Manifesto - James Hall
Director of Student Development & Activities (DoSDA)
Check out James' social media here.
I’m James Hall and I want to be your next Director of Student Development and Activities!
Over the last 4 years, I’ve learned just as much from extracurricular activities as I have from lectures. I’ve been Vice-President and Box Office Manager for Mermaids, Treasurer for Comedy Society, and Glitterball Convener for Saints LGBT+. Outside the Union, I’ve also worked for the Byre Theatre and represented the University across Scotland as a University Ambassador.
All these experiences have enriched my time in St Andrews and I’ve truly appreciated the amazing opportunities our Union and University can offer, but I’ve also had the chance to see where these opportunities can be improved. As Director of Student Development and Activities, I will be dedicated to ensuring all students have the resources they need to make the most of their time here, too!
Keeping You Connected
Sabbatical Officers are elected to represent you for a full year, but communication declines from the end of campaign week. I want to ensure two-way communication remains strong throughout my term of office.
I will hold advertised office hours both in the Union and in other University buildings, such as on the North Haugh. These will be consistently held both during the day and in the evening, since society business doesn’t just occur from 9-5.
I will collaborate with the other Sabbatical Officers to extend the transparency and communication between the team and students by organising visits to every hall of residence each semester. I will increase publicity of the ‘Free Fruit Friday’ initiative and expand it to areas outside the Union as another informal but effective way of connecting with students.
I will collaborate with the other Sabbatical Officers and the Marketing Team to move away from the Union’s reliance on Facebook and email. I’ll better utilise our other social media platforms to keep you updated on what activities are happening in our Union. I will also use these platforms to make our roles more transparent; for instance, using Instagram Stories to show the Sabbs’ day-to-day activities.
I will collaborate with the Union Marketing Team to revamp the online society events calendar, placing it in a more prominent position on the Union website. I will encourage all societies and subcommittees to use the calendar so a full weekly guide can be produced.
Supporting Your Society
Every society and subcommittee knows how they work best. I want to ensure societies are well-trained, well-supported, and well-connected from the start so the year, so they can get on focus on their aims and doing what they do!
I will offer to meet with every society at the start of the next academic year, so I can learn exactly what each society does and how they work. These meetings will allow societies to find out exactly what the Union can offer them, allow me to find out how I can best support them, and open a direct line of communication for the year. I will also use this time to remind society members that they can speak to me about any society issues in confidence.
I will create a centralised database of society positions so the Societies Committee and I can ensure all relevant information is shared directly with individual committee members, as well as society email accounts, to streamline communication.
I will work with the Societies Committee to overhaul Society Training.I would move the annual all-societies training sessions to the end of the second semester, so new presidents, treasurers and health and safety officers can be trained immediately after their election in preparation for the next year.
I will make society training more comprehensive, and offer optional in-depth training sessions on society-specific topics. For example, a marketing workshop in collaboration with the Design Team, and advice on event organisation with the Director of Events and Services. I will also collaborate with CAPOD to ensure their group training opportunities, such as team building, are better publicised to all societies.
I will work with the Societies Committee to update and improve the resources available to societies online. Although the societies committee run regular office hours, it is reassuring to have a comprehensive guide available at any time. I will also improve the design of the Union website to make these resources easier to find than is currently possible.
I will create semesterly forums where presidents of like-minded societies can discuss any common issues, share best practices, and network to facilitate future collaborations.
Recognising Your Contributions
During my time at University I’ve volunteered a lot of my time within the Union, but it can be hard to substantiate this. I want to ensure all the work you do outside of studies can be recognised just as easily as your degree.
- I will introduce a ‘Union Transcript’ - a certificate of all your involvement with the Union which can be obtained upon request at graduation. By using the society contact database, it will be possible to create a verifiable record of all the society positions you held during your time at University.
- I will collaborate with the Athletics Union President to improve the Volunteer Recognition Scheme operated by the Athletics Union and the Students’ Association. The current system of logging volunteer hours is cumbersome. I would work to simplify this process; for example, by allowing society heads to log all the committee members present at a meeting in one go, rather than everyone logging their hours individually. Simplifications like this would allow the scheme to be rolled out to more student groups over a shorter time frame.
- I will introduce more rewards, such as complimentary food during shifts, Rector’s vouchers and free Bop tickets, for the volunteers who work extended hours during Freshers’ and Refreshers’ Weeks and other busy periods.
- I will work with the University to create proper archives for subcommittees and societies. Alumni greatly appreciate the chance to revisit their former work and current students can learn much from previous practice. It would be fantastic for all societies to have the opportunity to use archived material as part of their celebrations when they reach important milestones.
- I will collaborate with the Director of Education to reintroduce the Scott Lang Dinner. This dinner offers students the chance to invite a staff member they admire or wish to thank to a joint dinner and allows staff and students to discuss their work in a environment outside the lecture theatre.
For Your Future
It is important to use your time at University to prepare for life outside ‘the Bubble’. I want to ensure that the Union and the Careers Centre offer you the maximum number of opportunities to do so.
- I will collaborate with the Director of Wellbeing to expand the personal development and training available to individuals and societies. For instance, offering more First Aid Training and more Mental Health Training, such as Active Listening, through societies and subcommittees and at open sessions.
- I will work with subcommittees to better represent non-traditional career paths, as was recently achieved in Careers Week. I will collaborate with the Careers Centre, particularly with the new incoming Director, to expand the range of subject-specific Careers Fairs that are held.
- I will create a dedicated fund for societies to bring in speakers specific to their interests, which aren’t currently covered by Careers Fairs.
- I will collaborate with the Careers Centre to introduce society-specific CV writing workshops on how to include your extra curricular experience on your CV to the greatest effect.
In short, I will be dedicated to helping you and your societies get the most from our Union and your time at University.