Information for Societies

Events calendar

If you have any events coming up, you can add them to the Union's calendar via the form at the top of our events page.

 

DoSDA Update: 24th August

Over the weekend the Scottish government has been releasing up to date guidance on what restrictions will be in place over the coming month. I know you’ve been wanting to know what can and cannot happen in terms of events, and we’re now in a position to give clearer guidance on what can and cannot happen.

For the full government guidance, click here.

We are still imposing the rule of no in-person events for societies and subcommittees.

The existing guidance limits gatherings to 5 households when meeting outdoors. Members of societies come from different households, so in most cases this will effectively limit events to 5 people (or 3 indoors). This is in line with the advice we have been given by the University, that most departments (not including sport or teaching) are following.

We may allow events in the future with no/extremely limited face-to-face contact.

At this point in time we are not in a position to permit this type of activity.

Meetings should be online.

If a couple of members of a society or committee want to have a chat in person, they can under the guidance for seeing friends and family. However, any official committee meetings or meetings that would break the guidance must be held online.

No Sport.

If you are affiliated with the Athletic Union, you may follow their guidance on organised sport. Otherwise, like with all in-person events, you cannot hold sporting events.

No Food and Drink.

We’re not allowing in-person events to share food and drink at. In addition, government guidance states that you are not allowed to share food or utensils. When we allow in-person events, food and drink will still have strong safety measures in place.

Performances – Theatre / Music

We’re still processing the current guidance and waiting on more information about this. Live events are allowed within the government guidelines, but only in certain venues with restricted access. We currently do not have access to viable spaces, however we are working with the University to secure these, as well as looking in to what we can provide around the Union building. If you have questions about performance events you want to run, please email unionra@, dosda@, and does@.

You can do whatever you want to online.

Online events should be the default option. You can use Teams meetings, or Teams live for free. If you want any help setting these up, you can email dosda@ or does@. If this involves anything active (cooking, dancing etc.) and not covered in your general risk assessment, you must send a risk assessment to unionra@.

 

As an affiliate of the Students’ Association you get public liability insurance for your events. However, this does not apply unless you follow the rules we have put in place. We have a responsibility for ensuring that affiliated events are safe for our student members, and unfortunately the current environment makes this incredibly hard. As such, we are being firm in what we can and cannot allow, and insisting that the only the safest options are considered.

I’m sorry if this guidance seems harsh, and restrictions seem to be lifting slowly. We’re following guidance and advice from the government and University, and hope to lift restrictions as soon as we can. St Andrews is in a unique situation with the large number of international students, combined with the aging town population. Local lockdowns in Scotland are a reality, and we are doing everything we can to avoid a similar situation to what is going on in Aberdeen.

We want more in-person events to happen, but this can only happen when it is safe to do so. We’ll be sending out regular updates and trying to provide further guidance when we can. We are looking into how to provide safe spaces for events, and are hoping to be able to have more positive news soon.

If you have any questions please do email me at dosda@st-andrews.ac.uk

Questions and Answers

This page will get updated with more questions and more information once we know more. For the moment, we'd like to address some common questions.

  • When will the guidance on events change?
    • We don't have an answer for you. The priority of the Students' Association at the moment is opening the building. Once this is done we will be able to focus more on in-person events. Safety is a massive concern, and at the moment we do not have the resources to ensure that events are being held safely. We are working with the University to accomodate for in-person events as soon as we can.
  • Do you have any guidance on how to run good virtual events?
    • We are analysing the what worked well and what didn't work so well in the ongoing Countdown to St Andrews event. Hopefully this should give us some good information that we can share with you about how to host a good event.
  • (In future) What spaces will I be able to use and book?
    • In addition to the indoor spaces in the Students' Association, there are a large number of outdoor spaces in town - both public and owned by the University. We are in the process of allowing outside University owned spaces to be booked like indoor ones. The room booking system is not yet online.
  • (In future) How will track and trace / event signups be handled?
    • Having fully ticketed events helps to manage numbers at events, but also provides an opportunity to collect track & trace information. We are exploring the best practise for this, but it should be expected that all events (even if free) will need to be ticketed. This can be done with something as simple as a Microsoft Form.
  • (In future) Can we have events involving travel outside of St Andrews?
    • We are expecting that even once in-person events are allowed, there may still be a wait until group travel is allowed due to the safety and logistics of travelling.

 

Planning Future Events

 

This section provides some things to think about for planning events in the future. As mentioned above, we are currently not approving in-person events.

Society events are likely to become even more central to student life. Some societies will be able to adapt relatively easily. Most in person activities will require limited attendance, movement planning, and some hand gel.

As a society manager, you will be keen to host any event possible. However, much of your target audience will only want to go to events if there is a clear emphasis on safety. Large, outdoor, seated venues are perceived as the safest event type.

You should think about 3 different scenarios when planning events, so that you can adapt to the government guidelines in place at the time:

  • 2 metre distancing
  • 1 metre distancing
  • Complete distancing (online only)

In-person events will also be affected by limits to the number of participants. In particular, the household limit will limit things more than you might expect (5 households / 15 people could end up being 5 people). Think about how you can split events up into small groups of people doing the same thing independently, rather than as one big group.

Event Checklist

  1. Find a venue. If possible, adapt your event to be suitable for outdoors. Outdoor spaces like the FiEld, Botanic Garden, Lower College Lawn, Main Library field, and any of the beaches or quads will allow more people to attend your event. Some outdoor spaces may be adapted so that they can provide power.
  2. Have a backup plan, and be prepared for the worst. If you're hiring any equipment or spaces for your event, make sure you're entitled to a refund if it has to be cancelled. If your event can be moved online, have material ready in advance.
  3. Always write a risk assessment. Do not promote your event until the risk assessment has been approved by the Union. In addition to the normal risks, you will need to think about:
    • Risk of infection via air – what physical distancing measures will be in place?
    • Risk of infection via surfaces – how will you disinfect any equipment?
    • Risk of people not following rules – how will you ensure attendees are aware of your safety measures, and follow them?
    • Risk of over-attendance – what is the event capacity, and how will people sign up?
  4. Share regular updates in your event, confirming the time and location, letting people know what to expect, how your event will keep people safe, and how people can keep themselves safe at your event.
  5. Clearly show the event's capacity, and how people can get tickets. This can be something as simple as a Microsoft form for free events.
  6. Allow people to easily cancel or exchange their ticket if they are unwell or unable to attend your event. If your event is not free, make the refund policy clear.