Sabbs succeeded: new officers take up roles


The new sabbatical officers for 2014-15 have officially taken over from their predecessors following a lengthy handover period.

Chloe Hill, Teddy Woodhouse, Kelsey Gold and Daniel Palmer have now stepped down. The new sabbatical officers for the Students’ Association are:

  • Pat Mathewson, Association president
  • Ondrej Hajda, director of representation
  • Fay Morrice, director of student development and activities
  • Leon O’Rourke, director of events and services

The Athletic Union works differently, with the AU presidency handover from Jess Walker to Sarah Thompson taking place throughout July.

We asked the sabbs new and old for their thoughts on the transition.

Association president

Chloe Hill: “This has been an ambitious year at the Students’ Association, most visibly because of the redevelopment and all the challenges that brought with it, but also because of the endless ambition of students to do bigger and better in whatever they worked on. This was also true of our sabb team. We did not get elected to just keep the Union afloat, but were ambitious in our ideas on how to improve the student experience, and this paid off in many different ways. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to spend the year with and am really going to miss them.

However, I have so much confidence in the new team to be outstanding; our handover in June convinced me that they are keen, able and dedicated to students and St Andrews, and I look forward to seeing what they achieve this year.

For me – well I couldn’t bear to move away from Scotland, it has very much become my home, so I am moving to Edinburgh and have already started my new job working for Gordon Brown MP. So much for a quiet life!”

Pat Mathewson: “We are indebted to the hard work of the sabb team before us, who have navigated the redevelopment with the upmost skill and professionalism. Our team has big shoes to fill, but we’re confident we can provide the follow up the deserve. Having been elected nearly four months ago, our enthusiasm is at boiling point and we’re incredibly excited to get to work.”

Director of representation

Teddy Woodhouse: “It’s been a pleasure to work with the University and with students on the breadth of topics that I’ve been able to get involved in. It’s been a year of learning on the job, adapting to sudden changes, and – most importantly – watching amazing students do amazing things. It’s a great honour to be a sabbatical officer, and I thank everyone for putting up with me for another year.

“Looking onwards, I have no doubts Ondrej will be fantastic as DoRepping: he has the essential burst of enthusiasm that is desperately needed right now. As for me, I’m moving down onto a MSc course in Global Politics and will be returning to see the building once its finished.”

Ondrej Hajda: “It’s 1 July and I am super keen to get started with DoReping. Teddy did a fabulous job last year and I am inheriting a system of academic representation that is bigger than ever before. Among others, we have created a completely new system of postgraduate representation that will help us collect feedback and facilitate communication with University staff. My main focus over the next year will be on provision of adequate study space for all students. I have also started working on an inclusive learning policy for the University that should help everyone regardless their disability status.

“However, we should never forget that the DoRep is both education and welfare sabb. This year, I am particularly excited for SHAG Week that will be happening in week five of the first semester. We have a great team in charge of the project and I just received a detailed description of all the events. I can tell you now that it is going to be a fantastic week! Plus, we have so many other events planned for the year that it is impossible to mention them all here.

“Finally, we are taking office in very exciting times. Chloe, Kelsey, Daniel, and Teddy have done a great job during their term and we all have a very solid foundation for our sabb plans. On top of that, the Union building will have brand new spaces which will open up the Students’ Association to ever more people. I know that this will be a challenging year but also a source of a tremendous opportunity to push the Students’ Association further than ever before.”

Director of student development and activities

Kelsey Gold: “The past year has been chaotic, challenging and so much fun. I am so pleased that I stayed in St Andrews for another year and had the opportunity to be the director of student development and activities. Looking back – I am really pleased with what we achieved, while knowing there is so much work still to be done. I will miss working with students on a daily basis and can’t wait to see what our societies and subcommittees do next!

“Fay Morrice, my successor, is going to do a brilliant job. I am so excited for the entire new sabb team and look forward to see how they steer the Union in the coming year.

“Up next for me – I am moving back stateside to LA, California. I’m going back to my charitable roots and working as a Relay for Life Specialist for the American Cancer Society doing events and fundraising management. I’m looking forward to a new challenge, but I will definitely be back to see the Union for its grand opening!”

Fay Morrice: “I shall be the tenth DoSDA and as a team we are the first sabbs in the seventh century of the University so there are some pretty big boots to fill. I would like to thank Kelsey and the previous nine DoSDAs for paving the way for me to come into this role at such an exciting time. The energy and commitment that they have given to the Students’ Association is outstanding and cannot be overstated.

“Moving forward into the role at such an exciting time, with a redeveloping union, means there’s a chance for a lot of potential to be realised. We, as members of the Union, have the opportunity to shape the new spaces and grow up with a building. The possibly tumultuous first few months will be so worth it for a union that is fit for purpose for all the incredible student activities that go on.

“I can’t wait to work with everyone over the coming year – I hope you’ll all come visit us in our Portakabin.”

Director of events and services

Daniel Palmer: “I have really enjoyed my sabbatical year, it’s been a fun challenge – and that’s exactly what I wanted when I headed into it!

“People often ask me why I spent so much of my undergraduate years, and sabb year, in the Union. But it’s done so much for me. Over my five years I have had three very distinctive projects: Mermaids, Ents (both of which I am just as proud of as DoES) and my sabbatical year. I’ve developed so much over them, met so many great people, and done such awesome things – from plays in the castle, dropping thousands of balloons onto a crowd and Graduation Ball! The Union’s great as you get out of it what you put in.

“I am sure Leon will have a great year – challenging, but great as the staff and students you work with can be imaginative, ambitious and hilarious. I wish him all the best, as part of me wishes I was doing the job for another year.

“I’m off to teaching – this was just a detour, as I maxed out what was a hobby. I’m really proud that I was a buffer between so much redev disruption and student events, but as that’s not a particularly glamorous answer my Graduation Ball ran perfectly as I was so pleased with it – and the fact it made people cry!”

Leon O’Rourke: “Today begins quite possibly the most exciting and yet clearly the most terrifying day in my young adult life. Following in the footsteps of Dan will be no easy task but one that I think he has given me ample preparation for. The last few weeks have been fantastic, getting to know our team better and bonding as a unit.

“This year will be busy and I’m sure stressful at times especially in the second semester with the loss of Venue 1 but I can’t wait to get started with it all. I hope the year ahead will be full of big events that can get the students excited but I am also very keen to introduce more nights inspired by student ideas and showcasing student talent.

“Here it goes I suppose.”

Athletic Union president

Jess Walker: “It has been the most challenging and rewarding year. I have loved every moment of having the opportunity to work with our amazing sports clubs, the incredible staff and the University. Our clubs are doing better than ever and I am truly honoured and humbled to have been able to be apart of such an amazing organisation.

“Handover has changed slightly in that we will now be handing over over the course of July to allow the incoming president the opportunity to fully embrace graduation and have a wee holiday before starting in their role. July is a bittersweet month for me I am incredibly sad to be leaving but at the same time I know I am leaving the AU in very capable hands!

“I am very thankful to all of those that helped me along this rollercoaster of a year, I have learned lessons, and had amazing experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to come back and see how the AU has progressed.”


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