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WELCOME!!! We would first like to say congratulations and welcome to York St John! The Students’ Union is a great place to start your time here so when you have finished unpacking…get yourself down here! The anxiety of moving in and meeting new people can seem daunting at first but here at York

St John the sense of a friendly, small knit, local community for all makes the student experience one of the best in the country. The Students’ Union is here to support you through your studies both academically and socially. This handbook shows you the many different things we have available to help you have the best possible time while you’re at York St John from volunteering to clubs and societies, from voting and standing for election to working with us.


We’ve got a jam packed list of exciting and varied activities that you can take part in. We give you the chance to do something you love, try something new and meet new friends into the bargain!

VISION If you want to achieve anything, you need to know where you are going. Our vision is a clear statement of what we feel York St John Students’ Union exists to do: Broadening your mind. Making new friends. Advancing your career. Experiencing a different culture. University can transform your life. So whatever you want to do with your time at York St John, we’ll make sure you achieve it.


Our values guide our work, and we want you to feel part of a union that reflects these beliefs in everything we do for you. Fun There’s more to student life than lectures. Taking part in clubs and societies can help you develop your skills. But the union also gives you the chance to relax, make new friends and have a good time.

Inclusive Whoever you are, wherever you come from and whichever course you’re studying, the union is here for you. We’re always looking for new ways to welcome more students into our family. In touch and listening As your union, we can only do a good job if we know what you want. Every year, we ask all our members how we can improve their time at university. Value for money We help you make the most of your money at university. This means good quality, affordable shops and bars. It also means making sure you feel your time at York St John has been well spent.

Sports clubs include: Badminton club, Basketball club, Cheerleading club, Climbing club, Cricket club, Men’s Football club, Ladies Football club, Hockey club, Netball club, Rowing club, Women’s Rugby, Men’s Rugby, Men’s Rugby League, Swimming club, Tennis club, Volleyball club Societies include: Aikido society, Big Band society, Cinema Experience Guild (C.E.G), Dance society, Drama society, Gospel Choir, Science Fiction and Fantasy society, Snow Sports society, Ten Pin Bowling society For more information on Sports and Societies at YSJ visit: or ask at the Union Reception desk

Working together We work with students, university staff, local businesses and the community. Together, we help you get more from student life — from volunteering opportunities to work placements.

All portrait photography by Daniel Roche:






SPORTS Kathryn Honey Rowing Club Captain

Jenna Gallagher Hockey Club Captain ADAM HARVEY BADMINTON CLUB CAPTAIN

What do you get up to? My role involves organising fixtures, running the training schedules and checking the club finances. I oversee the running of the club. There are around 70 members in the club of mixed ability, age and gender. Best experience at YSJ My best experiences come from being involved in a club. The social aspect as well as the competitive side is the key positives about the club. By being in a club you make loads of friends and spend most of your time together. How would you describe YSJ? YSJ is a ‘Sleeping giant.’ The University and Students’ Union have lots of potential and are always growing. Best reasons to be a part of the SU Apart from having relief from your studies, it is a great way of making friends…friends for life!

What do you get up to? As club captain I oversee the three Hockey teams (two women’s and one men’s team). I have a supportive team around me including Captain and Vice-Captain for each team. Overall there are 60 members in the Hockey club. Best experience at YSJ My best moment of YSJ was going on tour with the club. We visited Rimini in Italy. It was definitely the highlight of the year! The beginning of the year is always fun and Freshers’ week is a really good experience. There’s always lots going on and lots of Freshers being involved in joining the club. How would you describe YSJ? ‘Way better than York University!’ Here everybody knows everybody; everyone is open to join new clubs and societies. Best reasons to be a part of the SU Being Captain involves a lot of organising but as soon as it’s all in place and training becomes scheduled it’s really good. You get to meet a wide range of people and it will definitely boost your confidence. I have really enjoyed this year since joining the club; you get much more out of being involved rather than just going to the socials.



What do you get up to? I oversee the captains selecting their teams; I support the committee members and make sure they get the opportunities they want. I chair the committee meetings and make sure all the legal issues are in place, for example the water safety measures. The beginning of the year is a lot of organising and work but once it’s up and running everything runs smoothly. Best experience at YSJ Being part of a sports club! You gain so much experience, chance to try new things and get to travel nationwide to race other teams. How would you describe YSJ? I would describe YSJ as an extended family. Being in a society you get to know a lot of people. The University is smaller than others I visited but it means you get more opportunities! Best reasons to be a part of the SU I’ve learnt I can do more than one thing at University, if you manage your time, you can do it. Being involved in clubs gives you opportunities to meet and talk to new people in all different places. Knowing lots of people gives you contacts and knowing other people with similar interests and experiences. Whilst you are training and taking part in races it’s like being in a family, relying on each other and going through the experience together. Your confidence grows loads!

