I think we can make the St Andrews student experience better from within. I believe that these ideas are achievable and are actionable from within the University.
A Student-led Housing Co-operative
- We should tackle exorbitant rent rates for students by laying the groundwork to form a student led housing co-operative. University accommodation would be governed by a board of student tenants. This structure would have an asset lock, ensuring that all revenues raised from accommodation go towards providing accommodation. Rent increases would need to be approved by the tenant board.
- Finding a part-time job in St Andrews is difficult. That’s why we should work to provide in-house entrepreneurs who can inspire and nurture students to set up businesses or charities during their time here. This new ambassadorial and mentoring role will complement the work of the careers centre by inspiring and nurturing the aspiring entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The in-house entrepreneur will also connect with alumni who have real world business expertise and the access they can provide to various sectors will help to facilitate new networking relationships with national and international enterprise. We can also promote University “spin-outs” through this policy which will provide an extra source of revenue for the University. There are currently a number of mechanisms which promote entrepreneurship in St Andrews and this policy should provide a common focus for those involved in the pre-existing mechanisms.
Alumni career fair
- For the vast majority of people, their time in St Andrews is fondly remembered. St Andrews already has strong alumni relations and students will be able to capitalise on this under my presidency. We should organise an alumni careers fair which will invite former students to meet face-to-face with students and promote graduate roles for the companies wherein they now work.
SME career events
- Large, well established companies at times seem to have a monopoly on recruiting bright young graduates. We should rebalance this by reaching out to smaller organisations who don’t have the resources on their own to organise major events. Having more alumni and SME careers events will allow for greater diversity in the sectors who employ graduates and will give students in St Andrews more choice about what they want to do post-graduation.
Tackling the Attainment Gap
- We all know that wealth and income inequality has an impact on the education of everyone in our society – both in Scotland and beyond. This university must do what it can to inspire potential students into applying to here. I propose that every High School Student in North East Fife should be invited to a University Open Day designed especially for them. This should nudge students who wouldn’t otherwise consider studying at St Andrews to do so.
- Widening access doesn’t only apply to young people, we must also encourage prospective mature students to come to St Andrews. I will support the formation of a university run nursery with a view to making St Andrews more accessible to prospective students with family commitments that they would otherwise struggle to manage.
- As a student of Sustainable Development, I believe that going about our business in a way which doesn’t destroy the planet is of paramount importance. Sustainability must be ingrained into everything we do and I will work with all areas of the University and with as many societies a possible to help this ancient institution to be the most forward-thinking on the sustainability front.
As the spokesperson for the student body in St Andrews, I pledge to speak out in support not only of our student body, but of the common good.
As president, I will be vocal in my opposition to exiting the European Union
- Brexit is the number one threat to higher education in the UK. Leaving the European Union will jeopardise research funding and reduce the capacity of the university to be a key player on the international stage. If our university’s prestige is damaged by Brexit, so too will all of our futures.
- As it stands, St Andrews attracts the brightest minds from across the EU. They should not be treated as bargaining chips in the Article 50 negotiations. Furthermore, there should be no change to the tuition fees arrangement for EU citizens studying in Scotland.
Getting better deals for students
- We should seek to strengthen ties with SMEs in the area. We should make them aware of the potential opportunities for collaboration. This means helping them to engage with the student body through all of the University’s activities.
Getting the best deal from Government
- Through my political experience, I have developed good relationships with many influential people. As president, I will use my relationships with MPs, MSPs and Councillors to communicate the university’s interests to them. I have already agreed to meet up to once per fortnight with Andy Collins, the Green Party candidate for St Andrews in the upcoming elections, should he be elected in May.
A Strong Voice against Right-Wing Populism
- There has been a worrying global trend towards right-wing populism in recent years. This effects students at this university who could be subjected to prejudice and discrimination. Furthermore, if the anti-migrant sentiment that we currently see is allowed to continue, the impact on all of our futures is jeopardised.