, created by students for students. The gallery has displayed several thought-provoking exhibitions, drawing attention to important topics such as race, diversity, equality, and culture. Why not book a trip to their upcoming event, ‘Norman Rave’, and immerse yourself (and your date!) in a visionary world of breath-taking art. Situated on the first floor of Derwent College, the gallery is the university’s central heartbeat, making it accessible to all. The ‘Norman Rave’ exhibition unveils on 4 October, 6:30pm

IMAGE: D.S PUGH Comedy Night Fancy a laugh? Comedy Night is the perfect venue for you and your date. Taking place on 3 October at 7pm in the Roger Kirk Centre, it’s a great way to break the ice and bond over a cast of up-and-coming comics. The night’s events will give you lots to talk about. It’s sure to be a memorable night for all involved!

Vanbrugh Jazz Night Fancy getting down to the sultry beats of pure, unadulterated jazz? Vanbrugh Jazz Night will be taking place every Monday in V Bar. With a succesful first performance on 27 September and many more planned, why not pop along and enjoy the smoother-than-butter riffs and runs of the brass, percussion, and strings? If you want to feel like a La La Land cast member then stick around, as there’ll be plenty of opportunities to mesmerise the crowds with your own musical flair – a fantastic way to impress your date on the very first night!

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For sign up information find us at Freshers’ Fair!

IMAGE: MEHDI HASSINE

@YorkVisionRelationships

an avid festival-goer or simply curious about Campus West’s very own outdoor festival, this is the place to be! It’s a fun, lively, and enriching experience for you and your date, creating memories to last a lifetime. With live music performed by an enviable line-up, it’s the perfect opportunity to get to know each other’s music taste and explore new artists together! Plus, a wide variety of food and activities will be available for you to discover and take part in. Did I mention there’s a bar?

BLIND DATES

IMAGE: D.S PUGH

RELATIONSHIPS

RELATIONSHNIP EDITOR HOLLY PALMER DEPUTY RELATIONSHIPS EDITOR NAOMI MCGRATH

Want a date? Vision needs you! If you want dinner and a chance to meet the love of your life, apply at central hall at Freshers’ Fair!

relationships@yorkvision.co.uk



COLUMNS

Thursday September 30, 2021

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@Jasmine07404371

MOODY’S MUSINGS JASMINE MOODY

A GUIDE ON HOW TO ZOOM UPWARDS IN A ZOOM-LESS UNIVERSITY Welcome back to the university of Zoo- ORK. I meant York

SO, WELCOME BACK to strike-disturbed, Zoom overloaded returners and notfeeling-very-fresh freshers to university! It’s not just any university, it’s one best known for our half-Indian-runner-half-mallard duck and our newer addition, Fancy Boi. RIP Chonky Boi. I’m certain that our famous waterfowl is why most of you even applied here, and yes fair enough - they really give York its appeal. Long Boi is even Insta verified, so he’s already doing better than most of us ever will coming out of university into the current economy. If any of you were paranoid shits like me back in ’19, you freshers would have read all the fresher how-to guides and manuals the internet had to offer your panicked arses. “Don’t pack this, do this, don’t do this, don’t commit flatcest” (oops). Well, I’m about to give you another few tid-bits for you to remember when you’re wandering through the city centre in your Viking Raid t-shirt with a Blue-Shit in hand.

I have a (out of the six few tips for you terms I should freshers and have had so far) for students of on-campus like me: third teaching has left years who have me feeling like a absolutely no fresher again. If idea what we’re all fails, just do doing with our what I also did lives. But for and tag along to all of us, this places with your academic year friends who have shall be an adsome sense of diventure, and, rection. They say like the lockthe university exdowns we’ve perience makes I for one am thankful to be leaving the home office behind me. experienced, we you mature but, Uni does provide you with a map shall be doing the hokey-cokey: in, to be honest, if you still feel like a on their website, although I did out, in, out, and shaking it all about lost child, I understand. Welcome find it wasn’t the most effective for in a panicked and/or drunken to the club. finding exactly where you want to state. Well, I guess things can only COVID-19 has ensured ungo. Instead, I like to whip out Googgo up from here (like my vodka inwarranted celibacy for many of le Maps and it successfully ensures take will). you, and now that we seem to be I arrive to class on time. Now, if Now that most classes will be in having an actual Freshers’ Week, I you’re very paranoid, leaving to go person, rather than attending them can only imagine what you lot will to class half an hour before the start after only waking up five minutes be getting up to. To put it simply: time would be wise to familiarise prior for an ‘exciting’ Zoom session, make use of those freebies you may yourself with your surroundings. I you will instead get lost on campus. get in your welcome packs, be senshall be doing this myself when my Much like the COVID-19 roadmap, sible, and don’t be a twat. Rememthird-year classes start as my grand getting to certain places won’t be ber the tea video you watched in total of less than 2.5 terms worth as simple as you’d expect. Yes, the your sex-ed classes back at school?

