Manifesto analysis: Sarah Thompson, candidate for AU president

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Photo: Raphaël Benros
Photo: Raphaël Benros
Photo: Raphaël Benros

Read our interview with Ms Thompson here.

A fifth-year German student, Sarah Thompson provides a particularly strong resume in the opening sorties of her manifesto for AU president. Indeed, it could be argued that she exhibits the strongest qualifications of any of the prospective candidates; she is a stalwart of the ladies’ rugby club, currently serving as their president.

It is her work in helping to establish a volunteering programme between Saints Sport and Stellenbosch University in South Africa, however, that shows a real  participation in a reasonably high-level process. Not only would that have in itself required some organisational knowledge, bureaucratic appreciation and all-round work ethic, it also allowed her to establish what she terms “working relationships” with the AU, DSE and Development Office along with a number of sports clubs. Arguably, this is a fairly impressive track record of working with and building up sporting institutions not only in St Andrews but beyond.

Despite having built links with an institution south of the equator it is collaboration within St Andrews that is one of Ms Thompson’s main focuses; she seeks to make the existing captain’s forum a chance for the club captains to share their expertise and hopefully develop cross-club links.

Enhancing cooperation between the AU and the Student’s Association is also crucial to her vision. However, further explanation of this proposed development in relations will need to be couched in more precise language.

The issue of communication with clubs and the general student body is also a core strut of the manifesto. The concept of a weekly drop-in session seems to be a consistent policy suggested by all the candidates, while Thompson’s reference to increasing the publicity of all sporting events will surely dovetail with the work Lexi Martin has supposedly put in place this semester. Still, one wonders whether a weekly drop in session is enough for a student body that seems to crave a fairly comprehensive and simplistic guide on how the AU works.

An interesting point made is the strengthening of links with alumni, an oft-untapped source in Ms Thompson’s opinion. Making a similar point to that of Andrew Van Kralingen, Ms Thompson feels that alumni are a vital part of every club’s future as a source of funding. Seeking to strengthen alumni links is a laudable policy; it will be interesting to hear her explain how she would seek to bring this about.

Maintaining the links with Stellenbosch brings an international tinge to the manifesto, while she also promises to advocate fiercely for students with regards to the upcoming development of the Sports Centre.

Ms Thompson has clear pedigree, but explaining the intricacies of several of her policies will be crucial in the week ahead.

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