The Athletic Union (AU) at the University of St Andrews plays a vital role in the lives of many students. It provides support for the University’s many sports clubs, from the powerful and well-known (Golf, Rugby) to the smaller or more unusual (Archery, Korfball).
It also runs countless leagues and tournaments such as the evening six-aside football which is a favourite among both students and locals.
The Sports Centre itself (where the AU is based) has sport-specific places such as squash courts, as well as a large sports hall which provides facilities for a climbing wall, cricket nets, basketball courts, among much else.
There are three (recently renovated and improved) gyms run by the AU and these, as well as the 40 acres of grass playing fields, are part of the reason that teams such as Barcelona FC and the Scotland international rugby team have trained here.
However, the AU is not just geared towards those who are already regular or experienced sportsmen and women. It is behind plenty of beginners classes and lessons as well.
And if you are not into sport on such a competitive level then it is easy to book and use spaces in the Sports Centre without being a member of a sport’s club. There are also classes such as Zumba run there for those keen for fun fitness work.
The people who do the actual running of the AU are largely students (with a couple of permanent staff as well) which ensures the centre is kept firmly in touch with the student body and its needs – it is that student body which elects them after all.
Although the staff on the front desk can take some getting used to, people at the AU are always willing to listen and help. If you have any sports related concerns or are looking for any advice, the AU is the place to go.
This is key during a time of life that most people will never get the opportunity to repeat. Although working towards your degree will doubtless take up most of your time here, everyone needs some down-time, some way to relax. For many, this will be some form of exercise.
Rarely in future life will any of us have us have quite as much time to experiment with new sports or indulge in quite as much social exercise as we will during these four/five years.
To help and facilitate the student body with this the AU runs events, supports clubs and provides well-appointed spaces in which to practice the sport or exercise of your choice.
The AU offers many opportunities to the students and you should take advantage of as many of them as you can. Get in touch, get involved and get playing.