KITCHEN CALAMITIES

YOU KNOW THE saying “too many cooks spoil the broth”? Yeah, that basically sums up the universal experience of sharing a kitchen. Yeah, sharing a bathroom is a little grotty, but sharing a kitchen is a whole other experience. It’s not the wurst, but it’s going to be a completely different experience than your tidy, organised, and clean one back at home. Prepare yourselves for the thyme of your lives folks, as sharing a kitchen will make you realise which flatmates

are the decent ones and those who truly take the cake – literally… Thankfully, the people who I shared my kitchen(s) with were the decent ones and we had some fun times together. Pro-tip: since the kitchen is a communal space, it’s a pretty good area to socialise with the people around you. I have some bloody good memories of co-cooking curry, a chicken roast dinner, and a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings with my flatmates. The washing up was less than fun but - hey - we washed

up together; team work makes the dream work. Surprisingly, the kitchen can be quite an empty space and - oh boy - I took advantage of that: I entered the Bake-Off that was hosted in Vanbrugh. I practiced and put my heart and soul into those cupcakes, even accidently lightly slicing the palm of my hand with my bright blue Amazon-bought knife, only for me to wake up to see one of my cupcakes missing! Some bugger not only ate one of MY cupcakes but had the AUDACITY to replace their crimes with one of my ‘fail cakes’ (from a batch of cakes I accidentally broiled). If you’re reading

this, I’m still salty. I think the lesson from my little anecdote is to not steal other people’s food and people’s kitchen-things in general. We’re all broke, hungry students so don’t be a selfish so-and-so. You think your freshers kitchen is bad? Ha, wait for when you and your housemates realise that you can be as chaotic as you want without being fined by the Uni when you move into off-campus accommodation. That’s for another time to delve into though. For now, keep being considerate. Much like group projects, it’s important to be a team player, and you know what I think

Yeah, keep that in mind ya desperate fucks. Also, the whole “don’t commit flat-cest” thing is a load of tosh and I’m not being biased here. I know many success stories of couples born from flat-cest from just my first-year block! I think the main issue should be to not do your flatmate if you have COVID-19. That’s just plain selfish. Though, if you end up with freshers’ flu, as opposed to COVID-19, invest in lots of cough drops, cough medicine, and pain killers from Nisa (or anywhere else if you want to save a small fortune). Us students will be thrust into a pseudo-normal university environment soon and that’s a little scary. Our social batteries haven’t been re-charged and alcohol tolerances have either shot up to the point that even pure ethanol won’t give a kick, or it’s hit rock bottom, much like how we all hope COVID-19 cases will do the same. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that this year will be a fabulous time for you freshers and a breath of fresh air for us returning to our brutalist architecture filled, Long Boi obsessed campus.

about those who do fuck-all.


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Thursday September 30, 2021

FEATURES

FEATURES

ways to get involved in uni life

WITH OVER 200 societies, there’s something for everyone. Here’s just a selection of societies we talked to who are eager for you to get involved.

DOUGSOC

DougSoc run weekly events which even they describe as weird, whacky, and wonderful. You don’t need to be a Douglas Adams superfan, or have even read ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ to join. All you need is a bit of enthusiasm. Known as one of the most lighthearted societies on campus, they’re just here for a bit of fun and chaos. You can find them either in V-Bar on Tuesdays at 8pm, or hosting events on their Discord Channel.

DOG SOC

Missing a beloved pet from home or just fond of our furry friends? Dog Society are here for you. They’re famous for their dog meet-ups where you can pop along, meet a cute dog, and have a chat with other members. It’s the perfect antidote to term-time stress, all while meeting new people and pets. You’ll find them in Alcuin College JCR every Wednesday afternoon. They’ll be the ones with the dogs.

FEMINIST SOC

ALBUM SOC

The largest society on campus last year, Feminist Society offer an inclusive space to chat about serious issues affecting students at the University. Join them to connect with other people with similar values and to be reminded that feminism is just as fun as it is serious!

Want to hear the Illinoise with a friendly bunch? Album Society meet every week to listen to and discuss an album chosen by its members. It could be a recent banger or a hidden gem, it’s up to you. If you’re looking to discover new favourites and make friends over good music, then Album Soc is your best bet.

They meet every Thursday 7-9pm in P/T/006 (Exhibition Centre/Physics).

CIRCUS & MAGIC

Ever wanted to learn how to turn lead into gold? Well, Circus and Magic Society won’t be able to help you there. However, they can help you learn juggling, unicycling, acrobalance, sleight-of-hand... and much more! They’ve got all the equipment needed to turn anywhere into a circus and create a bit of modern magic. Don’t miss their Fire and Glow nights where they do all their usual practicing... but with extra fire and lights.

FET SOC Want a welcoming space where you can talk about all things kink? FetSoc are an educational, progressive, and sex-positive society that provides just that. They encourage curiosity, consent, and best practice through their series of workshops and discussion groups. They’re certain when they say they have “the world’s most interesting show and tell nights”. Events are held twice a week during term time, both on campus and online. Get in touch with them to find out more.

All music tastes are not just welcome but appreciated.

BAKING SOC

Keen to show off your lockdown baking skills or learn new ones? Baking Society bring students together to create all kinds of baked goods: from high concept masterpieces to soggy-bottomed splodges. Get in on their themed weekly competitions to be in with a chance of winning a prize. It’s a relaxed society where all kinds of involvement and experience are welcome. Meetings are usually decided by polls among members.

TIPSYGATE READERS There’s little better than getting lost in a good book, and Tipsygate Readers lets you do just that with a group of like-minded people. Every month they meet to discuss a book around a chosen theme. Last year saw them discuss class, racism, romance, and sexuality, among others. Look out for a timetable of all their events to be released shortly.


