GSA President Blog – Term 1 Review

Hello everyone!

Before all of us go to a well-deserved break, I would like to share with you what I have been up to since coming into office in September. It has been both amazing and challenging to adjust to my new role and I apologise for not being around much. Here is my new year’s resolution, I will be doing weekly meet-ups over coffee/tea. I will advertise these through social media and our website so that we can have a break, get together and discuss how we can improve postgraduate experience at the University of York. These meetings would be a great opportunity to discuss your emerging concerns and how we can resolve them.

Following an intensive training period, we jumped right into the welcome week which was the highlight of this term to welcome new postgraduate students into our ever-growing community. Then I attended a ton of committees daily, no kidding, and raised issues the postgraduate students experience. That’s probably why you see me running on campus all the time..

As you may already know, accommodation issues were a big part of my manifesto in last May when I was campaigning for this role. Considering that more than %50 percent of PG students live off-campus, I diverted my energy to tackle the problems you have in private-rental sector. There are two dimensions that I wanted to focus: rent guarantor scheme and a landlord accreditation scheme. We have a Rent Guarantee Scheme in place at the University which was initiated by one of my predecessors at the GSA. Yet in its current version it unfairly excludes first year students to apply. I am trying to expand this to all students so that you can rent a decent place in peace. There has been really positive developments in this and I am hoping that we will have an inclusive version of this in the near future. That means Postgraduate Taught students and first year PhDs will no longer be excluded from this scheme, yay! For the landlord accreditation scheme, I am working on to resurrect what was discontinued by the City of York Council. If I could make this happen, it means that we will have a list of landlords who are trusted and engage in good practice as well as a good number of properties which are regularly inspected for their habitability and health and safety conditions. In order to make these happen, I have done a lot of research over the past few months on what other universities are doing and what we can do at the University. I have been in contact with senior management as well as colleagues from Student Support Hub and Estates.

Before I end my blog, I would like to wish a safe journey to those who are going home over the holiday. Those of you who will be in York, do not worry, I will be around too. We might meet for a coffee if you are interested 🙂 Did you know we will still have events over the holiday to cheer you up? Please check them out here, in our environmentally-friendly events catalogue.

Happy Holidays! Look forward to seeing you all around in our Christmas Vacation events and in the Spring Term.

16th December 2019