To learn about the opposition, check out Lewis Wood’s article.
This university is 604 years old this year – that means that the St Andrews’ housing problem is also 604 years old. Every simple solution to this problem has been tried and every simple solution has failed. It is not enough to oppose the HMO ban, we need radical change if we are to provide a long-term solution to our accommodation problem. That’s why I’m proposing forming a student-led housing co-operative.
A student-led housing co-operative will not change the day-to-day administration of properties – these will still be administered via a factor agreement between the co-operative and the Residential Business Services. What will change is that the co-operative’s board will be made up of student tenants. These board members will be elected by tenants of the co-operative and will be solely responsible for the strategic direction of the co-operative. This means negotiating with Residential Business Services about management prices and the services they provide as well as deciding on any rent increases.
Ideally, all University Accommodation would be transferred to and steered by the co-operative. I do however accept that negotiation will be necessary in this endeavour. I propose the transfer of one hall of residence which would be steered by the co-operative with the day-to-day work being administered by Residential Business Services. This would act as a proof of concept that such an agreement is in the interests of both students and the university.
Student-led housing co-operatives have been effective in many places – from North America to Edinburgh. I want to replicate that success.
My radical ideas don’t end there. I propose that the Enterprise and Employability Adviser in the Careers Centre becomes an in-house entrepreneur. The purpose of the in-house entrepreneur will be to nurture and inspire entrepreneurialism in students whilst at university, hopefully generating income for the student. The in-house entrepreneur team will take a hands-on approach to assist the student in starting their own business. This in-house entrepreneur team will also work closely with the St Andrews Angel Network to provide capital and mentorship for University spin-outs. These spin-outs would provide a valuable source of income for the university, allowing for the university to provide a better learning experience for us all. I have many more innovative policies which I implore you to read about in my manifesto online.
The President also plays an external role in putting forward the University’s interests. I have said that I will use the role of president to oppose the worrying rise in right-wing populism which I believe threatens the experience of students before they come to St Andrews, whilst in St Andrews, and after leaving St Andrews. Only I have the experience and the relationships needed to amplify the student voice on this issue.
During my time in St Andrews, I have been heavily involved in national politics. I’ve stood for election to Westminster, Holyrood and Fife House, and I will be contesting this year’s local government elections. During these experiences, I have developed relationships with influential people both within and outwith my party. I have also demonstrated my ability to deal tactfully with external issues and manage the media in such a way that amplifies my voice. I believe that these transferable skills enable me to amplify the voice of the student body to affect external change which will benefit us.
Finally, I am the external candidate in this election. During my time at St Andrews, I have viewed the Union Clique from afar. Now I am the candidate with the ideas that can make the Students’ Association an inclusive and open environment which optimises the student experience here