Gabriel Schechter is a fifth year Psychology student who boasts five years of experience in the Ultimate Frisbee club that he believes make him an exceptional candidate for the position of Athletic Union President.
Having been Freshers’ reprensentative, tournament and transport logistics representative, and captain during his time in the club, he has seen Ultimate Frisbee grow from a small, recreational club to a competitive one that has won a BUCS championship and been the second highest BUCS scorer last year. Personally, Schechter represented Great Britain at the World Championships this January.
He believes that experience is one of his key assets as a candidate and his concise manifesto is broken down into three well thoughtout policy areas.
Mr Schechter’s key mission for kit is to make the bidding process as clear to sports clubs as possible.
With the tender coming up for renewal at the end of this academic year, Mr Schechter wants to inform clubs about how the process works and ensure that every club’s individual needs are met when securing a new contract.
He stresses the need to balance affordability with the issues of quality and sport-specific kit requirements.
Having experienced three different kit providers during his time at St Andrews, it is clear the matter of kit is important to Mr Schechter, and by keeping everyone in the loop, he should ensure the best deal is reached when securing the next provider.
Mr Schechter’s ambitions with regards to accessibility are varied, but all of them have students at their heart.
Mr Schechter suggests he would implement an online booking portal, similar to that available for library study spaces, to modernise the booking process for AU facilities, whilst also introducing a gym capacity tracker.
In an interesting step, Mr Schechter suggests analysing the data from the tracker to provide students with data about gym trends, allowing them to plan better the best time to visit the gym to maximise their use of it.
He also makes provisions for integrating other student societies into the work that the AU does.
Mr Schechter cites the examples of other Universities that do student dodgeball competitions amongst other activities to engage students and suggests that this is something he would strive for if he were to be elected AU President.
Indeed, by modernising the booking system it would make external bookings by societies much easier and would open channels for greater cooperation between the AU and interested parties.
All of these suggestions for making AU facilities more accessible are student-focused, aiming to provide a bespoke sporting experience for the entire St Andrews community.
Another broad area of interest for Mr Schechter is making the AU a much more transparent body.
He says that as AU President he would attend town hall meetings to make himself a much more visible figure within the community, whilst also instigating the creation of an AU AGM at the end of the year, where clubs would be informed about budget allocations and which decisions were made throughout the academic year.
Furthermore, having helped Ultimate Frisbee develop into a performance sport during his time as captain, Mr Schechter has a strong relationship with Assistant Director of Student Sport Pete Burgon.
He aims to use this relationship to create a “clear performance sport pathway” for clubs that want to follow Ultimate Frisbee’s trajectory.
The final decision would rest with Burgon but this scheme, Mr Schechter believes, would show clubs the clear steps they need to take to be considered as a performance sport.
Greater transparency for the AU is always a laudable ambition, and Mr Schechter’s desire to make himself a much more visible presence within the town should help to improve channels of communication for clubs that have issues during his term.
Similarly, creating more clear guidelines for clubs that seek performance sport recognition should go some way to easing the divides that currently exist between those clubs that are performance sports and those that aren’t.
Whilst perhaps more concise than some other manifestos, every idea in Mr Schechter’s platform is well thoughtout and clearly directed at improving the experiences of students.
His experience with the issues of accessibility and kit shines through and his passion for improving the sport in St Andrews is abundantly AU clear throughout his manifesto.