To learn about the opposition, check out Lewis Campbell’s article.
When I came to St Andrews I knew nobody, and the sense of isolation was gut-wrenching. My roommate quickly found his place in a society, while I was gripped by self-doubt; perhaps I should’ve gone to UCL instead, perhaps I should’ve stayed closer to home.
The moment my experience changed is when I found Saints LGBT+. I had highlighted the event advertisement in the Freshers’ book, and spent my week looking forward to meeting, for the first time, people that were openly LGBT+. I left my room, semi-terrified that people would somehow sense my intentions, and bumped into AJ Brennan, now the fabulous director of Catwalk, and the first openly LGBT+ person that I’d ever met. It was like a wall dropped. I remember distinctly the ability to actually have a conversation that viscerally captured the sense of longing, and isolation that I had felt for so long.
Saints LGBT+ quickly became my home in this town, and at this University. Serving as its President has genuinely been one of the greatest pleasures of my life thus far, and it’s a year that has taught me so much. Everything that I do, and that I have done in the Association, is rooted in that transition from isolation and depression to confidence and happiness. The Association and its activities changed my life in the most direct way, which is why it’s so close to my heart.
I understand what some people may be thinking: why does this mean that I’ll be a good President? Well, there are many reasons, but the first that I’ll address is my commitment to accessibility. Without the outreach into halls that existed in my first year, I’d never have had the experience I did. A lot of people spend their entire University career outwith the Association, and that’s completely okay, but we should be making every effort to let the student body know that if they want to get involved, we want them to be a part of our activities and our community.
I’ll leave the technicalities for how I’ll achieve this to my manifesto, which you can find at my campaign’s Facebook page, but I want to pioneer closer relationships between the sabbatical team and halls of residence, making sure we’re bringing first years into the fold. I’ll also create question times and feedback forums as well as set office hours in the Association to make sure that you’re given every opportunity to engage with the sabbaticals. The President is your representative, and we need to give you every opportunity to make your views and opinions heard.
My manifesto promises are ambitious yet actionable, wide-reaching yet practical, and I’ve put a lot of thought into providing a strategy to handle important issues for the Association. Accommodation, transparency, widening access, and alumni relations are the cornerstones of my manifesto, and are what I will prioritise for the next year.
I think that what sets me apart in this race is my experience. For three years, I’ve been an executive at Saints LGBT+, I’ve sat on the Wellbeing, Equal Opportunities, Got Consent, and Community Relations Committees for a year, whilst also being an active voice on Student Councils. I’m a trustee of the Association, so I’ve already spent the last year thinking about how we can secure the long-term financial and strategic security of your union. My three years are nothing more than a symbol of my dedication to improving your student experience, and I truly believe that through the President’s role we can continue to change this town for the better.