Director of Student Development and Activities candidate Charlotte Flatley sets out a succinct and impressive manifesto. Thanks to her year as SSC broadcasting officer, Ms Flatley puts real emphasis on looking out for those who might be slightly outside of the mainstream, such as mature students and those interested in careers such as arts and media.
Ms Flatley’s three main aims are simple: improve communication between sabbatical officers and students, provide training and support for leaders of societies and committees, and increase the existing careers support for students. In these aims, Ms Flatley demonstrates both an in-depth knowledge of the problems encountered by the student body and the innovation necessary to tackle them.
Ms Flatley begins her manifesto by addressing the distance between sabbatical officers and the main student body and offering a pledge to improve communication.
“They were students and now they’re taking a year out and they’re working for the students,” she explained in an interview with The Saint. “And as such, I think that sabbatical officers should be some of the first people that you meet when you first arrive at St Andrews.”
Although Ms Flatley’s plan has obvious merits, the issue of low student interest remains a key factor. One solution Ms Flatley proposes to increase engagement is describing the Association in clearer terms and making information about the Union more readily accessible.
“If we make it accessible, we make it that people are interested,” she said. “[If] they want to find out more about their sabbatical officers and they want to find out about all these different projects that are being pursued, then I think it’ll just be in the best interest … because this space is for students, and I think that students should know how it’s working.”
Ms Flatley also discussed her interest in coordinating events with smaller groups of students, such as postgraduates, mature students, and commuters.
Support for committees
Ms Flatley’s main goal as DoSDA is to provide support for all Union-affiliated societies and sub-committees. One of her proposed initiatives is working with CAPOD to offer optional leadership and training workshops.
She explained, “I want to be able to say, ‘Hey, we have this workshop. Now that you’re the head of a sub-committee, how about you go through this training, if you want to, and we’re just here to provide tips and clues into how it works.’”
Speaking on the array of student activities available at the University, Ms Flatley added, “I want you to enjoy your student experience while you’re here at St Andrews. To be able to be involved as much as you want is one of the great things about St Andrews. You can dedicate as much time, or as little time, as you want. And I think that the student experience is not just your degree, but the activities that you pursue outside the classroom.”
Last but not least, Ms Flatley sets out progressive ideas regarding career support. She hopes to work closely with the Careers Centre to expand support for those interested in less traditional fields and use focus groups to tweak the resources on offer.
“I want to […] have student focus groups with students from different years, different courses, to find out what they are interested in, what the career centre has done to help them, and what they think can be done further,” Ms Flatley said, “because I think that’s the only way to really progress, just to find out what’s been used and what hasn’t.”
Ms Flatley’s other ideas include workshops discussing specific skills and utilising the professional skills curriculum.
Overall, the DosDA candidate presents fresh and positive ideas. However, Ms Flatley’s plans lose some of their impact due to a lack of finer details.