Holding Events Safely

The Students' Association supports all safe activities and events that you as a society wants to hold provided they are properly risk assessed. Risk Assessments identify hazards so that you can address, mitigate and prevent them, to ensure the smooth running of your event and safety of those attending. The COVID-19 pandemic brings additional risks that must be handled appropriately, as well as additional guidance from the Scottish Government that must be followed.

As a society you are able to hold events as long as they are safe and risk assessed where appropriate. In order to hold an event, you must email or fill out a form. This must be done 2 weeks in advance of the event happening. To simplify things, events have been split into different categories.

For training slides and information, see Manage society.

For accident or incident reporting, use this form.

Online Events

Online events are the easiest way to engage with your society members with minimal COVID risk. We recommend that all societies continue with online events in some way, as there are students who cannot attend in-person events for a number of reasons.

If you wish to hold an online event with safety risks that are not covered in your GRA, email a risk assessment to unionra@.

In Person Events

We require a record of all in-person events going on, even for events that require no additional risk assessment. Approval for in-person events is handled by the University Events Approvals Group. Some smaller events can be approved by the societies committee, as detailed below.

As members of the University, students are required to follow the Covid Code at all times.

Pre-Assessed Events

Some general types of events have been pre-assessed and general guidance created. While many events will be covered by this and do not require further risk assessment, events may vary.


Students collecting clothing or resources for online events from a stall or collection point. Risk assessments are likely needed if food is involved.

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts around St Andrews involving teams of one or two households.


Individual photoshoots, such as committee profile pictures. Larger photoshoots may need risk assessments.

Email socevents@ for confirmation to hold a pre-assessed event. You will be told if you need to write a risk assessment.

Small In-Person Events

Within government guidance, small in-person events can be held that fall under the 'Meeting others (socialising)' of the Scottish Government guidance, (usually) without the need for an additional risk assessment.

At the moment that means:

  • You should not meet anyone from outside your household socially indoors in your home or their home.
  • You may meet people socially from 1 other household at a time indoors up to a maximum of 6 people, in a public place such as bar, café or restaurant. Follow the venue's 2 metre / 1 metre distancing rules.
  • You may meet people socially outdoors from 1 other household at a time, up to a maximum of 6 people. You should stay at least 2 metres apart from people from other households at all times.

Email socevents@ for confirmation to hold a small event. You will be told if you need to write a risk assessment.

Large In-Person Events

Government guidance does allow for certain larger events to be held, provided that the relevant safety measures are in place.

For all larger events, or in the case of any uncertainty, events must be approved through the University Can Do Committee.

Submit event requests at bit.ly/CanDoEventForm

Event Locations

You can hold in-person events in a number of different types of locations. Be aware of the different restrictions for each, as well as information in the societies accessibility guide

Private Residences

In addition to COVID restrictions, be aware of limits to the number of people allowed in a residence as laid out in your lease. Many flats have accessibility issues, please be aware of this when planning events.

University Property

Events held in University property usually require the space to be booked out. Make sure you have permission to use the space.

Public (Indoors)

Public indoor spaces such as cafes and pubs are an ideal safe space for enjoying food or drink as a society. For large groups you should phone up in advance, as booking may be required.

Public (Outdoors)

Public outdoor spaces may not have access to bins, so make sure you have a plan for collecting litter. For bonfires, wooden pallets should not be used due to the nails that are left behind.


Consumption of alcohol (or the possession of open drinks containers) is illegal in public (excluding the beaches)

Main Bar Union Building

Main Bar is open, and we are able to run events in a limited capacity such as Bingo nights or our weekly Pub Quiz.

Email does@st-andrews.ac.uk to plan an event.

External Union Building

Spaces outside the Union including the bike shed and the back field are available for use. There are 21 hearts in the back field to highlight spaces compliant with 2m distancing.

Email does@st-andrews.ac.uk to plan an event.

Can Do Marquee

In collaboration with the University we are now able to offer a large outdoor marquee that provides four safe, managed spaces that students and societies can use for holding in-person events.

For more information, click here

Specialist Guidance

We are working with the University to understand what is allowed within the guidance for specific activities in the following categories. Events in these categories must be confirmed and managed by the University Events Committee.


Groups of up to 35 are allowed for educational events, provided there is 2 metre distancing and masks being worn.

Theatre / Performing Arts

The most recent updates to the guidance limit theatre performances. At present in-person performances for this semester have been cancelled. We are working with the University for further clarification for safe rehearsals and performances.

Charitable and Volunteering

Although there is specific guidance for volunteering for charity, this is not applicable to most student volunteering in St Andrews. We are working with the University for further clarification.

Film & Showing

Larger groups are allowed for cinema, dependent on space restrictions and provided there is 2 metre distancing and masks being worn.

Showing film or TV publicly requires a licence, however Netflix Original Documentaries can be shown for educational purposes. Check this website to see which ones have a "grant of permission for educational screenings"


There are limitations around singing & wind instruments due to COVID safety. The majority of outside spaces are not suitable for music due to noise and licensing constraints. We are working with the Music Centre for further clarification.

We have capacity for small musical events outside the Union, please contact does@st-andrews.ac.uk for more info.


Guidance for sport follows advice from Saints Sport. The majority of organised sport, including Dance classes and hillwalking is allowed. Submit requests to the Can Do form listed above.

Risk Assessments

Risk assessments are vital to the running of your society, and form an essential part of your affiliation to the Students' Association.

General Risk Assessments

As part of your society's affiliation to the Union, you are required to submit a General Risk Assessment (GRA) each year.

A GRA must include:

  • Details and hazards of weekly events and activities (anything from meetings and rehearsals, to cooking classes and hikes). These are events that you know that your society will hold on a regular basis.
  • Details and hazards of recurring semesterly or annual events e.g. balls or theatrical performances.

Please use the template provided below for your society's General Risk Assessment.

Once your Risk Assessment is complete, please email it to unionra@ .

Blank General Risk Assessment (.docx)

Supplemental Risk Assessments

With the changes to risk assements that are have been brought in this year, you are unlikely to need to submit a Supplemental Risk Assessment like the one below. These cover risk relate to any unusual, extraordinary, or new activity or event.

Blank Supplemental Risk Assessment (.docx)

Example of bonfire SRA (.docx)


Student groups are currently advised not to travel outside St Andrews. In particular, the Scottish Government guidelines restricts groups to one household per car. Any requests to leave St Andrews should go to dosda@ and unionra@.

Travel is currently not allowed abroad. See the usual travel abroad checklist.