FEATURES

Thursday September 30, 2021

FEATURES TEAM

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IWAN STONE DEPUTY: POSITION VACANT

Vısıon YORK

ADVICE

WILL ROWAN gives his top tips on how to get involved in student societies. COMING TO UNIVERSITY, getting settled in, and planning which societies to join to widen your friendship group. It’s all a bit much, isn’t it? I know I felt a huge pressure in the first few weeks to find societies, make friends, and carve out that little comfort zone to call my own all while being bombarded with opportunities. Several years later and, like for many others, societies have been a defining part of my university experience, providing the best nights and the most chaotic of deadlines. Give them a chance and you may be pleasantly surprised. Reflecting on it now, there didn’t need to be that much pressure when I was a fresher. If you find the society(s) for you at Freshers’ Fair and hit the ground running with a group of like-minded people then that’s wonderful, but you don’t have to join immediately. You may do what I did: turn up to a few welcome talks, get that free pizza, and then find the ones I picked weren’t really for me after a few weeks. Realised you’re not so interested in astronomy? That’s fine, you’ve learnt something and can try something else. I only got properly involved in societies in my second year. I joined the student cinema with the noblest of aims: hoping to get those free tickets I heard you receive if you volunteered. I’ve loved going to screenings, meeting new people, and now organising events ever since. When I joined, I hadn’t even seen all of Star Wars. 500 or so films later and I still haven’t, but that’s by the by. A great recent addition is the new Activities Access Grants scheme which allows you to get funding to join student activities if you meet any of the criteria. You can get up to £80 for as many as four membership groups so it’s well worth a look and widens those who can join and meet. You also don’t need to join at the start of the year. I joined The Lemon Press with an email on the 2nd of January one year and Vision around March 2020, just as the world was about to go a bit crazy. You don’t need experience to join these societies, only interest. That’s why it’s such a fantastic time to try new activities and meet others who already share your own. If you’re not excited, then I am for you. Take a look around at Freshers’ Fair, sign up to mailing lists, and try to go along to those that grab your interest. It may be the activity that pulls you in or just a friendly bunch on a stall that you’d like to join. Not sure what to join or what they’re about? Look at the society part of the YUSU website and send the society an email if you have any questions. They’ll want to welcome you! One overlooked option is to create your own society. All you need is a couple of friends and a shared interest. A couple of forms later and you’re on your way to welcoming new members and getting funding for your idea. Every term there are a bunch of new societies fresh on the scene who will be looking to bump up their membership and fill out a committee. Above all, remember that you can both join and leave at any time. You can rock up with no experience or an encyclopedic knowledge to put everyone to shame. Whatever you do, there will be people eager to meet you. Take it slow as it’ll go by quickly. Enjoy!

IF INTERESTED PLEASE EMAIL VISION@YUSU.ORG

vision’s famous bucket list Roll down Clifford’s Tower

Join a local ghost tour

See Cats at YSC

Fire drill when in the shower

Make a truly inedible meal

Turn up to the wrong lecture

Visit Hull/York

Watch sunrise over the Ouse

Have a Courtyard first date

Pull an all-nighter

Hopefully graduate

Meet Peter Hitchens

Stumble upon Wentworth

Run a joke YUSU campaign

Lock yourself out

Get lost in Derwent

Join Vision (very smooth)

Have a Vision Blind Date


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LIFESTYLE

Thursday September 30, 2021

LIFESTYLE BY

EM WHITEHOUSE

BEFORE STARTING UNIVERSITY I thought my experience would be similar to that of Rory Gilmore: I would wake up early, run through my seminar notes and grab a cup of coffee all before 9am, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, I spent three years waking up fifteen minutes before my class started and skimmed my texts the night before. Waking up late isn’t too much of an issue, but I don’t advise the latter. The first few weeks at university are really hard. I remember beating myself up because I struggled to keep up with the pace of lectures and I felt that I had to complete every reading that was suggested before my seminars, but as I became more settled, I realized that to be successful I just needed to focus on what was right in front of me. Social media can provide some useful advice on how to make Freshers’ Week easier. The amount of TikToks I’ve seen recently titled: ‘10 things you need for moving to university’, is crazy. However, something nobody can really prepare you for is the new course you are all about to start.

LIFESTYLE TEAM EM WHITEHOUSE HANNAH FROST

THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE STARTING UNI Before moving to York, I’m sure your inbox was flooded with various emails from your new professors and Charlie Jeffery himself, containing reading lists and telling you how you should begin preparing for your new classes, but there are some things that are always left out. During my time in York I studied English Literature, so I can’t offer any specific guidance on other subjects. Although, every degree requires a bit of background reading, so I can speak subjectively about books and hope it provides you with (at least) a bit of reassurance that everything will be ok. FYI, if you need to buy a reading list for your modules, search for them in the ‘used’ section of Amazon rather than going through Blackwells.

