The Saint’s best of 2016

Students participate in the Gaudie. Photo: The University of St Andrews.

Letter from the editor

Dear readers:

It would be a gross understatement to say that 2016 defied expectations. A year ago, I read Bloomberg’s “A Pessimist’s Guide to the World in 2016” and laughed over the absurd scenarios it proposed. Today, I live in the age of Brexit and President Donald Trump.

2016 was the year the unimaginable became reality, and this was reflected in our microcosmic Bubble. As St Andreans engaged in age old traditions such as the pier walk and nights out at the Union, they simultaneously debated the merits of an isolationist stance on immigration and the chances of Mr Trump winning the presidency.

The Saint spent 2016 exploring St Andrews’ newfound reality. At the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, we produced a feature spread explaining both sides of the Brexit debate. In recent months, we’ve covered everything from the Election Night viewing party at the Union to community responses following Mr Trump’s election.

2016 also saw the release of our 200th issue, the launch of our Instagram account (you can find us at @thesaintsta), and a stronger focus on the paper’s aesthetic.We will continue these endeavours in 2017 as we redesign both our website and print edition to achieve a sleek, modern look.

In addition to discussing the hot-button topics of 2016, our reporters and editors delved into stories about the more typical aspects of university life. Events editor Natasha Franks profiled two students determined to bring crepes to the hordes at the Vic. Sport writer Sam Connolly offered us a witty anecdote about his first kayaking trip, complete with several dunks into the freezing North Sea. Deputy editor Joseph Cassidy and former editor Mina Omar chased down investigative leads ranging from accusations of election fraud within the Conservative Society to a director of teaching’s recommendation that a depressed student leave the University.

As The Saint enters its 20th year of existence, the staff remains committed to the paper’s founding principles. We have always strived to provide the St Andrews community with thorough, accurate reporting, and we will continue these efforts in the future. In the meantime, please enjoy this overview of some of the best work produced by The Saint in 2016.


Meilan Solly

If you have comments or questions regarding The Saint, please email Meilan Solly at

Best of 2016


St Andrews Conservative Society under fire over allegations of AGM foul play by Joseph Cassidy and Mina Omar

Photo: Michael Green, The society committee that was elected at the AGM
Photo: Michael Green, The society committee that was elected at the AGM

The St Andrews University Conservative and Unionist Association, or Conservative Society, was rocked by allegations of foul play in its annual general meeting (AGM) as members of the committee stand accused of “rigging” the election. These allegations exposed long standing and bitter divides within the Society. Following confirmation of “electoral fraud” from the Students Association, the society chose to disafiliate from the organisation in order to retain greater control over its membership.

Director of Teaching recommends depressed student “consider leaving the University” by Joseph Cassidy and Mina Omar

Discussion over mental health issues in St Andrews erupted following the publication of The Saint‘s investigation into how Director of Teaching had treated a student suffering from depression.

“I was angry, very angry but what I was really worried about was what could have happened had the email been sent to someone in a more vulnerable state,”  the student in question said at the time.

The Lizard Lounge to close by Natasha Franks

Photo: Fraser Macleod
Photo: Fraser Macleod

“The Lizard has a special place in my heart. Where else can you listen to ‘One Love’ by Blue while grooving on a light-up dancefloor? It was my own private music video, and now it’s over.”


Brexit: get a hold of yourselves by Dillon Yeh

Vote Leave poster featuring the controversial "£350 million for the NHS" promise
Vote Leave poster featuring the controversial “£350 million for the NHS” promise Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“It’s not the end of the world. Civilisation will not crumble. Though a pint at Aikman’s might be cheaper to some than others.” A more optimistic take on one of the biggest political earthquakes of the year.

An ode to ALDI: to experience you is to love you by Amy Elliot

“Sitting in the centre of town a good half an hour ago, with a heavy heart and an empty fridge, you were one of the unbelievers. You didn’t have the time, you didn’t want to change out of your pyjamas, and quite frankly, you just couldn’t be bothered. But now, your pulse beats strongly in your breast. You are alive. You have arrived at the automatic doors which open into ALDI.”

Coming to terms with a Donald Trump presidency by Meilan Solly

Photo: Creative Commons

“Yesterday morning, I woke up ready to celebrate the election of the US’ first female president. I supported Clinton not just because she is the alternative to Trump, but because she is a qualified, effective politician with decisive plans. Instead of benefitting from these plans, our country is about to welcome the most unqualified president-elect in history. Congratulations, America. As Bette Davis said in All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”


The costs of studying abroad by Meilan Solly

Toulouse, France
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“You are one application away from a semester spent traversing Icelandic lagoons, walking in the footsteps of American presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, or admiring Renaissance art in Padua. Only one obstacle stands in your way: the fear of not being able to afford a study abroad experience. Luckily for you, time overseas can be far more affordable than you may think.”

