York is U adopts new strategy for this year’s events calendar

As Donald Trump often says, “go big or go home”. Well, the folk at York is U certainly aren’t going home, so get ready for a year of bigger and better events from the award-winning student alumni association.

Coinciding with a move by the executive to the Student Services Building (the student office remains in Rm. 326 in the Student Centre) and a reorganization that put them under the umbrella of York’s Centre for Student Community & Leadership Development, York is U has streamlined its events calendar and expanded some of the group’s signature activities such as Environmental Awareness Week and York’s birthday celebrations.

Left: Environmental Awareness Week 2005 

“We’ve reallocated both our human and financial resources to create fewer but better events,” said Jeremy Greenberg, York is U coordinator. “We want to serve the community better and reduce volunteer fatigue.”

In the past, York is U took on as many as 30 events a year in an effort to serve as many community needs as possible, Greenberg explained. Now, it will concentrate on eight major events, allowing student volunteers to spend more time organizing them. The move has also allowed the elected-executive members to reduce the number of hours they work per week during the school year and take on full-time summer jobs. Teams organizing each event will be bigger with more detailed position descriptions for staff and volunteers.

“We were battling fatigue and the directors all agreed they wanted to try and make eight events bigger and better,” Greenberg said. “The events we are focusing on are the ones that are most beneficial to York is U, our students and partners.”

                Right: Multicultural Week parade 2004

“We have come a long way since the inception of York is U,” said Chair Yumi Hotta. “The executive team feel excited and confident that these new changes will take us one step further. We believe this year will be a brand new start in bringing a sense of joy, belonging and fun to York University and its students.”

The York is U calendar will still feature the group’s most popular events such as Multicultural Week, Movie Nights, the Stress Buster Carnival and York’s Birthday. In place of several arbour days and other environmental awareness events throughout the year, there will now be one Mega Environmental Awareness Week pulling together activities such as Clean-Up Day, tree plantings and the reusable coffee mug program. The event, which takes place Oct. 16-19, will also now feature interactive displays and contests.

The success of the annual York is U cricket competition has been recognized by its expansion to a week-long tournament, Sept. 18-22. The tournament has grown in popularity since it was first held in 2003. It will be played on a new cricket pitch being setup in the sports fields south of Pond Road.

Left: Halloween Bash 2005

The annual Terry Fox Run (Sept. 17) and Halloween Bash (Oct. 31) will also benefit from more detailed advance planning and the additional funding saved from holding fewer events.

A number of events that York is U either organized or assisted with in the past, will be taken over by other partner organizations from the York community. The Frosh Frenzie Carnival will be organized by Sport York, GradFest will be mounted by York’s Office of Ceremonials and the York Idol competition will be held by the York Student Centre. The York is U Charity Drive will be organized by the York Federation of Students.

In addition to events, York is U holds leadership retreats and recognition ceremonies for its volunteers. The York is U ambassadors program also provides speakers for community events and student representatives to appear at some York special occasions such as donor and alumni events.

York is U will maintain a connection to York’s Alumni Office, said James Allan, director. “We still work together on events like this summer’s Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences. We include York is U executive members on the Bryden Awards selection committee and we will continue to work together in the future.” Plans are already underway for a York is U alumni chapter, said Greenberg.

For more information on events and becoming a York is U member, visit the York is U Web site.