To achieve higher grades, students often falsely believe that they should read around their modules and broaden their knowledge by branching out from their reading lists and delivered lectures, but there is plenty of knowledge that can come from a single novel or textbook. The authors of whatever books you have to read would have put plenty of thought into the words that fill the pages and meant for them to be helpful and inspiring, sometimes you simply have to dig a little deeper to realise this. The spine of a book shows this: before gaining an understanding of something, everything seems hard and unbreakable, but with some effort and thought, things become easier until they seem obvious. The same message goes for you

settling in at university. At first, York’s campus may look daunting, but after you spend some time exploring and becoming more comfortable with your surroundings, it becomes a real home from home. Despite me telling you to focus on the materials you do have instead of panicking and reading everything ever written about your modules, if you have a spare moment I would recommend that you read Matt Haig’s novel ‘The Midnight Library’. It is a book that I wish I had read as an undergraduate. It is a fiction about regret, upset, and anger, but ultimately concludes with the message: “It is easy to mourn the lives we aren’t living. Easy to wish we’d developed other talents [but] We can’t tell if any of those versions would have been better or worse [...] you

are happening [...] and that is the happening we have to focus on.” Don’t spend your time at York giving yourself a hard time because you haven’t finished all of your suggested readings or made time to join loads of societies, just enjoy the decisions you do make and the work that is right in front of you. After a little bit of research on previous York allumi, I came across some pretty famous names: Bryan Elsley (scriptwriter of Skins), Lawrence James (author and journalist), Zoe Lyons (comedian), and Caroline Thompson (former chief operating officer of the BBC). If legends such as those I have listed have come out of York, then I think you’re going to be just fine.

STREAM OF CONSCIENCE

“Dear Aunty Vi, I am starting university soon and I’m very worried. I’ll be living in accommodation with other students and I’m not sure what they’ll think of my habits. The trouble is that I do Twitch livestreams, and while I don’t want to tell my flatmates and let them find my channel, I can be loud and feel like they will find

out anyway. Should I own up to being a streamer now, or wait until they ask why I’m yelling for someone to die at 2am?” Dear Reader, Thank you for sending in your question. It can be hard to share your interests with new people when moving into student accommodation. I think you should find

ways to ease into telling them about your hobby. For example, instead of yelling for someone to die on your own at 2am, why not invite some of your new flatmates to join you for a game? You could then gently introduce them to your livestreams and have a whole group calling for death at 2am. That does have the issue of them knowing your channel and online identity, for which I can only sympathise. However, this could be a mutual interest! Even if it’s not within your flat, there are thousands of new students, many of whom will be facing a similar situation. Put yourself out there and you’ll soon find others to share your Peggle 2 passions with. There are plenty of gaming so-

cieties at the University, whether it’s LAN parties and eSports with FragSoc, or a relaxing evening with Animal Crossing Society. I’m sure they’d be very happy to welcome you. Before you even know it, you’ll be telling people you enjoy live-streaming and their response will be ‘cool!’. That being said, I’ve heard through my local network of agony aunts that there is a real issue of toxicity in online games communities, including eSports. Make sure you’re always kind and respectful and we can make places online and in the physical world all the nicer. I know it can be difficult at 2am and you’re in the heat of battle, but also be respectful to those living with you, they’ll prob-

ably find your commentary interesting at most times of day, but not when they’ve got a lecture at 9am that morning. Punch up, not down, and ensure that everyone is having fun - as that’s what gaming should be all about. Having interests outside your degree is great and they can make making friends all the easier. Try to see it as a strength rather than something you need to hide. University is all about making your comfort zone that bit wider, just take it one step at a time. I think you’ll be just fine. You’re not the imposter at uni, even if you are a bit sus. With love, Aunty Vi


SCIENCE

Thursday September 30, 2021

SCIENCE

27

SCIENCE TEAM

SARAH VEALE DEPUTY: POSITION VACANT IF INTERESTED PLEASE EMAIL VISION@YUSU.ORG

PLASTIC COULD BE A SILENT KILLER

BY

CHELSEA DACK

AMONG THE COVID-19 updates during August last year, a shocking discovery was made regarding the levels of plastic pollution in the Atlantic Ocean. The amount of plastic within the ocean has been severely underestimated, with actual levels more than ten times those predicted. In the same week, a scientific paper was published confirming that plastic is making its way into our bodies; so, is this a disaster waiting to happen? We’re all aware of the fact that we are polluting the planet with the millions of tonnes of waste we produce every year; plastic can be found in every corner of the globe. However, how many of us realise that by polluting the world we live in we’re also polluting ourselves? Plastic particles can be found everywhere. They’re too small to be seen with the naked eye but they’re there, and they’re poten-

BY

CHELSEA DACK

DUE TO LOW gravity, cosmic radiation, and alien living conditions, spending a long period of time in space can severely harm any living organism. As space missions are becoming longer, and more people are being sent into space, it could be only a matter of time before there are serious health effects for astronauts, such as musculoskeletal problems, concerns with the cardiovascular system, and psychological issues. In space, bone deterioration occurs at a rate of 1-1.5% a month. This may not sound too significant but the average ISS space mission lasts six months, meaning on average astronauts can lose up to nearly 10% of their entire bone mass from a single mission! Why does this happen? Well, as you’ve probably already guessed, without gravity there’s very little strain on our bones because we no longer need to bear any weight, and since the easiest way to get around is floating, we’re doing hardly any physically activity. This means that the usual micro-cracks that

tially a slow and silent killer. You only have to look as far as our oceans to see the effects of plastic pollution starting to take hold. Larger plastic debris is harming marine animals, causing them to get entangled and ruining their habitats, but this isn’t the only damage they do. Plastic can erode and break down into tiny plastic particles (microplastics) and these are far more deadly. These microplastics, less than 5 mm in diameter, have been associated with poisoning the nervous system of fish, and increasing damage which can lead to an increased risk of cancer. They have also been found in other animals such as birds and insects. So, the question is : should we be worried? Even though the WHO urgently called for more research into the health impacts of microplastics in 2019, very little is known about the effects that these tiny plastic particles have on humans. However, an investigation has taken place at