Hazel Impey Chair of the Science Fiction and Fantasy society What do you get up to? I organise the weekly meeting by booking rooms, keeping a track of the committee members, running the socials, film nights or quiz nights. The society has around 30 students ranging from all year groups. The society meets weekly but is really adaptable depending on what commitments the members have. When I came to YSJ I wanted to create a society that gathered people with similar interests. I was a co-creator of the society along with another friend and it builds and builds each year. Best experience of YSJ The first term of my second year has to be the best as the society attended the Freshers’ fair with huge success. We turned up with one sheet not expecting many people to sign up to the society as it had been quiet in its first year but we had loads of people want to sign up. It’s really rewarding when everyone wants to be a part of something you’ve made! How would you describe YSJ? It’s small and so friendly. You always see someone you know and people remember you, you see people around and know what societies they are a part of and what they do. Best reasons to be a part of the SU The experience is an added extra for the CV but most importantly you learn what you can do. It builds your confidence and makes you think; yeah I can let people rely on me because I know I can do it.




Matthew Tams Programme Rep

What do you get up to? I represent the students on my course and raise any issues to the associated bodies or members of staff. For example; one recent issue the students wanted to be highlighted was that there were not enough computers in the design building. Once I had raised this issue to the associated member of staff the issue was dealt with and we received more computers within two weeks.

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I regularly meet with the sabbatical team and with the Academic Development Coordinator at the SU to raise any issues the students have. This is a streamline way of getting the students’ voice heard. With regards to my work within the promotions area, the promotions team give me a brief to portray what they want. I have my input of how it would be designed and create a draft of the promotional posters. The design is then finalised and the advertising is made and put up. The best advice I would give is when you see an opportunity- Grab it! Best experience at YSJ The Summer Ball last year was really amazing, for a small University it was a huge event. Generally, being involved in events, being behind the scenes and making it work is a brilliant experience. People don’t tend to see any of the behind a scene of the events at University but a lot of preparation goes on.


Katie Brown Communications Officer and Editor of the Student Magazine

What do you get up to? Overall the aim is to convey news to students in a light and fun way. The magazine is a communications tool to create media including articles and blogs relating to all students and anything that they want to hear or write about. I have a small team - alongside me are two other students, who I couldn’t do the job without.

How would you describe YSJ? Growing! The Union has much more involvement and volunteers than it did in my first year. It is forever growing, but we have much more space to expand in the future. The Union has a friendly and family vibe to it, when you step into the Union; you always see at least one face you recognise. Best reasons to be a part of the SU You will always meet new people with similar interests and you have a real chance to change how the Union works for the better. If you enjoy writing or you are a budding journalist then, why not do it? By being involved you gain recognition, physical evidence of your work to give to prospective employers, shining CV and a chance to voice your opinion and that of other students. Students will help you as well as you helping them. Want to be involved? Anyone can be!

Best experience at YSJ Being involved in a society! If you come and join, you automatically have friends with instant similar interests.

How would you describe YSJ? YSJ is a friendly and welcoming University. The University combines different looks, the De Grey building is modern and the Quad area is old. The architectural look of the University is great. If you are in terested in working on th e magazine, creating vide os or other m edia opportunitie s, contact th e Union Presid ent. Their de tails are on the w ebsite!

Best reasons to be a part of the SU Nowadays employers are looking for that extra spark from a graduate, having work experience on your C.V gives you that added extra that others won’t have. There are all kinds of roles available at University and it’s a great opportunity to get that experience.







VOLUNTEERING 4 reasons to volunteer: A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses: • 73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one without • 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills • 58% say that voluntary work experience can actually be more valuable than experience gained in paid employment • 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted. Volunteering shows you are an interesting and well-rounded individual, who has engaged with the university and wider community through committing to volunteering, and who has made a positive impact on those communities and their peers. Volunteering shows you are able to commit to a project, work with other people, challenge yourself, learn new things, give something back and it enables you to set yourself apart from your peers by showing skills valued by employers. It is also immense fun, lets you meet new people, actively engage in ways you haven’t before and makes you feel good about yourself! To find out more about Volunteering check out our website:

Ryan Sandford-Blackburn Volunteering Officer

Ela Niczyperowicz Community Coordinator

What do you get up to? I am involved in volunteering for YSJSU and I am also captain for the climbing club. I became captain in my second year. Being club captain you have responsibilities such as arranging training sessions, answering member’s questions and overseeing the club generally. More members want to be more involved now which is great. It’s best for the members, best for the club and best for the Union that they get involved as much as they can.

