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Athletic Union President

Hi! I'm Jess Smith, your Athletic Union President for 2021/22.


Athletic Union President 2020/21




For more insight about the AU President Role please review the prepared Information Pack.

About my role

I'm in charge of student sport at the University, encompassing club sport, recreational sport, and both national and international representation.

I was elected by the student body to represent them across all sporting platforms, both within the University and across the national stage. The AU President oversees governance and strategy for student sport, and looks at the role of sport within the University.

This covers a range of issues, from competitive and recreational sport, to events and wellbeing. I have an office in both the Students' Association and the Athletic Union. Feel free to drop me an email or check out the website for more details!



The AU President oversees all governance and strategy of student sport within St Andrews. They advise and assist clubs when they have issues or need financial assistance. The AU President also assists with competitive sport within British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), and Scottish Student Sport (SSS).


The AU President is involved with the Saints Sport recreation programmes such as Hall Sports. They also arrange the give-it-a-go sessions and the Sports Fayre in Orientation Week, allowing students to meet the clubs and get to know the sport if they are beginners.


The President provides assistance and advice to athletes at the highest level of sport, allowing them to continue their elite development in line with their academic studies.

External relations

University relations

The AU President sits on both the Athletic Union and Students' Association Boards, and liaises with the Director of Sport, making major decisions about how sport is run at the University.

National representation

The AU President represents the University within BUCS and SSS, as well as sports’ national governing bodies (NGBs).

Alumni and events

Alumni Festival Weekend

The AU President, along with the Saints Sport team, help to bring a programme of sport to the Alumni Festival Weekend in April, as well as hosting the nationally acclaimed Rugby 7s tournament, which sees 7s teams from all over the UK competing.


Working alongside their Dundee counterpart, the AU President plans the Dundee-St Andrews varsity matches which take place in semester 1 each year.


Working with the DoES and the AU Events Team, the AU President helps to plan and run the infamous sports-themed nights held in Club 601.

My manifesto pledges

You can read my full manifesto here.

As President of the Trampoline and Gymnastics Club my main goal was working towards a development plan. This covered all aspects of the club; from coaching to fundraising to socials. In its production I consulted the committee, coaches and ordinary members so that all perspectives were considered. I will use this experience to work with every committee to make sure they have a development plan for their club.

To help form these development plans I want to set up committee forums that are centred around discussion of intra-club issues and best practice sharing. These forums would happen with only several clubs at a time allowing everyone a chance to talk. It is easy being on a committee and thinking it is only your club that is struggling, but it is likely that another committee has faced the same issues as your club. These forums will be a great way to use the expertise of other committees in your own development. Furthermore, I also think it will be beneficial for committees as a support network and to remind you that you are doing a great job!

As AU President I want to bring all clubs together to discuss the strengths and issues of the AU. Whilst no President can promise a solution to all problems within a year, I hope by bringing clubs together and identifying common problems we can take this information back to the wider Saints Sport team and identify what we can solve within the academic year and what we can start solving for the future. I hope this will allow clubs to have faith that the AU is listening to our problems and actively working to fix them, even if it can’t happen within a year.

Transparency is the word that all candidates love during elections and everyone else hates. I think more can be done to make it clear how decisions are being made within Saints Sport to build confidence that the AU is working in the best way for all clubs. However, I want to focus on building transparency between AU clubs, especially around training times. Rather than being worried training times will be taken away from clubs that have little turn out for particular sessions, I want to foster an environment in which clubs feel comfortable sharing that information so we can investigate interclub sessions. This would allow clubs to get access to more training time whilst not disadvantaging another club. I also think encouraging inter-club sessions can be great for club development and could allow clubs to have access to more strength and conditioning time.

I would also make a clear open-door policy, publicising when I am available and in the office each day so that people can pop by whenever they want.

I have spent two years on the Student Sport Team working as part of the Volunteering and Engagement Team. As a team we have instituted the new Wellbeing Officer position, pushed to have volunteering achievements more easily recognised on HEAR transcripts and have ran lots of campaigns promoting wellbeing, awareness and promoting engagement such as the University Mental Health Day celebration at the end of last academic year. Wellbeing is a common theme in manifestos and the AU has made massive strides in wellbeing provision. My experience on the SST gives me a unique position to push this further. I want to work with the Union, particularly members of the SRC and Association to improve engagement with the AU and also to get the outsider perspective on what we can do to build your teams and encourage more people to take part in sport!

I will also work with the DoSDA to improve engagement with the Saints Leader programme by making it more focussed on issues that clubs face.

I want to create an environment in which we are not just celebrating competition success. I will set up a ‘what your club has been up to’ social media and email blast in which all clubs will have the opportunity to send in a sentence or two about something fab that has been going on, whether that’s the club has just qualified some new coaches, had competition success or have done lots of boring admin that will help the club run better! I would like to share this with the Saints Sport staff so they can see all the fantastic work that goes on behind the scenes with your clubs.


Previous holders

Year Name Resources
2021/22 Jess Smith


2020/21 Sophie Tyler


2019/20 Leah Allcock


2018/19 Fiona Murray


2017/18 Tom Abbott


2016/17 Ben Peddie


2015/16 Sarah Thompson


2014/15 Sarah Thompson


2013/14 Jess Walker


2012/13 Emily Griffiths


2011/12 Andrew Hall