Student elections are right around the corner here in St Andrews, and a lot of positions are up for grabs. Below, current Union officers from the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) give some insight into their posts.
- Association Chair
- Association Community Relations Officer
- Association Environment & Ethics Officer
- Association LGBT Officer
- SRC Accommodation Officer
- SRC Member for University Accommodation
- SRC Member for Private Accommodation
- SRC Education Officer
- SRC Equal Opportunities & Welfare Officer
- SRC Member for Disabilities
- SRC Member for Ethnic Minorities
- SRC Member for External Campaigns
- SRC Member for First Years
- SRC Member for Gender Equality
- SRC Member for International Students
- SRC Member for Widening Access
- Arts / Divinity Senate Rep.
- Science / Medicine Senate Rep.
Current Position Holder: Emmanuel Michelakakis
Position Description: This role entails facilitating the weekly meetings of both the SRC and SSC (Student services committee) members. These meetings aim to guide members through their term in office, and to encourage healthy debate and discussion among the positions. The Chair remains completely impartial during this process and is part of the Students’ Association Board, which is the main governing body of the Association, and which makes decisions from financial strategy to redevelopment.
ASSOCIATION COMMUNITY RELATIONS OFFICER
Current Position Holder: Ali West
Position Description: The role of this officer is to mark the bridge between ‘Town’ and ‘Gown’. This is achieved by attending several community groups and representing the students’ views. In this role there are a huge variety of campaigns you can get involved with – previous years have seen campaigns on bike lights, noise pollution late at night, and changes to HMO licenses affecting students in private flats. This job also involves collaborating with student groups such as STAR, Mermaids, Charities and Student Volunteering Service.
ASSOCIATION ENVIRONMENT & ETHICS OFFICER
Current Position Holder: Nate Elias-Ruby
Position Description: The E&E team meets every fortnight, with report updates being given to the SSC and SRC on a weekly basis. The responsibility within the role is to ensure that the University remains sustainable and ethical in both current practices and in new ventures.
ASSOCIATION LGBT OFFICER
Current Position Holder: Lea Duchemin
Position Description: This position merges the role of LGBT President and SRC Member for Sexualities. My role has therefore a representational side that has been added to the running of a very large subcommittee.
Favorite Part of Position: What I enjoy most is seeing that students – who identified as LGBT or not – attend our weekly events, are having fun, and are willing to get involved.
Advice to Potential Candidates: Make sure you can commit to this role fully as it is very time consuming! Spending 15-20 hours a week on it is necessary.
SRC ACCOMMODATION OFFICER
Current Position Holder: Dougal Adamson
Position Description: It is as far reaching and as wide as you want to make it. There are ‘must do’s’ such as producing a ‘How to Rent Guide’ – which this year we turned into a video – and attending certain meetings but it’s really up to you in terms of what you take on. We worked on a number of different projects this year, but there’s also a lot we didn’t get the chance to start.
Favorite Part of Position: Working with the rest of the Accommodation Team. I primarily work with Mimi Taylor (University Managed Accommodation) and Cassi Roberts (Private Accommodation), and throughout the year I’ve been impressed by their commitment and drive to really see things through. I feel like we’ve gelled nicely and am proud of what we have achieved together. I also work with the Association President, Freddie Fforde, and the Association’s Accommodation Advocate, Eleanor Feltham, who have been very supportive and forthcoming with timely advice.
Advice to Potential Candidates: You need to have enthusiasm – you should feel like you really want to make a difference. Too often the SRC comes across as a load of CV-hunting Westminister wannabes, so while I would wholly encourage anyone to run for the position, I’d love to see next year’s SRC full of active and determined individuals who are doing it for the right reasons – because if people put the work in, they can have an impact.
SRC MEMBER FOR UNIVERSITY ACCOMMODATION
Current Position Holder: Mimi Taylor
Position Description: Working closely with halls of residences and other services which manage University buildings, this officer organises monthly Senior Student forums which aim to bring to light any issues and concerns held by students.
Favourite Part of the Position: One of the great things about my role was organising the senior student forums once a month, giving students the opportunity to talk and discuss issues with members of RBS (Residential & Business Services) directly.
Advice to Potential Candidates: For those wanting to run for this position, it is important to be a good team player – you will be working alongside the University Accommodation and Private Accommodation reps.
SRC MEMBER FOR PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION
Current Position Holder: Cassi Roberts
Position Description: This student works closely with local landlords and estate agents to best aid the student body with all things private accommodation-based. The ‘How to rent guide’ is there to be updated and advertised, and you will work closely with part-time member of staff, Eleanor (Feltham).
SRC EDUCATION OFFICER
Current Position Holder: Daniel Franklin (Library and Learning Representative)
Position Description: The holder of this position will take over the responsibilities of the Library and Learning Representative, in addition to working with the DoRep, SRC and School Presidents on important academic issues and activities such as Class Rep elections. They will be involved in getting the Library into the shape students want (more books or longer opening hours for departmental libraries), while sitting on the student library user group (SLUG).
SRC EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES & WELFARE OFFICER
Current Position Holder: Simon Bartram
Position Description: Being Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer means that you have to take a lead in setting the vision for the year’s awareness campaigns. In addition, you help to fundraise for charities, you plan events and advertise them through posters and social media, and you work closely with Student Services and student-run groups such as Mental Wealth. You also support other members on the SRC with their projects.
Favorite Part of Position: I’m glad that I was able to introduce an online booking system for Student Services, raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust and help put on the Rainbow Bop during Week 4 last semester, among so many other things. It’s a most rewarding role!
