Interview: Duncan Downie, candidate for Association President

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The Association President, along with the Director of Representation, is responsible for representing student interests to the University and external organisations, including the government. They are helped by the Students’ Representative Council in their activities, and they in turn control the SRC’s discretionary fund.

Duncan Downie (1)

Read Duncan’s manifesto.

What prior experience do you have that makes you suited to this role?

I’m currently Senior Student of Albany Park and was Deputy Senior Student before that. This has involved liaising with the University a lot and managing other students. I’ve been trying to make life in Albany as good as it can be.

If you were elected, what would be your aims while in office?

My main aims centre around accommodation. Affordability is the main long-term goal but first and foremost we need more beds. It’s really horrible that people have to live outside St Andrews. My priority would be to build new accommodation. I also want to involve students in everything and make sure they have the resources to know what’s happening in the Union so that I can make decisions based on what the student population believes.

Why should people vote for you?

I believe I have the experience that leads directly on to this. I will work hard to achieve my goals. I’m very passionate about making St Andrews the best it can be.

Freddie seems very proud of the £48,000 in accommodation bursaries he has achieved. What kind of figure are you hoping to get and do you have evidence that the University has the money for this?

Even if I can’t secure an increase, I will make sure that the University sticks to its promise of £48,000. During my time as Senior Student of Albany Park, the University has let me down in terms of promising bursaries. I also want to promote the accommodation bursaries  more. This year there weren’t enough applications for the number of bursaries available because people just didn’t know they could apply.

Why have open surgeries?

A surgery outside of my office just makes me more approachable. People would probably be more comfortable speaking to me in the Union bar or in halls. However, I would also be willing to answer concerns at any time. I’d like to make the SRC minutes available to students in the President’s weekly emails. I’d like to make students more aware of what is happening within the University administration.

How are you going to improve how private sector accommodation is made available?

I’ve spoken to the creator of Bubble Browse. I think the website is a great initiative and I understand that Freddie has supported it this year. I would increase support and publicity for the site.

How are you going to make University accommodation, and life in town as a whole, more affordable?

Currently we’ve got this huge disparity between the cheap halls and the more expensive ones. I would like to try and reduce this disparity to a certain extent. If it means more people could afford the more expensive halls it’s an option I would look into.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yztbJZc8fHg

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