The Saint’s guide to SRC positions

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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.

Contents

Association chair

Current position holder: Maxwell Baldi

Position description: The role of Chair has three principal components. The Chair serves as the presiding officer of the Councils and Executive Committee, and is responsible for ensuring that debate is orderly and fair. The Chair is the chief administrative officer for the student-side of the Association, and accordingly manages agenda, minutes, attendance records, etc. In that role, the Chair also schedules meetings and determines when the Executive Committee should be convened.

The Chair also advises other officers on procedure and structure; the advice mostly concerns how to enable officers to do what they want to do with the confines of the Association’s constitution, laws and relevant statutes. Additionally, the Chair serves as a trustee of the Association. Finally, the Chair is required to maintain impartiality, dispense advice dispassionately and be politically aware without being political.

Position description: Actually chairing meetings is the most fun part of the job, but I’d say my favourite part is having the opportunity to serve every part of the Students’ Association.

Advice to potential candidates: I would give two bits of advice to potential candidates. Firstly, read as much as you can about the Association and talk to as many people as you can; the Chair must know the Association inside and out to be able to perform his job successfully. Secondly, consider how to engage more students with the Councils on a practical level; the structures are in place, but students must be encouraged to avail themselves of them.

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Association community relations officer

Current position holder: Katie O’Donnell

Position description: The role of this officer is to bridge the gap between ‘Town’ and ‘Gown’. This is achieved by attending several community groups and representing 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 the Student Volunteering Service.

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Photo: Green Week
Photo: Green Week

Association environment & ethics officer

Current position holder: Dominyka Urbonaite

Position description: E&E officer is an Association position, which means the officer sits on both SRC and SSC. In addition, the E&E officer is chair of the Environment & Ethics subcommittee and sits on the University’s Fairtrade committee and Sustainable Development Working Group.

The main things the E&E officer focuses on are Green Week, the inter-hall energy competition and helping hall environment reps with their duties, as well as working on broader Students’ Association and University sustainability policies.

Advice to potential candidates: The person running for the position really should think about time commitment required to be an Association officer.

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Association LGBT officer

Current position holder: David Alexander Norris

Position description: My position is a lot of fun but also a lot of work. As association LGBT officer I sit on the SRC; the SRC’s equal opportunities subcommittee and the wellbeing committee; SSC; and run a subcommittee of the Union (Saints LGBT). The wide variety of responsibilities the role involves means that I have had the pleasure of being involved in campaigns such as the no tolerance campaign, putting forward a motion to the SRC to make bathroom policies more tolerant for trans* students, and organising and running events with the LGBT committee such as Glitterball.

Favorite part of the position: The most rewarding part of the role is the knowledge that you are improving the student experience, not just for LGBT students but the student body as a whole, and learning more about the society we live in.

Advice to potential candidates: Have time to dedicate to the role – it can involve between 16 and 21 hours a week. Have good people management skills – if you don’t delegate you’ll run yourself ragged. Finally, have a passion for and a willingness to learn about the LGBT communities. I have learned more about LGBT people this year than in all my previous nine years as an out gay man. Most importantly, have fun! It takes a lot from you but you get much more back.

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SRC accommodation officer

Current position holder:  Scott Taylor

Position description: It is as far reaching and as wide as you want to make it. The accommodation officer helps to produce a ‘How to Rent Guide’ – which this year we turned into a video – and attends 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.

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Andrew Melville (Photo: itmpa)
Andrew Melville (Photo: itmpa)

SRC member for University accommodation

Current position holder: Anna Kennedy-O’Brien

Position description: My main role is providing a place of contact between the Union and the University halls, as well as Residential and Business Services. On a more specific level I’m responsible for organising the monthly senior students forums, which bring all the halls together with other figures from the University to discuss any issues. I also devise training programs for hall committees, something introduced this year, and help with consolidating the Union’s position on issues such as the rise of private halls of residences and the future plans for University-run accommodation.

Favourite part of the position: Probably running the senior students forums: they’re a great way to meet numerous people directly involved in University accommodation and it’s really satisfying when the space for discussion allows students’ issues to be solved.

Advice to potential candidates: It’s definitely important to be organised and flexible; each hall of residence has a different way of operating and you need to be able to come to terms with that. It’s a really great and rewarding role, especially for anyone who already has experience on a hall committee, so I encourage anybody who’s interested to run!

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SRC member for private accommodation

Position description: This member 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 the Union’s accommodation advocate.

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SRC education officer

Current position holder: Ondrej Hajda

Position description: As SRC education officer you work closely with the director of representation and the rest of the education committee, school presidents and class representatives, and get a great picture of all levels of academic representation. You will be a member of many committees so get ready to sit (and actively contribute) at a number of meetings. You even get to chair two committees yourself! A big part of the job is working closely with the library.

Favourite part of the position: Helping others. You will get many class reps and school presidents coming up to you and asking for an advice how to organise an event or where to get money for their
new project to increase student-staff interaction. Education officer is both a support role for other students reps but also a proactive role in which you can achieve your own policies.