Advice to Potential Candidates: This position requires somebody who’s organised, but more importantly somebody who is driven to make a difference.
SRC MEMBER FOR DISABILITIES
Current Position Holder: Jefferry C. H. Wong
Position Description: The most important, and also the most rewarding, aspect of my experience as the SRC member for students with disabilities is to act as a bridge between students, the Students’ Association, the University, and people from the outside – people you seek advice from, people who help you to make things happen, and also employers who offer opportunities for students with disabilities.
Advice to Potential Candidates: Apart from being a representative, which obviously is the most important aspect of the job, I would advise candidates to think about ways to improve the student experience of students with disabilities – to ensure students with disabilities can be fully involved in activities, student societies, and of course, the Students’ Association.
SRC MEMBER FOR ETHNIC MINORITIES
Current Position Holder: Habik Mohamud Yusuf
Position Description: I represent students from all ethnic minority groups at the SRC. It is my responsibility to give these students a voice and to work with the University to ensure St Andrews welcomes all of its students equally. I have had the pleasure of working with students from 92 different countries.
Favourite Part of Position: Meeting so many different individuals, and this position is rewarding on so many levels.
Advice to Potential Candidates: I encourage future candidates to consider this position as it allows you to play around with our incredible diversity and meet students from every corner of the world.
SRC MEMBER FOR EXTERNAL CAMPAIGNS
Current Position Holder: Tilly Rossetti
Position Description: This officer helps tackle larger student issues such as university funding, graduate endowment fees, tuition fees, loans, grants and international visas. Working with NUS Scotland and the Scottish Rectors’ Group alongside the Association President and DoRep, this officer helps in the running campaigns on a large scale.
Advice to Potential Candidates: It’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone with an interest in politics. Those with knowledge of Scottish politics at Holyrood would be particularly suitable, but we’d happily train anyone in the information they need to know.
SRC MEMBER FOR FIRST YEARS
Current Position Holder: Ben Anderson
Position Description: The SRC Member for First Years is a role that is about helping students make the step-up to university life. This means being prepared to help anyone with any question they might have, no matter how obvious it might seem to someone who’s been here for a while. For me, in my attempt to introduce myself and get to know as many people as possible, it also involved going to a lot of barbecues. You need to make yourself as accessible as possible.
Favorite Part of Position: If there is anything that you felt was missing from your first year, it’s a great chance to try and do something about it.
Advice to Potential Candidates: The ideal candidate will be outgoing, personable, willing to help and keen to ensure that next year’s arrivals have as good a first year as they did.
SRC MEMBER FOR GENDER EQUALITY
Current Position Holder: Elena Georgalla
Position Description: It is extremely challenging, since it entails dealing with issues that are more often than not controversial, ambivalent and rather sensitive. My aim has been to shift focus from gender-based violence and rape awareness which has been central to the work of my predecessors in order to encourage a debate on other issues that have a fundamental gender coefficient. I introduced the first gender equality week last semester which included a series of workshops, lectures and other activities on the role of men in paving the road towards gender equality, women in the workplace, equality on campus, and more.
Favorite Part of Position: The biggest project I tried to implement was to run a University-wide survey to map the gravity of gender-based violence as well as attitudes towards it at St Andrews. The ultimate goal was to have sufficient evidence to lobby for a ‘zero-tolerance’ campus. However, this proved more burdensome than I originally anticipated, primarily with regards to the methodology and the targeted audience.
Advice to Potential Candidates: I would really encourage the new Gender Equality Officer to continue working with Student Support Services towards achieving this goal. Also, make sure you work close with other student groups that deal with issues of equal representation and gender equality.
SRC MEMBER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Current Position Holder: Renata Grasso
Position Description: I’ve looked to voice the concerns and interests of St Andrews’ international students, addressing such things as international tuition fees, and visa and immigration regulations.
Favorite Part of Position: I’ve enjoyed being able to engage with other members of the SRC and participate in decisions that may not necessarily pertain to my position, but which concern different and equally pertinent aspects of student representation.
Advice to Potential Candidates: Any candidate for this position should be eager to make international students at St Andrews feel welcome, and willing to work closely with other members of the SRC and the university in order to pursue the interests of St Andrews’ vast international student body.
SRC MEMBER FOR WIDENING ACCESS
Current Position Holder: Avalon Borg
Position Description: Working alongside the University on new initiatives to increase uptake of students from a wide range of backgrounds. Issues like affordable accommodation and outreach schools in the local area will be on the agenda.
ARTS/DIVINITY SENATE REP.
Current Position Holder: Ben Shaps
Position Description: The role of Arts and Divinity Senate Representative entails representing the views and concerns of over half the student body through regular liaison with Student School Presidents and the Director of Representation.
Favorite Part of Position: I most enjoyed the opportunity as a Senate Rep to attend the meetings of the Academic Senate – the highest academic body of the University.
Advice to Potential Candidates: I would highly recommend this position to future candidates who want to feel more involved in the running of the University.
SCIENCE/MEDICINE SENATE REP.
Current Position Holder: Daniel Firth
Position Description: As Science/Medicine Academic Senate Representative I have been representing said students during the Academic Senate meetings, which are held about twice a week, and I am also on the SRC. I have integrated the role into the School Presidents system, attending meetings with them so as to be able to represent the views of the students in the Senate.
Favourite Part of the Position: I’ve most enjoyed the challenge of representing the students’ views within the University decision-making process.
Advice to Potential Candidates: My advice for future candidates is to keep on top of things and to not be afraid to speak up when expressing what you believe to be the views of the students.