Read our interview with Mr Harding here.
Lewis Harding hopes create inter-university collaboration to bring bigger acts to the University, create a database of venues outside of the Union, and involve “more of what works and less of what doesn’t” in the Union’s array of events.
His previous experience includes directing performances within Mermaids, managing community relations for the On the Rocks Arts Festival, and hosting a radio show on STAR.
Mr Harding plans to begin the year with a “bang”. Without clarifying his opinion of last year’s Fresher’s Week, he wants to organise a “huge” Freshers’ Week that would create energy that could be carried over through the rest of the year. He said that maintaining the “momentum” would make the Union “a place that people consistently want to go to”.
This could involve the inter-university events that he seeks to bring to St Andrews. He believes that coordination with other universities would give him greater bargaining power with the agents who represent big acts, which would lower the cost of such acts for the Union. “By collaborating with other universities and external partners we can host the events that St Andrews’ students want to see.” As with other candidates, however, he does not say how such cooperation would benefit the other, larger universities involved.
Seeing the success of events like Itchy Feet and Disney Bop, he wants to offer greater support to the events and “offer a broader range of nights like them”. He thinks these events are so well-attended because “they are different and more exciting than conventional Union events”. He hopes that with these measures “we can really bring the Friday night back to the Union”.
Come September, the first phases of the redevelopment will be finished and there will be new venues to manage. Mr Harding acknowledges the inherent difficulty in working with new venues, but also says that “it allows us to diversify the events we run, bringing greater variety to student life”.
Another of his policies is creating a database of venues external to the Union in which societies can host events. Without specifying which venues he would intend students to better utilise, he wants to make sure that “venues that have been used successfully in the past” would be accessible. He would also like to poll students on how to alter the venues in ways that “transform [them] into areas that are attractive to students at all times of the day”.