By Kirsty Matthews
The St Andrean lecture series is a new initiative this year organised by Director of Representation Siena Parker, to provide Freshers with more academic events. The idea is to give Freshers a taste of what is on offer at St Andrews. The first lecture on Tuesday evening discussed the evolution of student politics and what the student voice has achieved.
Chris Hill, a PhD student in Modern History began the lecture by explaining to the audience the beginnings of the student voice in the 1960’s. Student protesters were either described as “spoiled brats” or “genuinely motivated students who were not given a fair share in decision making.” However they were perceived, this new student voice became a major part of the 60’s youth culture and has had a huge impact on student life today.
Rector Kevin Dunion O.B.E, continued the lecture by describing his active role in student politics during his time at University in the late 70’s and early 80’s. For him “being a student was being part of a radical agenda” and the protests and campaigns were an integral and important part of University life. He spoke of his own comical experiences of protesting – clapping endlessly in a mockery of protest, and the great achievements that student politics have had. These include the creation of Nightline, improvements in women’s rights and the emphasis on the importance of green energy and Fairtrade.
Director of Representation Siena Parker commented that the lecture had made her feel “privileged by the positions” that her and the other Students Association members hold.
The second lecture on Wednesday evening was a high energy account of Physics lecturer Dr Chris Hooley’s experiences at University. He colourfully described the college feuds he was involved in at Oxford, complete with a full rendition of the song they cried over the wall to neighbouring Trinity. Hooley also highlighted how privileged students are to be involved in academic institutions with all the knowledge they contain.
A performance of The Gaudeamus, translated into English, followed. International Relations student Peter Klicker joked “Any lecturer that can sing eight versus like that is a good one!”