Arizona State University in America using human tissue samples from 24 individuals. After being exposed, all 47 samples tested contained microplastics, in particular one plastic that’s often found within food containers - BPA. This is very worrying. The tissues from which samples were taken were those which are likely to be exposed or involved in filtering the particles from the human body such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, and lungs. However, the body is an interlinked system, and it is likely that these are not the only organs affected. As with anything entering the body that isn’t supposed to be there, there are often unwanted side effects. Unfortunately, scientists are yet to know the consequences and effects that microplastics have on human health. Some studies have found these microplastics have no permanent effect on some species of animals as they simply pass out through

their digestive systems and are excreted in their faeces. It has been established that humans do ingest microplastics and they do eventually pass out through our digestive systems, as they have been found in human faeces all over the world. So, we know that we are able to excrete microplastics, but how much of what goes in comes out? Unfortunately, no one knows. But now that scientists can prove that microplastics can be found in human organs if exposed to them, it’s highly likely that some of the microplastics ingested are absorbed by our body and accumulate rather than being excreted. It’s assumed a fair number of plastic particles do accumulate in our bodies since they’re found in everything we consume; for example, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe. As the leader of one study, Rolf Halden, said: “It would be naive to believe there is plastic everywhere but just not in us”.

And although we do excrete microplastics, it’s very likely that they are also absorbed by our body. After all, isn’t everything we consume absorbed (alcohol, drugs, gas…)? With the discovery that there’s more than ten times the amount of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean than originally predicted, does this also mean that there’s more plastic inside us than scientists originally thought? We should be very worried about what the future could hold regarding plastic pollution. If microplastics are already poisoning the nervous systems of fish (which we eat) and affecting other animals, it isn’t looking too good for humans either. We need to know whether plastic is a slow and silent killer, and most importantly we need to change our view on plastic before it’s too late. Plastic is potentially a very serious human health hazard - plastic is a threat.

ARE ASTRONAUTS WASTING AWAY? occur when our bones experience strain do not form. Micro-cracks are necessary to stimulate bone remodelling and to induce our body to generate more cells to do this job (osteoblasts) from bone marrow stem cells. Therefore, if these cracks don’t occur then our bones will naturally erode since the bone-replenishing cells are not stimulated, nor are they being made as frequently, yet bone-eroding cells (osteoclasts) are still going strong. The overall effect is that bones become weak as the rate of removal will exceed the rate of remodeling. Fluid redistribution is another factor weakening the bones of an astronaut. The lack of gravity causes the blood pressure of an individual to equalise; for example,

on Earth when upright your blood gathers at your feet due to gravity, however, when there is no gravity then blood circulates freely and more blood collects at the head than usual. The brain interprets this increase in blood pressure as an increase in total fluid volume in the body so, to counteract this, the kidneys will absorb less water and there would be more urination. Imagine your body as a halffilled water bottle: when on Earth gravity pulls the water down so you can see how much water is in there. However, if there was no gravity then the water would float around freely so that it’s now much harder for you to determine exactly how much water is in the bottle. The body is trying to reduce its blood pressure and fluid vol-

ume by expelling as much water as is needed to return to normal levels. However, this loss of water raises the sodium content of the blood beyond normal levels since the body doesn’t actually have too much water. Now that the body has high levels of sodium in its blood, this sodium will outcompete calcium for reabsorption in the kidney to return to the blood. So, sodium levels remain high and the body’s calcium content drops as it is excreted in urine. To restore its blood calcium levels back to normal, the body will have to deplete some of its stores, for example, by eroding bone for its calcium causing de-mineralisation, meaning the bones become soft and weak. Unfortunately, at this moment

in time bone deterioration in space cannot be prevented altogether, but there are methods that are proven to be effective at minimising it. For example, due to the lack of gravity it’s clearly very difficult to exercise and put enough strain on our bones to cause micro-cracks in space. However, given the right specialised equipment, such as a treadmill and cycle ergometer, it is possible. In conclusion, technically our astronauts are wasting away in space since their bones are deteriorating significantly, and although we can’t prevent it completely there are methods of minimising this deterioration. The question is, would you want to be an astronaut knowing some of the effects microgravity has on your body?


28

CLIMATE

Thursday September 30, 2021

CLIMATE

CLIMATE TEAM EMILY HOUGHTON ALEXANDRA OPENSHAW

LIVING SUSTAINABLY IN YORK IMAGE: WILL ROWAN BY

EMILY HOUGHTON

PLENTY OF PEOPLE want to live sustainably, but the transition to university can be a challenge. As a fresher, environmentally friendly practices might be the last thing on your mind. Thankfully the University of York and York as a city hold plenty of affordable eco-friendly options that are just as easy to access as those that are unsustainable. Once the whirlwind of Freshers’ Week has come to an end and you begin to explore the city properly, you might find yourself searching for a tasty veggie or vegan cafe. York has a long list, with some

of my favourites being Cosytime, Gron, Humpit, and Goji Cafe. If you fancy an evening meal restaurants like Ambiente Tapas, The Orchid, and Source have amazing food options. Overall, the sustainable food scene in York is incredible, with most restaurants offering at least a couple of vegan options. So as a new fresher in the city there is no need to worry about not having an option on the menu. If you want to delve into the world of eco-friendly food shopping, York has a few options to offer. Alligator Wholefoods and Bishy Weigh provide low waste eco friendly shopping with refills of dried goods like rice, oats, nuts,

and even washing up liquid. They also have an amazing selection of vegan alternative options and fruit and veg.

