With the constant media frenzy over the Coronavirus, it isn’t straightforward to believe how quickly the Student Association elections have once again crept up. In other words, the time has come to be offered various baked goods by a long line of campaigners while merely trying to reach the library. This election period is defined by having every second friend of yours on Facebook put a cover over their profile to show their support for what seems like hundreds of candidates. With close to 70 positions needing to be filled, and after tireless campaigning, we, the students, have decided upon who we feel best represents us.
The University of St Andrews Student’s Association has continued its vibrant history of student democracy, which in previous years has been the only Student union to exceed a turnout of over 50%. That makes our student elections most representative of its student, and why shouldn’t it? This is an opportunity for our voices to be heard, and for our opinions to matter. This is our Students association, which can change and improve our student experience. This association is what we make of it. On Friday the 6th at 6 pm, the vote closed, and we elected who we feel would do their respective roles best for us.
Firstly, let’s look at the six sabbatical positions, which are full time paid roles and at the forefront of these is the Association president. For association president, we have elected Dan Marshall. In his campaign, he promises to help tackle the current housing crisis, promises to provide a red gown rental scheme, automatic voter registration, protecting our rights at work as well as overall empowering the voices of the students. We have elected him based on these promises and can look forward to seeing these promises becoming action in the forthcoming year.
Additionally, our elected director of events and services is Tom Groves, who has released a manifesto of 143 things he aims to change. Our elected director of education is Elizabeth Gallacher, who will be responsible for all matters concerning education, seeks to improve the student learning experience and ensure the well being of our students. Our Director of Student Development and Activities is Gavin Sandford, who promises to deliver better accessibility and continuing collaborations. For the director of the wellbeing, Emma Rose Walsh pledges to support all students with improving elements of student life such as exam referrals, further advancing the ‘ask for Angela’ campaign, and further support for international students. The final sabbatical position of Athletics union president goes to Sophie Tyler, who strives towards greater collaboration with the union as well as club development.
Our association officers now include Morgan Morris as an association chair, Luke Simboldi as Alumni Officer, Anna Maria Young as a community relations officer, Lea Weinmann as an Environment officer, and Georgina Beeby as LGBT+ officer. As association officers in the upcoming year, they will have the responsibility of sitting on both the Student representation and students’ services councils and are prominent figures in providing help and advice to the student body. This is similar to the student services council with crucial positions such as postgrad and charity officers along with school presidents.
With such a high number of positions, it becomes difficult to distinguish whose role does what and which manifesto best fits. Admittedly in my first year, I had very little care over who as elected because I hadn’t noticed any change necessarily come from them. However, over the past year, I have increasingly seen how these positions continue changing our university for the better.