The Students’ Association has failed us. It’s interesting that it’s called the Students’ Association. Might that be because we are ourselves that institution?
Constantly and consistently our ideas are asked for and implemented well. A lot of events get put on that I don’t attend because I think they are lame, or I wouldn’t enjoy them and wish something else were happening instead.
This only occurs because I haven’t personally suggested anything to the Sabbs regarding what I want. I do, however, enjoy many of the events and the organisations that have come into being over the past years. A lot of people complain and try to start their own offshoots of established groups just so they can have minute and selfish control instead of working within the bigger picture of the university. They reject the union, they reject the Sabbs, and they often reject many of the students that are here, labelling them and putting them into cages.
If we were the University of Illinois, or even Edinburgh, I could see a case for devolution, but we have an average class size of six or so students. Each one of them doesn’t need to split up the amount of fun by creating their own DJ “company”, or Open Mic night. It just pulls resources and numbers from the same events that are put on at the Students’ Union, or that are “officially” affiliated with the University.
From the common sense of an eight year-old, “Lets work together so that things can be bigger better and cooler!” (more booze, more flashy lights, more people, bigger venues, bigger acts, performances and parties).
PARADIGM TIME: Why is there no media suite? At times throughout this year committee members of both subcommittees blatantly stated that STAR (our radio station) and MIL (our music promotions company) were working together with each other, over small events, and over laughably unimportant concepts like basic prestige. Of course great things have been accomplished this year, but by not working together we, the students (association) fail ourselves. It’s simple. Let’s change.
The Students’ Association has not failed us. In fact, it’s been a great year. And much of that is directly due to the contributions of the SA to our student experience at St Andrews.
First things first, let’s figure out what a “student experience” is. There is no one guaranteed experience for every student at this school. Because of the lack of a centralised campus, and the absence of a dedicated principal to address the school regularly, no two students can be said to share the same exact experience by attending this university.
But the Students’ Association fills these gaps admirably, trying time and time again to ensure that there is something holding us all together. While the Union building admittedly needs some work, it provides the cheapest drinks in town, and functions as a centre for the university’s administrative facilities. It’s the closest we have to a university building that everyone can share, non-academically. The SA actively works to preserve this unique responsibility.
Events sponsored by the SA also guarantee that our university has a link between students and teachers. The Teaching Awards are a solid example of just this kind of link. By giving students a democratic method for rewarding the hardest-working and most talented professors and lecturers, the SA has succeeded in treating all members of St Andrews, whether they work or study here, as equal members of the same community.
The SA also works as a hub for the hundreds of student societies. By funding societies appropriately, and providing a location for them to meet and advertise, the SA directly contributes to the extra-curricular activities of the students of this school. No one else, save the Sports Centre, can boast such wide aims.
The Union and the SA are not perfect. They could be doing a better job, and we deserve better facilities. But no one else occupies the unique role that the SA holds for this school. They promise a unified university.
Even if they don’t always deliver that experience, they’re still the only ones who are promising it.