First Years Officer

Hi! I'm Helena Austin, your SRC First Years Officer for 2021/22.

ha64@

@standrewsfreshers

First Years Officer 2020/21

Helena Austin

About my position

As First Years Officer, I support freshers’ integration into the University. My commitment begins at the start of summer and continues throughout the following year to answer questions, maintain social media, provide valuable information on societies, sports and accommodation, and to foster a sense of connection.

How my position affects you

Over the summer I will be freshers’ first point of contact for all things related to student life at university. I will represent freshers on the SRC and Equal Opportunities subcommittee. Here, I will present concerns raised by first years that require discussion and possible solutions. With the stress of the pandemic, I understand that first years may be more anxious about starting university. I hope to minimize this and be a reliable, stabilising resource.

About me

I am a third year studying International Relations and Modern History. I was born in Glasgow, but have lived in various parts of the world. My family home is currently in Seattle, Washington, in the US. I love the outdoors, hiking and camping as well as spending time with friends. I was motivated to be First Years Officer because of how the pandemic really limited the beginning of my university experience. I want to make this year’s Freshers feel more at ease, especially during these unsettling times.

Groups I work with

I sit on the SRC and the Equal Opportunities subcommmittee.

I also run @standrewsfreshers, and moderate the Class of 2025 group.

My manifesto pledges

Read my full manifesto, and follow my campaign page for updates.

Before a student sets foot on campus, I want to support their information needs and reach out to make meaningful connections. This is particularly important given the increased anxiety students may be facing as a result of Covid-19.

I will monitor @standrewsfreshers and the Class of 2025 group, and facilitate Facebook Messenger group chats. I will also hold forums on Microsoft Teams for private and confidential questions and answers.

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought additional stress to every student’s life, and no doubt many incoming first years will have concerns about how the virus may affect them. I will provide up-to-date information on Covid-19 for first years. I will also be hosting a video series that provides a current student perspective of St Andrews, featuring various aspects of campus life.

Transitioning from home to university can be overwhelming. I want to promote the emotional health and wellbeing resources that are available at St Andrews. I will actively highlight the multiple resources on campus that are accessible for support.

I will also share plans on Freshers’ Week to give a more informed idea of what to expect before arriving on campus.

St Andrews should be known as a welcoming environment for all students. My commitment to diversity through this role is that all students will feel included and a vital part of the St Andrews community. I want to advertise the diverse societies available to students.

I will also be implementing a buddy system for anyone who would like to be linked with a fellow student from their home country. The aim is to provide additional support for first years as they make the cultural transition not only to university, but for many St Andrews students, to a new country.

Want my job?

This position is elected in March each year. It's a voluntary position taking 5-10 hours per week, from April to March. Any matriculated student is eligible to stand for election, unless graduating.

The aim of the role is to prepare first years for arrival to St Andrews, to represent them, and to deal with any relevant issues throughout the year.

If you are considering this role, get in touch with the current holder or their line manager (DoWell) to ask any questions.

  • Liaise with societies on first year outreach.
  • Provide information through social media on all aspects of St Andrews life.
  • Represent and inform first years on academic issues such as advising and course credits.
  • Be a point of contact for first years throughout the year, especially over summer before they arrive.
  • Sit on the Students' Representative Council (SRC) and Equal Opportunities subcommittee.
  • Unlike most roles, the bulk of your work will take place over summer. Introduce yourself to incoming students, and help them get to know each other through group chats and intro posts.
  • Liaise with societies and subcommittees to connect them with incoming students.
  • Remain active and responsive on social media, to answer questions from any incoming or first year students.
  • Volunteer as much as possible during Freshers' Week.
  • Ask to be made a moderator of the year's Facebook group.
  • Update the Union's info hub for incoming students: yourunion.net/freshers.
  • Enthusiastic
  • Approachable
  • Punctual
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Active on social media
  • Desire to address the concerns of incoming students and first years

Through holding this position, you will meet a large and diverse group of students, and have a significant positive impact on their student experience. It's a great opportunity to develop your communication and organisational skills. Hours spent working on this role count towards a Volunteering Award, which is listed on your academic transcript.

Previous holders

Year Name Resources
2021/22 Helena Austin

Manifesto

Page

2020/21 Maitreyi Tusharika

Manifesto

Page

2019/20 Polina Sevastyanova
2018/19 Avery Kitchens Page
2017/18 Hyewon Han
2016/17 Sam Ross
2015/16 Holly Johnston
2014/15 Jo Boon
2013/14 Joshua Carlton
2012/13 Ben Anderson
2011/12 Will Lord