The Community Relations Officer is the primary point of contact at the Students' Association for local residents. As well as sitting on the SRC, their role consists of being the representative for all students with regards to community matters. In order to fulfil this role, they sit on a number of local committees.
St Andrews is a small town that plays host to a large and diverse community. It is inevitable that issues of contention arise which are perpetuated by negative student stereotypes. The Community Relations group is here to aid in breaking down these stereotypes by ensuring that issues arise less frequently and are dealt with appropriately when they do. By aiming to have community-wide, rather than just student-wide initiatives, we hope to facilitate communication and interaction amongst all residents.
We aim to provide information to new students regarding road safety and settling into a new town. Additionally, it is important to inform returning students who are perhaps moving into private accommodation about the importance of being a respectful neighbour. Ensuring that student events such as Freshers’ Week, Raisin Weekend, and May Dip cause as little disruption to local residents as possible is another vital aspect of our role.
We work with societies and subcommittees to increase the number of activities carried out with the involvement of the local community.
The Community Council is one of the most vocal local committees, which consists of twenty elected board members and the four Fife councillors. The Community Relations Officer and the Students' Association President sit on the council to ensure that students are fairly represented as members of the community. The meetings are monthly, at 7pm on the first Monday of the month, in the Burgh Chambers of St Andrews Town Hall.
The St Andrews Preservation Trust plays an important role within the local community. Since its foundation in 1937, it has pledged to preserve the buildings, character, and history of St Andrews for future generations. The Community Relations Officer is responsible for liaising with the Trust, and working together for the benefit of the town.
We have previously campaigned on bike lights to ensure the safety of cyclists at night. Noise pollution at night had been of concern to local residents, therefore there was an initiative working with students and businesses to reduce noise after 9pm. The Community Relations subcommittee has worked with local shops to encourage students to buy locally.
In addition, we have worked with the Students' Association and SRC Accommodation Officer to prevent changes to HMO licenses affecting students in private flats. The St Andrews Day celebrations have also been a large part of our work over the past couple of years. This has been a great event to support, and to allow student groups to be involved in.