David Willey

David Willey

BSc Geography 2005

Students’ Union President 2005/06

The Students’ Union is here for you, to enhance your experience at the University. Get involved and take an active part in changing things for the better!

This was part of the welcome message from David Willey included in the Students’ Union Handbook 2005/06.

The 31-year-old said: “Being elected President of the USSU was a very proud moment for me, and the whole year was a fantastic experience.

“It was an honour to represent the interests of the student body to the University’s Board of Governors and Executive Team, and I gained some fantastic experience and skills that have certainly helped me in my career to date.

“I was very lucky to have a brilliant Exec to work with, as we all got on so well and achieved a lot in the year.

“My Exec included: Lindsay McLeod (Vice President), Michelle McAvoy (Education and Welfare Officer), Dan Kastelik (Sport & Rec Officer), Surita Mall (International & Multicultural Officer), Katie Stephenson (Student Rep Officer) and Andrew Ingleby (LGBT Officer).

“As an Exec we also received great support from the General Manager, Joe Williams, and Sue Masters, together with the rest of the full-time staff.”

One of the things that David did during his year as a President was to promote the need for investment in the Priestman Building.

He said: “I studied Geography in the Priestman Building in the City Campus, which still had chalk boards when I arrived as an undergraduate in 2002!

“At the start of my Presidency I brought to the attention of the University’s Executive Team the fact that the building was in desperate need of investment in order to bring it up to par with the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s. That year, the Priestman Building experienced major refurbishment.

“I would like to think I also strengthened the relationship between the Students’ Union and the University’s Board of Governors, particularly when I was working closely with the Executive Team on the new Student Gateway which opened soon after my term had ended in 2006.”

During his tenure as a President, David always put the students’ interest first, even when the circumstances were complicated.  

“My most challenging time as President was during the Association of University Teachers and the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education strikes. While we understood the lecturers’ grievances over pay, as the Students’ Union Exec, we had to make the decision to put the students’ interests first, and not support the decision for strike action,” David said.  “This caused a mix reaction from the student body – some students were very angry with us and thought we had sided with the University’s Executive Team, while other students were glad that we were taking a pragmatic approach, particularly final year students who were worried they would not get their marks.”

On a lighter note, the students’ social life during those years revolved around the Bonded Warehouse, Wearmouth Bar and especially Manor Quay.

Theme nights at Manor Quay were not to be missed and School Disco, Emergency 999 night and Halloween proved popular among the students.

A normal party week in 2005 looked like this: Tuesdays were Fraggle Rock with only rock music all night. Wednesdays were ‘Now that’s what I call 80s and 90s nights’. At the end of the week it was ‘Friday Night Fresh’, and on Saturdays Cream of the Crop offered indie and funk in room 1, and disco and hip hop in room 2.

David said: “There was never a typical night out as during my time in Sunderland we were lucky enough to have new bars and night clubs popping up and opening nearly every week.

“However, the night would usually start off in the Wearmouth Bar (at the foot of the now demolished Wearmouth Hall) and end in the famous Manor Quay – especially on a Wednesday night.

“Other nights we would sample what the city centre had to offer, including a very reasonably priced bar called Innfusion (served trebles and a mixer for only £3!), and ending in Pzazz.

“Bonded Warehouse was always a great night out too, and from there we would hop onto the excellent USSU turquoise Leyland mini buses to Manor Quay to finish off the evening.”

After graduating in 2005, David moved to London to work for MotorSport Vision (MSV) as a Competition Secretary. Since then, he has worked his way up the ranks and is now MotorSport Events Manager.

The Sunderland graduate said: “I am responsible for organising the race event calendars for Brands Hatch (where my office is based), Oulton Park, Snetterton, and Cadwell Park racing circuits.

“I am also the Club Secretary for the racing division of MSV Racing where I oversee the race calendars for over 20 of our car race series and championships, together with the organisation of over 35 race events in 2015.

“These events take place at circuits such as Silverstone, Donington Park and Rockingham, as well as the four MSV venues.”

Click here to view the Students' Handbook 2005/06

Students Handbook 05 06

David Willey

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