It can be a trek into the city so an alternative option is available in Nisa, where you can refill similar items. However, I do recommend a visit to both these shops if you’re in town as it’s such an interesting experience and the staff are so

friendly. Another sustainable shop I recommend visiting is Shared Earth, which sells eco friendly and fair trade products. They are perfect for gifts, ethically sourced university room decor, clothing, and kitchen items. The shop is right near York Minster and aims to minimise packaging and energy consumption. If you’d prefer not to drift away from campus to do your shopping then the student-run co-operative Scoop is a sustainable option. It provides organic, local produce with minimal packaging at affordable prices. The restaurants and cafes on campus all provide vegan and vegetarian options, with takeaway options all using

wooden cutlery and the option to bring your own takeaway box to reduce excess waste. The YORCUP scheme on campus saves you money and saves single use plastic waste. The cup is bought at outlets on campus, with the bonuses of a free first drink, 20p off the rest, and the ability to leave your cup at an outlet to be washed and stored. The 20p off may not sound like a lot, but longterm it adds up! If you want to get more deeply involved in sustainability and environmental movements, societies such as the Environment Society offer further insights into environmental issues, and the ability to take part in events such as beach cleanups and campaigns.

PLANTS TO CLEAR UP EXPLOSIVES POLLUTION

BY

LIAM BARRATT

RESEARCHERS AT YORK have used genetic engineering to develop plants that can detoxify pollution left behind from military bomb explosions. Vision spoke to Professor Neil Bruce, who led the explosive study. “Explosives have become an extensive global pollutant over the last 100 years. The scale is enormous, in the US alone over 10 million hectares of military land are contaminated with munitions components.” The pollutant in question, called ‘RDX’, has been used as an explosive compound in munitions since WW2, and is still a major component of the munitions used at military training ranges in the

US today. The explosive is toxic to humans and is designated as a priority pollutant by the US Environmental Protection Agency. RDX is also very difficult to degrade or remove from the environment; a factor which, Bruce added, is very worrying: “The recalcitrance of RDX to degradation in the environment, combined with its high mobility through soil and groundwater, mean that plumes of toxic RDX continue to spread below these military sites, threatening drinking water supplies.” RDX pollution made headlines for this reason in 1997, when plumes of contaminated groundwater were found underneath a military training range in Massachusetts. This groundwater was the sole source of drinking water

for 500,000 people and the discovery led to a ban on the use of all live munitions during training at the site. Despite RDX’s toxicity, bacteria were found living in contaminated soil and groundwater at these military training ranges, suggesting they possess evolved genes which allow them to thrive in an otherwise inhospitable environment. The York team inserted two genes from the bacteria into switchgrass, which is commonly found at military training ranges in the US, with the hope that the engineered plants would be able to remove RDX from the environment. Amazingly, this gave the plants the ability to degrade RDX to non-detectable levels once the explosive had been taken into the plant’s cells.

So, what next for these plants? Bruce said: “We are currently seeking deregulation status for these plants from the US Department of Agriculture so that they can be used on a large scale.” However, don’t expect to see the York-born detoxifiers growing on famous battlefields around the world, as Professor Bruce claims other sites pose a more significant environmental threat: “The plants could be used to clean up the soil at old explosives manufacturing facilities and munition storage sites. Military ranges are a particular problem because of the sheer number of munitions detonated on these sites every year.” Although these plants are the bomb, Bruce and his team are also working on ways to remove other toxic explosives pollutants, name-

ly TNT, from contaminated environments, “We are developing robust plant systems to remove TNT contamination from soils. TNT cannot be degraded, so we are developing plants that can safely accumulate and detoxify TNT.” With the overuse of plastics, reliance on chemical fertilizers, and the burning of fossil fuels, amongst many other things, environmental pollution is all around us and needs to be cleaned up. This work, from researchers here at York, highlights how genetic engineering can be used to solve real-world environmental crises. So, perhaps next time there is an oil spill, algal bloom, or collection of marine garbage that can be seen from space, scientists and governments will be more likely to adopt a GM remediation approach.


