I first got involved with the union without realising when I started auditioning for plays funded and supported by Mermaids. I then (nearly) attended the Christmas Ball that first Christmas and heard a lot of wonderful things about it being one of the best balls of the year. In second year, I managed to make it along, and it was a brilliant night! I decided to run for the position of Social Convenor in my third year having stayed involved with all things Mermaids-y, and got the position as I ran uncontested. The position has now been renamed Ball Convenor, because there wasn’t much time for any other social events with all the organisation of the ball. I also got a hoody from being on that committee! The zip broke, but I enjoyed the sense of belonging and involvement.
After I had got involved with Mermaids and sat on a union subcommittee (“big” societies of which everyone is a member), I started to get to know the workings of the union and appreciated the sense of community. As soon as you start getting involved with one specific area, you become aware of the huge amounts of activity going on around you. You might meet the head of another subcommittee who has a network of around 200 people volunteering their time for a great cause, and you may meet some of those people, and this happens over and over again, so you get to know loads of connected and passionate people.
In my final year, I ran for the SRC (Students’ Representative Council) Member for Students with Disabilities having watched people struggle. I thought the university could be doing more and that the union could persuade them to by bringing up the issues and suggesting fixes. By being an SRC Member, I got to sit on the SRC, one of the two Association councils and by sitting in that room of elected students, everyone gets to have a say in small and big things, from the colour of hoodies to changing the way the union runs.
I am now the Director of Student Development and Activities (another uncontested position!) and I line manage a lot of the subcommittees. I also work with CAPOD on our joint professional skills curriculum and the employability conference.
I encourage everyone to get involved! You can make actual changes about how the union runs. You also get to hear about what is going on in the aspects of the union/university that you would never normally know! I learn about the community, our priorities for the environment, what subcommittees are up to (so much!) and endless other things. I will leave St Andrews with a hugely rounded vision of what our university, union and community are doing.
Written by Fay Morrice - Director of Student Development & Activities