The clubs to launch your financial dreams by James Fox

Illustration: Lauren Holmes
Illustration: Lauren Holmes

Ready to delve into the world of finance, business, management or economics? These clubs, including InvestSoc, the Economic Society, and the Management Society, are suitable for the casual consumer or the passionate professional.

How much does it cost you to skip a lecture or tutorial? by Tara Panicker

resized lecture6
Infographic: Meilan Solly

“Considering these figures, it could be safe to say that in terms of subjects, arts students stand to lose the most financially when skipping lectures or tutorials, while medicine students lose the least. Geographically speaking, overseas students lose the most, and Scottish students lose the least.”


The new crepes on the block by Natasha Franks

Photo: Natasha Franks
Photo: Natasha Franks

“On select nights, the stench of sweat that permeates the Vic has been overpowered by the sweet aroma of freshly made crepes, originating from a small station outside of the main bar. Clad in bathrobes and chef’s hats, Laurence and Ludo whisk and mix and flip their crepes to perfection, proffering their succulent creations to the masses for a mere £3 each. Although bizarre at first, one need only bite into a tender, juicy crepe to realise that the question is not why – but why not?”

Signed, sealed, delivered: why we should all start writing letters again by Daisy Sewell

“As much as it was good fun to read through these letters with my mother, two things stood out to me amongst the handwriting of her friends from the ’80s. The first was the love for St Andrews that nearly every student seems to have is nothing new. British friends complained of boredom, bad weather and the distinct lack of alcohol in their parents’ cupboards. American friends sent postcards from their sunny beachside vacations, but they longed to be back on West Sands. The words on paper are nearly identical to iMessages I have been receiving since we left St Andrews this May.”

The final countdown: the development of Brexit polls and media headlines by Olivia Gavoyannis

Brexit flag | © / Flickr
Brexit flag | Photo: © / Flickr

A timeline of media coverage of the Brexit debate, including polls and politicians’ comments.


“You can’t sit with us”: a story of exclusivity by Elischke De Villiers

Photo: Taylor Almeraz
Photo: Taylor Almeraz

“But as in the beloved tale of Cinderella, St Andrews has an evil stepmother who seeks to prevent the rags from becoming riches. While most balls open their ticket sales to anyone, there are a few events that seem to stay just out of the reach of the everyday student. The sense of elitism in St Andrews is as common as Scottish rain. We have a reputation for popping champagne bottles and having “secret” societies. If I got a pound for every time I was presumed to be a snob because of where I go to university, I wouldn’t bother getting a degree at all.”

Szentek: unforgettable glory by George Wilder

The reality that was to become evident during the night was that Szentek’s success came from something that nearly every other St Andrews event I’ve been to has failed at: the detail.

Fashion shows of 2016: The Saint’s ranking by Natasha Franks

st andrews charity fashion show fs beautiful models
Photo: Getty Images

The Saint‘s Events editor Natasha Franks presents a definitive ranking of our town’s four largest fashion shows — from the best, to the worst.

Arts & culture

Whitewashing the walls of period dramas by Daisy Treloar


“Like theatre, film and other genres of TV, British period drama producers and casting directors need to make a conscious effort to create content that includes more racially diverse actors. Otherwise, the genre risks alienating and losing some of our best talent. Laziness and a sense of security (that we should just keep making what “we’re good at”) are not excuses when the livelihoods and representations of Britain’s ethnic minorities are at stake.”

Let’s talk about sex, baby by Tiffany Black

“Genuine presentations of sex are few and far between, and the creative industries have a responsibility to rectify this. Otherwise, they are simply helping to perpetuate unhealthy relationships and, one could even say, rape culture.”

A conversation with Anthony Horowitz by Poppy Russell and Sam Huckstep

Photo: Orion
Photo: Orion

“‘Writing,’ Anthony Horowitz says resolutely, ‘is an adventure. Above all, it should be fun.’ Horowitz, the prolific author of Alex Rider, Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders, and much more, is someone who can speak with some authority on the subject.”


A look at Canoe Club: is my editor trying to kill me? by Sam Connolly

Saints Canoe
Photo: Saints Canoe

“I could feel the kayak rocking from side to side, and I very much doubted that I was going to be able to overcome this new obstacle. However, I followed the kayaker’s advice and paddled straight towards the wave. Amazingly, it seemed to work. “I’ve made it,” I thought with joy. Everyone threw a ball around while we waited for the stragglers to join us, and the rather relaxed and calm atmosphere lulled me into a false sense of security. Then we were given our two choices for the session: surfing the waves or a “pier launch.” Yes, you read that correctly. Canoe Club members push you off of the pier in a kayak.”

2016: when sport became bigger and better by Andrew Sinclair

“Obviously it was an Olympic year, which does tend to bring forth inspiring performances that put millions across the country to shame. Athletes at the peak of their powers pushing the bounds of human achievement: it’s what sport should all be about really, isn’t it?”

The unpopular rise of RB Leipzig by Alex Hayes

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“Whether or not you approve of RB Leipzig’s approach to football, one thing is certain: they have made big waves in German football in their short history.”


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