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30

SPORT

Thursday September 30, 2021

SPORT

YORK’S PARALYMPIAN

BY MATT WARD-PERKINS

selection for Tokyo 2020, and I was then invited in February onto the World Class Programme, which was the start of the build towards the Paralympics. “When COVID-19 hit and the Games were postponed for a year I returned to the Uni to complete my dissertation during the Summer Term, then in the Autumn to complete the modules I’d missed earlier in 2020. “The staff throughout my studies were really helpful, especially when I’d had to miss a lecture or seminar for a training camp or competition.” Tokyo 2020 took place in very different conditions to a normal Paralympics, with athletes living in bubbles, and spectators not being able to attend, which Moulam told Vision was “probably not the normal Paralympic experience”. She said: “But what was great was the opportunity and excitement of everyone being able to take part in the Games after months of living under COV-

ID-19 restrictions. “Even though family and friends could not be there, their support and enthusiasm before, during, and after the Games demonstrated the power of sport to bring the world together.” Away from sport, Moulam has been working with people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). “Like Stephen Hawking and Lee Ridley (Lost Voice Guy), I have a speech impairment and use an electronic communication device to speak. “My goal is to continue to raise awareness and support young people develop their potential as communicators and in life generally.” Vision asked Moulam if she had any advice for people with disabilities starting university in York, and she said: “Talk to the staff as they are all there to support you. “The Disability Support team really helped me, and my supervisor has been great throughout

the course. “Then make sure you use what resources and strategies that are available to you in your disability support plan. “Don’t be shy of asking for a review of your plan after the first few weeks if you find there is something missing or not working the way you think it should. “Oh, and make sure through student services you are getting all the benefits and support you are entitled to. “The Alcuin College team were great even when I didn’t live on campus.” If you want to get involved in boccia, Moulam and her parents run Jorvik Boccia for people who are eligible for the Paralympic pathway. “As a sport we are growing fast so we are always looking for coaches, officials, and classifiers. “There are opportunities to be trained and get experience to work right up to elite level and represent GB as an official at all levels.”

IMAGE: BOCCIA UK

UNIVERSITY OF YORK student Beth Moulam competed earlier this month at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Moulam’s sport, boccia, is one of three sports in the Paralympics which have no Olympic equivalent. It is for athletes with conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy that affects all four limbs. The sport is played on an indoor court with players positioned at one end. From a seated position, players propel balls to land as close as possible to a white marker ball, known as the ‘jack’. After returning to York, Moulam spoke to York Vision about her experience, how she discovered boccia, and life as an athlete at the University. “In 2000 I watched the Sydney Paralympics and saw a sprinter called Caroline Innes

compete to win gold. “When she was interviewed afterwards, I realised she was just like me, with cerebral palsy and a speech impairment. “I knew then if Caroline could do sport, so could I, so at that stage I just needed to find a sport for me. “When I was ten, I was invited to play boccia in the Surrey Youth Games for my local borough. “My friend and I just got a half-hour training session and then we went to compete. “Until that point, I hadn’t realised I was competitive, but I loved it and knew boccia was the sport for me.” Moulam told Vision about how she was able to balance training for the Paralympics with studying at York. She said: “Due to my disability, I was awarded 100% extra time for my studies, which meant I studied the course part-time but did full-time hours. “In January 2020 I applied for a year out so I could focus on

1

RILEY PROMISES TRANS SPORT POLICY

BY RUTH KELNER

YORK SPORT UNION President Franki Riley has pledged to implement a specific policy on the inclusion of transgender athletes after finding “significant shortfalls in the policy agenda that need to be addressed”. York Sport Union does not currently have its own policy regarding transgender and non-binary athletes, instead deferring to national BUCS policies which can leave university sport open to the kind of rigorous testosterone testing commonplace in professional sport. Riley said this followed “researching the policies pertaining to the inclusion of transgender athletes”.

According to BUCS’s transgender policy statement, the organisation aims to “endorse equality of access to sport and physical activity and is committed to eliminating transphobia within university sport”. For individual sports, BUCS say that: “Where issues arise regarding transgender students’ eligibility, the policy of the respective sport’s national governing body should be adopted.” These policies often impose stringent standards to obtain the eligibility of transgender athletes. For example, England Rugby asks for a signed declaration of gender identity alongside a testosterone test, the validity of which has been fiercely debated for many years and could be seen by stu-

dents as an invasion of privacy, and the policies of World Athletics are similar. Speaking to York Vision, Riley recognised the challenges that transgender athletes face, saying: “I passionately believe that everyone has the right to equal access in sport and should feel included, valued, and respected. “I know that for many transgender and non-binary individuals, sports can be a daunting environment, and the current procedures that exist in many sporting policies can be very off-putting, hard-lined, and exclusionary. “This is the opposite of how sports should feel, and I am committed to ensuring that every single student feels like sports is somewhere they belong.”

The policies of national governing bodies are designed for sport at a professional level rather than tailored to university sport, and Riley told Vision: “The inclusion of transgender athletes in sport has long been a heavily discussed topic and considered a controversial issue for many, often approached with predominantly exclusionary principles.” Riley said: “Currently we do not have a policy regarding the inclusion of trans athletes or non-binary individuals and defer to BUCS guidelines. “I want us to change this and implement a specific policy for York students that ensures the safe and welcome inclusion of transgender athletes in all aspects of sport at the university.

“Some progress has been made in implementing transgender inclusion policies, including at Bath, CUSU LGBT+, and Warwick, and I feel York has the drive to join these institutions and do more. “One of my manifesto goals is to revamp the Equal Opportunities scheme, and this will form a very important part of that goal. “I want to work with other SU sports representatives across the UK to lobby BUCS to review and update their policy to ensure that all students, regardless of gender identity, are able to participate in sport. “I cannot achieve these goals alone so I will look to work closely with the student body, liberation network groups, and sports clubs during this process.”


