Director of Student Development and Activities

Hi! I'm Gavin Sandford, your Director of Student Development and Activities (DoSDA) for 2020/21. I'm responsible for the Union's activities through societies and subcommittees, as well as extra-curricular development.


DoSDA 2020/21



St Andrews has a lot of societies (currently sitting at around 150). These cover everything from cultural/arts-based groups to things like medieval re-enactments, dog walking, and wilderness medicine. With the help of the Societies Committee, the Students’ Association and I are here to support and manage all of our affiliated societies. See the societies page for a full list. You can get involved in a society from as little as £3/year. Can't find what you’re looking for? Start your own!


Subcommittees are basically bigger societies that are managed by the Students’ Association. There are a few of them, and every student is automatically a member. You can find out more on the subcommittees page, or you can get involved in the yearly elections in March to run for a position.

As DoSDA, I manage a number of subcommittees:

Our Charities Campaign raises tens of thousands of pounds for charity every year through a number of different events including RACE2, CATWALK, RAG Week and more! This year they were nominated for Student Fundraising Group of the Year at the NaSFA awards, as well as winning the award for Event of the Year.

St Andrews Union Debating Society is the oldest of its kind in the world, founded in 1794. They hold weekly debates and training sessions for anyone who wants to get involved, as well as competing at an international level every year.

Saints LGBT+ is a social and wellbeing group for people in the LGBT+ community within St Andrews. They run campaigns and celebrations to highlight important issues such as Transfest, Queerfest, Pride, World AIDS Day and much more! Their wide array of events and support networks cater to all.

On The Rocks Festival is an entirely student-run arts festival incorporating art, photography, film, theatre, dance, fashion, music and comedy. It is the largest student-run arts festival in the UK.

PG Society is our branch of the Students’ Assiciation for Postgraduate Students. While all societies and subcommittees are open to postgrads, PG soc provides specific representation, events, and support to postgrads through their President, Academic Convenor, Development Officer, and committee.

SVS is the Union’s branch of volunteering for local projects in and around St Andrews. They run a wide variety of different projects which anyone is able to get involved in.

The BAME Students' Network is the newest subcommittee, and is here to represent all BAME students in St Andrews, as well as providing events, support, and a community for all of its members. They also oversee St Andrews Multicultural week, celebrating the cultural diversity of St Andrews.

Music Fund is the branch of the Students’ Association for music in St Andrews. They help to organise, fund and promote the wide array of Student music found in the town.

Mermaids Performing Arts fund is the student body for theatre, comedy, music, and other performing arts. Any student can propose a show that they want to put up, and Mermaids provide the funding, advice, expertise and enthusiasm to help you put on the show that you want.

The Societies Committee supports all of our 150+ affiliated student societies.


There’s a wide array of volunteering opportunities available to students in St Andrews, as a committee member of a society, Union subcommittee, or hall, or through the projects run by SVS or university departments. Most volunteering with the Union can be logged on our volunteering portal, and eventually go on your transcript!

Student development

There’s a number of different development opportunities available to students of the University, including workshops provided by CEED and the Careers Centre, and programmes such as the Professional Skills Curriculum (PSC), and Graduate Attributes. We also have a number of speakers brought in by university departments as well as student groups throughout the year.


The Students' Association provides a number of different funding opportunities for activities, such as specialist funds like Mermaids Performing Arts Fund, Music Fund, and Societies Committee Grants. You can also apply to the Student Project Fund (SPF) or Employability Fund for other student events.

University Challenge

I manage St Andrews' University Challenge team, with try-outs happening late in first semester. Keep an eye out if you want to get involved!