About Your Union
You'll spend a lot of your time here with the Union, so it's helpful to know what it is before you arrive. In short it's a charity, separate to the University, that aims to improve the student experience in St Andrews. Its home is a big building in the centre of town.
The Union has 3 main areas:
- 150+ societies: funded by their membership fees (usually around £3/year), but you can try them out for free. If a society hosts a ticketed event, having membership will get you a big discount. Some societies are sponsored by local businesses, meaning you can get discounts around town. Most students join a few groups alongside their degree. Don't worry about trying everything in the first week – societies are keen for new people to get involved throughout the year, even if you're not a fresher.
- 12 subcommittees: these "super societies" are a bit different: the Union gives them a budget each year, and all students are automatically members, for free. This means you can host a radio show, go to design workshops, or attend debates, without ever worrying about membership.
This area includes Councils, School Presidents, class reps, the Rector, and the sabbs.
- Councils: if there's something you think the Union should change, support, or speak up against, all you need to do is tell Councils. It's formed of 38 elected students, who are always looking to support the student voice.
- School Presidents and class reps: if you have a problem with your degree or a specific module, tell these people. They have regular meetings with University management, and can enact change.
- Sabbs: a group of 6 students, who take a year out of studying to work full-time for the Union. The sabbs form half of the Union's management team, and do things like manage societies, organise Grad Ball, improve wellbeing, represent students to the University and the wider world, and make this website (hello!)
- Elections: in March every year, the streets are taken over by people campaigning to be elected to the above positions. Every student gets to vote, and St Andrews tends to get the highest turnout in the UK. Elections are a big thing here. This year we are also electing a new Rector in October, which only happens once every four years.
- Advocacy: the Students’ Association runs an advocacy service which can provide you with independent, non-directive, and completely confidential advice and support, in areas like academic appeals and landlord disputes. To access this service, email helphub@.
- Campaigns: each year the President and other sabbs run a number of campaigns. Past campaigns have included Detergent Insurgents, which got St Andrews halls the cheapest laundry in the UK, and GP Out of Hours, which helped to save the local GP out-of-hours service.
Most people use the Union as a study/meeting space, or go to the bars, but there's much more hidden around the building's three floors:
- Main Bar – diner by day, party by night. It has 2 pool tables, lots of TVs, and one of the cheapest food/drink menus in town.
- Sandy's Bar – named after the late Bar Manager, this is the cosiest place. It has sofas, a big projector, darts, and (once things are back to normal) weekly karaoke nights.
- Beacon Bar – on the top floor. It has a nice view of Market Street, and an even nicer cocktail menu.
- Club 601 – a big box, which we're hoping to use for daytime society events until nightclubs are allowed to reopen.
- The StAge – theatre seating, in front of a... Stage.
- The FiEld – a grass area behind the Union.
- Piazza – outside the front entrance and full of bike racks, this space has been used for cafe seating, karate demos, and a BBC radio broadcasting van.
- Bookable meeting spaces – 10 rooms, ranging from 4 to 100 capacity (in a normal year), which societies can use for meetings and events.
- Design Suite – once this reopens, it will have A3 printers, scanners, computers with Adobe software, and a guillotine.
- Darkroom – want to develop some film photos? Talk to PhotoSoc about using this space.
- Broadcast studio – want to host a radio show? Talk to STAR.
- Techbox – want to learn how to use industry-standard sound, lighting, and projection equipment? Talk to Ents Crew.