SPORT

Thursday September 30, 2021

31

SPORT TEAM MARCO PHILLIPS GEORGIA LAMBERT

QUIDDITCH AND GENDER INCLUSIVITY

BY DAN BENNETT

IMAGE: YORK SPORT UNION

BUCS 2021-22 YORK VISION’S ONES TO WATCH WOMEN’S RUGBY

York’s Women’s Rugby 1s have earned their status as one of the most well-known teams on campus. The team went into the 2019-20 season with plenty of people understandably expecting them to face challenges, having been newly promoted into the Northern Premier Division. Despite that pressure, they surpassed all expectations and won every single BUCS game in that season except against Loughborough’s 1s. Captain Emmy Fenner told Vision that they are “preparing to hopefully thrive in the Premier North once again. We’re particularly looking forward to playing Loughborough 2s, a side with a scary name to it that we are more than ready to take on and compare to their 1s when we play them at home on 20 October”. This season won’t be easy, as plenty of the players who were part of the 2019-20 team have moved on from the University, but nobody at York can ever doubt the ability of this club to make great things happen.

WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

IMAGE: LUKE SNELL

The Women’s Football 1s are another York team making plenty of waves in what is one of campus’ most popular sports. In the 2019-20 season they were dominant, winning their Northern Tier 2 league against Newcastle with a game to spare, and finishing on 24 points, nine above their nearest rivals. They will be hoping that the momentum of that promotion will carry over two years down the line, as they step into the challenging and competitive Northern Tier 1 league in what will be one of the most unpredictable BUCS years in memory, with plenty of sides seeing changes from the teams that last competed back in February 2020. York’s season opener next Wednesday should be one of their toughest games on paper, as they take on a Sheffield Hallam side that finished joint top of the league last time out, denied the title on goal difference, before they go on the road to face another newly promoted side in Edge Hill University.

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL Volleyball may not be what a lot of people first think of when they think about BUCS, but the Volleyball Men’s 1s have been one of the most high-achieving teams of any sport on campus. In 2019-20 they were second in Northern Tier 1, beaten only by an undefeated Leeds team, and they’ll be hoping to go one step further. They were also set to compete in the BUCS Trophy final before COVID-19, becoming one of few York teams to reach BUCS finals day. Captain Adam Barr told Vision that, like in many teams, a lot of that 2020 squad have moved on, but “we still have some very experienced players in the club who can help support those who are newer to the sport and instil a winning mentality”. He said he is “itching for term to start so we can put a team together, start training, and start winning games again”. Their first chance comes in Week 3 on the road against 2019-20 third-placed Manchester.

MEN’S FENCING

York’s Men’s Fencing 1s are another team who have performed consistently well over the past few years in BUCS competition. Last time out in 2019-20 they finished a strong second to an unbeaten Durham Men’s 2s side in Norther Tier 1, losing only to them and in an incredibly close 117-115 loss away at third placed Sheffield. Captain Finlay Robinson said: “We are really looking forward to the new season after a massive length of time away from competition. It’s going to be interesting to see how the team turns out and hopefully we can win as much as possible. Although, my eyes are definitely set on making sure we win at Roses this year.” Buoyed by strong performances from both the men’s and women’s sides (the Women’s 1s won their league and came second in their cup in 2019-20), York’s fencing club looks set for more success in the future, which the men’s team will hope starts in their first home game against the newly promoted Durham Men’s 3s.

SINCE LEAPING FROM book pages into real life, the sport of Quidditch has spread around the world to become a phenomenon. The ‘Harry Potter’ game was first brought into the real world 16 years ago in the USA. Since then, it has grown to be played around the world and developed popular continental and worldwide tournaments. Changes had to be made to allow non-wizards to play; volleyballs and dodgeballs replaced quaffles and bludgers, regular PVC pipe took the place of flying broomsticks, and the scoring system was changed to make the game a sport rather than a plot device. However, one element stayed the same; quidditch is a mixed-gender sport. Quidditch is one of the most high-profile mixed-gender team sports around, even as a niche sport. There are a number of rules that aim to make the sport’s mixed-gender setup possible, including limiting tackles to one arm. The gender rule is simple; for a team of seven, a maximum of four of them can identify as the same gender, whether that is male, female or non-binary. This is a sport where full gender inclusivity, including non-binary inclusion, is written in the rulebook rather than being an afterthought. Hopefully this shows a trend of sports created this century being designed to be inclusive, creating sporting communities as diverse and welcoming as Quidditch. After that, it’s up to the traditional sports to improve their inclusivity or get left behind.


ısıon VSport

VISION’S BUCS PREVIEW IS INSIDE

YORK

Thursday September 30, 2021

IMAGE: LUKE SNELL

PAGE 31

YORK SPORT UNION PRES PROMISES CHANGE

LET DOWN

Revealed: York Sport Union has No Transgender Inclusion Policy BY RUTH KELNER YORK SPORT UNION President Franki Riley has pledged to implement a specific policy on the inclusion of transgender athletes after finding “significant shortfalls in the policy agenda that need to be addressed”. York Sport Union does not currently have its own policy regarding transgender and non-binary athletes, instead deferring to national BUCS policies which can

leave university sport open to the kind of rigorous testosterone testing commonplace in professional sport. Riley said this followed “researching the policies pertaining to the inclusion of transgender athletes”. According to BUCS’s transgender policy statement, the organisation aims to “endorse equality of access to sport and physical activity and is committed to eliminating transphobia within university sport”.

FULL STORY ON PAGE 30

IMAGE: WILL ROWAN


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