What do you get up to? My role involves organising projects for students to get involved in to help build the University relationship with our community. I commit about five hours a week to the role and I work with two other students; Jake and Briony. The role is fairly new so you have complete creative freedom with what you want to achieve and you do have guidance from the Union’s Opportunities Co-ordinator. Recently we held an international food fair to build relations with the local community. During the fair students cooked their national dishes and entertained residents with music from their home countries, including Japan, Germany and Spain. The event’s success was published in the York Press news.

Best experience at YSJ One of my best experiences would be the end of my second year where I was managing the main stage at the Summer Ball. The VPSA (Vice President of Student Activities) asked me if I wanted to help out and make sure it all ran smoothly and the sound checks went ahead without any issues.

Best experience at YSJ Living in halls is definitely a high point; you get to meet a great group of friends and have your own freedom.

How would you describe YSJ? The University is a distinct community, some would say it’s smaller than other Universities but I don’t see it like that, it’s so diverse, students come from all different walks of life and from all over the world.

How would you describe YSJ? YSJ has a great layout and working environment; you have everything here to achieve what you want to.

I would describe it as a ‘Rich community.’ The Students Union is a small building but the organisation itself is big for its boots!

Best reasons to be involved in the SU Being involved in the SU is a fun experience, you gain so much experience and it really builds your confidence because you get to communicate with a whole range of people. You really become involved as a part of the University life.

Best reasons to be involved in the SU Being involved in your Students’ Union opens loads of doors! Taking chances gives you much more, it’s a never-ending cycle! At the Union you get support, you are able to challenge yourself and it’s great fun!




RAG Raise And Give is certainly something to shout about! The society runs one-off events throughout the year but really takes charge for a week during February-March. The week is jam packed with activities around campus and the city centre as well as special versions of our regular nights at the SU. All the money that RAG raises is donated to a number of charities in need of help. If you want to be a member of the R.A.G team and make a difference pop into the SU to join or visit to find out more details.



These roles involve a great deal of time management and organisation which not many other first years take on but I would recommend it because it gives you a start for a better life and so many opportunities.

Grace Doughton Shop Supervisor/Sales Advisor

What do you get up to? My role involves serving students in the SU shop, refilling stock and changing over new offers. My role has recently changed - I’ve become a supervisor meaning more responsibility on certain shifts. The extra duties involve cashing up the till, locking up the shop at the end of the day and documenting all returns. It’s all extra experience for my C.V and extra money to spend.


Best experience at YSJ I get to meet new people from different courses who I work with. I am involved in different areas of the SU as I have often worked in the coffee shop for extra shifts to help out. It’s flexible! No stress and no bother. If I have a problem or can’t make it in because of University work they understand.

YSJSU is an amazing place to work and oozes with opportunities for its students. There are many different roles from bar and catering staff to joining reception or security teams.

Best reasons to be a part of the SU You become more involved in your Students Union. You are surrounded by everyone at the University, you find out first what’s going on in the SU.

Working at your SU can provide you with extra skills, experience, money and lots of fun! To find out more or apply for current positions contact the Students Union by popping in when you arrive on campus.

It’s experience to put on your C.V and you get weekends off. Best of all you get free summer ball tickets as an employee!

How would you describe YSJ? Relaxed…chilled atmosphere. “Not as overwhelming” as other Universities I visited on open days.



Daniel Roche Events team member and SU bar employee What do you get up to? I am involved in the ideas and photography creation of the SU events. I have had a lot of engagement with the Saturday night live lounge events which have been a recent addition to the social nights at YSJ. My involvement with the SU takes another angle. I have created a photography group which forms mostly on their Facebook page where I upload and share links to improve student’s techniques. I also work part-time in the SU bar on weekends and evenings. Working in the bar is very sociable; you get to know lots of people, by building contacts you gain more opportunities.

Best experience at YSJ My best experience at YSJ has been creating opportunities for other students through my formation of the photography group and my involvement in the events team at the SU. I have matured considerably due to my involvement and it really does helps make you achieve what you want to in life. How would you describe YSJ? It a good place to make friends for life! Great opportunities! Everyone becomes like a family, we help out each other and in turn it helps you achieve things you always wanted to. Best reasons to be a part of the SU Working for the SU has great benefits; its great fun, you can make some extra money whilst at University and it’s something extra to add to your C.V. For the next three years of your degree, the SU is your home, it’s there for you. I like to think that if you want to achieve something, the help and support the SU provides will ensure you achieve it!


The Sabbaticals are three students who are elected in the annual elections in February each year by their fellow students. They are responsible for representing students to the University and making change on campus for everyone.

The Union is led by students just like you. If you think you’d like to say how the Union should run, get amazing experiences to put on your CV and get paid for it, then you should definitely consider running to become a Sabbatical Officer!

How to apply: If you think this sounds like your kind of thing, come and talk to a current Sabbatical and look out for the elections campaign when nominations open!



YSJSU Involvement Guide  

This handbook shows you the many different things we have available to help you have the best possible time from your time at York St John,...