It’s a great time to be a pessimist. Brexit deadlines march on apace, the hot weather last week was a sore reminder that we’re not doing as well as we could on climate change, and Game of Thrones doesn’t even start till we all return to university. Why be cheerful when the world appears to insist on being unfair? Thankfully, in my first edition as Deputy Editor (which went fine, thanks for asking) I’ve found some stories that should go some way to restoring your faith in humanity... right before you dive headfirst into a mountain of exam preparation.
The first is the incredible story of Dave Smith of York’s Chemistry Department. Professor Smith’s husband, Sam, unfortunately passed away earlier this year from cystic fibrosis. Despite this, the memorial campaign has, so far, managed to raise thousands in aid of hospital wards that made the couple’s last days together as comfortable as possible. In a news cycle where we’re constantly told that the public are less willing to be nice to each other than ever before, it’s nice to see a community banding together to do something genuinely amazing.
It’s hard not to insert yourself into the stories you work on for a week, so bear with me. I’ve had my own genetic disease for years: it’s very likely that I’ll have a transplant, as Sam did, at some point in my future. This transplant will be hugely impactful on my university life, as I’m sure it was on Sam and Dave’s.
Researching the piece struck a chord with me in a way that I hadn’t expected: It was rather comforting to see the support Sam had, both from his family at the time, and from hundreds of supporters through the JustGiving page, some of whom had never met him. York does a better job than we give it credit for at supporting both students and lecturers at difficult times. It gives a good reason to be hopeful for the future, as we recruit five (four?) new SABBs in the YUSU elections.
Gabriel Stewart has also done something amazing and we covered him in this issue too. Before coming to the University, he set out to walk 1000 miles around the UK instead of taking a gap year like many of us normal, more boring folk. The memoir he wrote about the experience has sold over a hundred copies: no doubt another success story for a print industry in triumphant resurgence. This story is pretty inspirational too. It proves that doing something different can be worth the hassle. I swanned around for three months in Peru developed zero books from my time there.
I’m still a pessimist, don’t get me wrong. This sort of attitude takes time to build up, after all, but it’s always nice to be able to report on the positive aspects of the York community, and to celebrate people’s successes. Nouse is a highly diverse group of people that spend much of their time in disagreement, but we all pull together to support each other when production week looms. I hope you enjoy the final issue of the spring term!