Advice to potential candidates: Definitely run if you are interested in representation, academia and finding out how University governance works. You will have access to a number of University staff so don’t be afraid to use these links to move your policies forward. They will listen and can offer some good advice!

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SRC employability officer

Current position holder: Lonie Sebagh

Position description: The SRC employability officer works closely with the DoSDA and the careers centre and will primarily work to represent student opinion on services and support relating to employability and career skills.

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SRC equal opportunities officer

Current position holder: Hibak Mohamud Yusuf

Position description: As equal opportunities officer, my role mainly entailed administering and chairing committees (members for gender equality, racial equality, disabilities, mature students, international students, LGBT officer and widening access and participation), assisting committee members with their projects, initiating projects promoting equality, diversity and student welfare, and working with the University, Student Services and other bodies promoting student welfare.

Favourite part of the position: My favourite part has been being able to work with different bodies and societies on equal opportunities and welfare.

Advice to potential candidates: I would advise my successor to have a look at projects in place already and coordinate – the more students are involved in a project, the more likely people will be in participating in future events!

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SRC wellbeing officer

Current position holder: Avalon Borg

Position description: The SRC wellbeing officer was newly introduced this past October. My role requires me to ensure efforts are being taken and maintained to support student well-being. Further, this position requires engagement with other mental health working groups in St Andrews such as Nightline and Student Minds to help coordinate and support their various events and campaigns.

Favourite part of the position: My favourite part of the position was the fact that it was new coupled with the fact that I had been campaigning for such a role to be created for a few years now. Having only begun in October, I was still able to realise goals such as my #TakeCare campaign, which the new wellbeing officer will inherit. I’ve been grateful to have the chance to build a solid foundation of sources and materials for students.

Advice to potential candidates: The next wellbeing officer needs to be someone who has the energy and proper knowledge of how to run a campaign with the tools and information I’ve already created. The foundation is built and now someone with the energy and compassionate intention to support students needs to take over.

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SRC member for disabilities

Current position holder: Fay Morrice

Position description: They 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.

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SRC member for ethnic minorities

Current position holder: Soraya Walli

Position description: My role was to represent the ethnic minorities, to be a voice for them and to ensure they are well integrated into society.

Favourite part of the position: My favourite part of the position was organising events for students and working with different members of the student community to make a change.

Advice to potential candidates: If there is a cause that you feel strongly about, do all you can to make sure that the rest of the student body learns about it. Awareness is very crucial, and the role for the member of ethnic minorities should be to educate the student body on any pressing issues impacting minorities around the world.

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SRC member for external campaigns

Current position holder: Callum Bryce

Position description: The external campaigns officer sits and votes on the SRC and is supposed to deal with all campaigns that extend past St Andrews. The officer is also the chair of the external campaigns subcommittee, but as far as I can tell this hasn’t actually happened for several years! In previous years the external campaigns officer has been responsible for organising anti-tuition fee protests and sending buses down to larger protests in Edinburgh and Liverpool.

Favourite part of the position: My favourite part of the role has been the chance to sit and vote on the SRC, and managing to get a living wage motion passed.

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.

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SRC member for first years

Current position holder: Joshua Carlton

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.

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SRC member for gender equality

Current position holder: Ali West

Position description:  The member for gender equality focuses on campaigns and advice to encourage equality. They also sit on the equal opportunities subcommittee within the Union.

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Photo: The Wide Wide World
Photo: The Wide Wide World

SRC member for international students

Current position holder: Caroline Rhoads

Position description: I represent the international student community at the SRC. My responsibility is to be a voice to the concerns and interests of our international student body, a third of our student population, by addressing issues such as immigration laws or accommodation rights.

Favourite part of the position: I’ve really enjoyed being on the equal opportunity subcommittee and working with other members of the committee to execute events for international students and ensure the international student voice is heard.

Advice to potential candidates: I would advise any candidates to have ideas about how to make the international student body here feel welcome and to have a good understanding of the issues international students may face. Be willing to work closely with other members of the SRC to address these problems.

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SRC member for mature students

Current position holders: Mel Turner and Ross Quinn

Position description (Mel): It has been amazing. I have met some great people and learned a lot.

During my time I have found it quite difficult to adjust to time at University as well as being a member of the SRC. My main contribution has been attending meetings and giving an alternative point of view across at meetings and discussions of proposals. As you can imagine being a mother of five and a mature student means my outlook on life can be rather different to someone coming straight from school or college to University. I have been lucky that I have been able to discuss motions with friends and other mature students as well as foreign exchange students and classmates before meetings. It has been a brilliant way to break the ice and start conversations with everyone and anyone.

Advice to potential candidates (Mel): My recommendation to anyone wanting to stand for an SRC position would be go for it. Get your voice heard and meet some truly amazing and interesting people.

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SRC member for widening access

Current position holder: Ben Anderson

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.

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Arts / divinity faculty president

Current position holder: Sophie Kelly

Position description: The role of the arts and divinity faculty president entails representing the views and concerns of over half the student body through regular liaison with school presidents and the director of representation.

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Science / medicine faculty president

Current position holder: Peter Da Bell

Position description: The Science/medicine faculty president preforms a similar role to the arts/divinity faculty president.

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