After an action packed Freshers’ Week, The Saint’s Jonathan Bucks sits down with Jules Findlay to discuss the Union redevelopment, the NUS and drinks prices.

Jonathan Bucks: How did Freshers’ Week go?

Jules Findlay: It was very tiring and stressful but was nice to see so many people enjoying themselves. I’ve enjoyed seeing all the work I’ve put in come together and it’s brilliant to see all the great reviews of the events. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the Union so full every night and it’s good to know that you’re in some small way responsible for that. My favourite moment was when Rudimental played his last song, Feel the Love. There was a really good crowd in that night.

JB: What’s the next big event you’ve got lined up?

JF: There are quite a few things in the pipeline. There will be some more big names in St Andrews, maybe a recent Mercury prize nominee. Josie Long’s coming up as well next month so there will be some comedy acts once or twice a month in Venue 1. People have hopefully noticed as well that we’re really trying to improve the music, especially the variety. So we’ve got acts like Kissy Sell Out playing alongside Tinchy Stryder, for example.

JB: How’s the sabbatical team getting along?

JF: It’s been great. We all seem to think along the same lines and sometimes second guess each other on decisions. Obviously the big thing coming up will be the NUS referendum and we’ve got similar points of view. I want to see us take a back seat and let the students decide this one because last year there were some issues with different sabbs getting involved and we just want to make sure that it’s the students’ decision. Financially, however, rejoining the NUS doesn’t make much sense I don’t think. Once we see the facts and figures though we’ll be able to form a more informed opinion.

JB: Do you think you could give us an idea of how the Union redevelopment will proceed?

JF: We do have planning permission but that’s just the start of the process. The plans now have to go through the St Andrews University planning committee and then the University Court. Once those bodies have agreed to the plans, work is scheduled to begin in February/March 2013. There will be some disruption because we’re planning to put in place a new glass front and a coffee shop where BESS is. So by the summer, there will be a very noticeable difference to the building.

JB: What would you say to locals who have complained about the plans?

JF: It’s a minority of locals but we all live in the town and we’ve been very careful to talk to people who have had an issue with the glass and explain to them. I think it’s about making locals feel involved in the process and let them know what’s happening. With a building of that size right in the middle of town, the fact that there aren’t more complaints is great.

JB: One of your campaign pledges was to keep drink prices reasonable. Can you explain why many prices have gone up?

JF: Although prices have gone up for Freshers’ Week, they will be coming back down. The Union has to be self-sustaining and we wanted to capitalise on Freshers’ Week. Of course, all the money made is pumped back into the Union and is the reason we’re able to put on great events. The other thing we’ll be doing is cheap drinks nights on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. And we’ll be bringing back pound nights as well, so plenty to look forward to in the coming year.

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