Nathan Elias-Ruby is a man on a mission – not only does he hope to become Association President but he wants to change the culture of student elections while he does it. He promises not to endlessly spam during his campaign and hopes students will vote on issues, not who can shove the most flyers at you as you leave the library.
Nathan thinks that while Freddie has done a good job this year of restoring friendly relations between the Union and University, he could have done more to communicate that process to students. He is hoping to strike a middle ground between the championing of students’ rights under Patrick O’Hare and the fact that maintaining a good relationship with the University is crucial during the redevelopment. This balance would be a very difficult one to strike but on a personal note, his pledge to talk more to students through student media is a welcome one.
Nathan’s goal to make sure the University implements the findings of the SRC Accommodation survey would build on the success of the current SRC Accommodation team. The survey is already proving an incredibly useful source of information that is affecting the University’s accommodation plans. However, whilst students said in the survey that they would welcome subsidising lower income students’ hall fees to make halls of residence a more diverse environment, the reality of students in the same hall paying significantly different fees for the same room are likely to prove less popular in practice, and difficult to implement. His work in the Development Department raising money for accommodation bursaries also puts him in an ideal position for building on the current President’s successes in securing an extra £43,000; though it remains to be seen just how much room there actually is for growing bursaries next year.
Continuing to Widen Access
With a creative approach to changing perceptions of St Andrews, Nathan wants to make use of the wealth of student-led film production in the University to produce a student version of the Ever to Excel film. He sees this, as well as a St Andrews YouTube presence, as the best way to change the media perception of the University. At the same time as making sure the local outreach programmes continue their vital work. This is one of the policies from Nathan’s manifesto that really sets him apart from the other candidates on widening participation, adding another level to the programmes already in place.
Having been a part of a band constantly looking for spaces to rehearse means Nathan has personal experience of the difficulties the redevelopment will cause for students. Coming from this experience he would like to work with the new DoSDA to create an electronic list of all the spaces available for societies at any given time, including weekends. The use of electronic databases has been something that students have campaigned on for years without success and this sort of system would prove difficult to maintain if not confined to University and Union buildings. However, with the new Union website, which is being designed over the summer, these sorts of plans will finally be at least possible.
Working with you (Involvement)
Finally, Nathan wants to ditch the office as much as possible and join students at their events, parties, halls and societies to be visible and keep himself involved. While a noble goal, the current sabbs have often lamented the lack of time they have to fulfil the policies they campaigned on and things are set to only get busier with the major work on the redevelopment beginning next year. Unexpected issues, such as the NUS referendum that arose at the end of last year, will also take Nathan away from his plans to stay connected with students.