We all know there are a lot of myths that go around about YUSU and the elections. So here are some answers...


"Sabbatical Officers get paid an annual wage"

Yes, this is true. At the moment, our five Full-Time Sabbatical Officers get paid an annual salary of £19,587.15. Alongside this, they are given 26 days of paid holidays, plus bank holidays and additional time off over Christmas. It’s a proper job!

Other perks include joining a fantastic staff team and loads of opportunities to train and develop their skills further.

If you are elected as a Full-time officer, you’ll become a trustee of YUSU, which has a multi-million pound turnover and represents over 20,000 students across campus.


"There’s no point, YUSU can never drive real change"

YUSU Officers work closely with University senior management and can influence change through formal committees, but also via campaigning with students and student groups. Here are some key recent example:

  • During the first lockdown, YUSU became one of the first Students’ Unions in the country to secure a commitment from the University to reimburse all of students’ rent from their term 3 accommodation - equating to roughly £8.5 million pounds in total.
  • Campaigned for and secured rent reductions on over 350 rooms on campus, which are now under £99 per week.
  • Secured funding from the University to introduce Activities Access Grants, enabling students from less represented backgrounds to access YUSU’s plethora of societies, clubs and media groups


"Student activism and student unions are more important than ever!"

With the Government failing to deliver satisfactorily for students during the Covid pandemic and Universities struggling to deliver the quality and experiences students expect, the role of students and their unions in fighting for their rights has never been more pressing. More broadly, students are also at the forefront of local and global movements relating to the climate emergency and racial injustice.


"YUSU is actually run by the staff and CEO "

While this is true for the day to day running of YUSU, the political direction and main activity of the Union is guided by our elected officers, who are Trustees of the organisation, and the student body.

As in other member-led charities, our CEO makes decisions and manages the resources and operations of the organisation. However, YUSU staff are ultimately here to support you, our members, to participate in the activities, campaigns and decisions most important to you.


"YUSU doesn’t do anything for students! "

Everything we do is for students. As a charity, our primary purposes are to represent student’s interests to the University, improve your education at York and empower you to make positive social change. We also play a crucial role in your development outside of your degree, by providing opportunities such as sports clubs and societies, volunteering projects and RAG, which this year have included a fantastic online offering. Then of course, there are the huge events that we host throughout the year when we are able to - like Freshers’ Week and the Summer Ball! Check out our impact report from last year to find out more.


"No-one cares about the YUSU elections"

YUSU elections have consistently seen a high level of engagement from students. In recent years, our voter turnout has been above 30%, and we are consistently amongst the top SU’s for turnout.

But it's not all just about votes - we’re constantly striving to encourage more students to nominate themselves for positions too.


"I don’t have enough experience to stand!"

You don’t need to have experience - just passion. Our staff will help you throughout your campaign, providing training on digital campaigning, as well as manifesto development. If elected, you will continue to receive support and training from YUSU staff and you will become part of a team of student officers that works collectively and supports each other.

Read some of our officer interviews to find out about their experiences.


"The Sabbatical Officer team tends to always be white."

Numerous studies show that teams of people with a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures dramatically improve the creativity, innovation and success of organisations.

Unfortunately, there has been a historic lack of diversity in the students putting themselves forward for YUSU positions. Until 2019, we hadn’t had a BAME Sabbatical Officer in nearly ten years, and it's been over a decade since we had a BAME President.

We actively encourage students from under represented groups to run for these positions, but we need your help in doing so. Recommend someone here and we will get in contact with them.