Manifesto - Nick Farrer
Director of Wellbeing (DoWell)
Check out Nick's social media here.
WHO I AM
I love St Andrews, but like many of us I’ve not always had the easiest time here - I’ve struggled with fitting in, with terrible landlords and accommodation with jobs which gloss over the law, and I’ve met a great deal of people with a great deal of problems that I think we can solve. I want to leave this town in a better condition than when I came to it.
For years I’ve been privileged enough to volunteer with groups working hard to improve student wellbeing in this town. I’ve worked inside the Union, chairing then sitting on the Wellbeing Subcommittee for nearly eighteen months acting as the last SRC Wellbeing Officer and the Interim Chair of the Wellbeing Committee, delivering events and campaigns emphasising mental health awareness, physical & sexual health, and emotional wellbeing. I’ve worked outside the Union, as an intern at Student Services, and as a volunteer and Director of St Andrews Nightline, delivering frontline support at difficult hours to difficult experiences. I’ve served on the hall committee for Albany Park, I was the Wellbeing rep for the School of English, and I’m now proudly coordinating Peer Support. The remits of the DoWell, like the wellbeing support systems at this university, are often complicated - but after four years of leadership and after four years of seeing what works and what doesn’t, I can confidently put forward an action plan. With the support of the student body, I want to take everything I’ve learned rectifying these problems, and attempt to stop them at the root.
At the end of my tenure as Director of St Andrews Nightline in 2017:
- The Nightline Association shortlisted St Andrews Nightline for three awards: Nightline of the Year, Best Volunteer Training and Support, and Most Improved Nightline.
- We nurtured a substantial rise in usage from the prior year.
- We had revised our practices to explicitly allow non-binary people to volunteer, whereas before we advertised one male and one female volunteer available each night.
As SRC Wellbeing Officer, I successfully delivered Mental Health Awareness Week despite being co-opted late in the year and other committee resignations before I assumed the position.
When the Wellbeing Subcommittee was constitutionally leaderless between the dissolution of the SRC Wellbeing Officer role in March 2017 and the DoWell’s introduction in the summer, I stepped up and assumed responsibility when no one else was able to. I acted as the Interim Chair of the Wellbeing Subcommittee during that period of instability, and coordinated the search, interviews, recruitment, and initial organisation for the current committee.
As an Intern at Student Services, I compiled a guide and advice for working students and students subsisting on a low income.
As one of the Peer Support Coordinators this year, I’ve continued to sit on the Wellbeing Subcommittee and assist it, and I’ve been able to deliver abridged Peer Support training on active listening & signposting to the Saints LGBT+ and Mermaids committees with the current DoWell, Claire. I hope to continue offering this training to more groups for the rest of the academic year.
I’ll strongly support mental health:
- I’ll lobby Holyrood for a mental health crisis team in Fife
Edinburgh and Glasgow have a team dedicated to emergency situations rooted in mental health issues. In St Andrews, this job is often done by University Out of Hours and St Andrews Nightline. They do fantastic work, I intend to lobby for parity with the President.
- I’ll continue and create events in the Union to allow people to meet each other and cut loneliness.
- I’ll continue to personally deliver abridged Peer Support training on active listening and signposting to societies and committees, as well as facilitating cooperation and links between Peer Support and other groups, such as academic mentors.
- I’ll support and work with Student Services, Saints LGBT+, St Andrews Nightline, Sexpression, Peer Support & Got Consent, Lifelong & Flexible Learners, Postgrad Soc, and the Wellbeing Subcommittee generally; and I’ll argue for better provisions for all of them.
I’ll combat predatory behaviour by Landlords
- I’ll invite Citizens Advice Bureau Outreach into the Union, as Dundee’s Student Union does, and encourage awareness of the service so that tenants can access specialised advice to fight illegal behaviour.
- I’ll revive the Housing & Landlord reviewing website, allowing students to rate their experience, and inviting landlords and agents to respond. I would welcome cooperation with the Rector’s committee.
- Wherever possible, I’ll back the Rector’s policies on housing
I’ll tackle harassment in the Union and around town
- In cooperation with the DoES and Got Consent, I’ll create a campaign and training similar to the ‘Ask for Angela’ or ‘Angel Shot’ campaigns so our bar and security staff are even better equipped to help those in distress, and students are better informed of their options. I’ll aim to offer the same resources and training to other bars in town.
- I’ll strongly support Got Consent, particularly their efforts to host workshops for different societies and sports clubs.
I’ll add a Relationship education & Communication aspect to Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance Week.
I’ll campaign for greater sexual health provisions, such as more STI testing clinics in town
I’ll lobby Student Services for more Night Bus service during revision and exams
I will strongly support the Equal Opportunities committee
- I’ll help every individual member find, organise and run working groups for their projects so they can achieve as much of their manifesto as possible.
- I’ll run workshops to better equip them for representing their constituents in Union Councils meetings
I’ll work hard to support the new Cultural Societies Forum
- Pangea in 2018 will be the biggest and best it has been.
I’ll fight for greater protections for students in part time work to combat wage theft and harassment in the workplace
- I’ll revive the employment guide, so we can inform workers of their legal rights, how to defend them, what help to get, and where to get it.
- I’ll invite Citizens Advice Bureau Outreach into the Union, as Dundee’s Student Union does, and encourage awareness of the service so that workers can access specialised advice.
For students from lower income backgrounds:
- I’ll make sure the voices of those who already find studying at St Andrews prohibitively expensive are represented during the University’s long term planning meetings.
- I’ll advocate for all students from an access background, or are first generation, or are employed part time whilst Councils restructures the Member for Widening Access & Participation
- With Student Services, Ambassadors, and the Member for Widening Access & Participation, work on collaborative solutions on how we creatively target union investment and energy to make St Andrews more inclusive.
For international students, I’ll create guides encouraging societies to extend their presence on social networks like Weibo, and show how this can be accomplished with minimum effort.
For our Democracy, primarily I’ll make councils more accountable, accessible. and relevant to students.
- I’ll create an online channel to allow students to suggest motions to the Union so that representatives can choose to build on the ideas submitted.
- We’ll have monthly “town halls” with Sabbaticals and a rotating selection of Councils members to open ourselves up to questions and suggestions
- I’ll restore the Wellbeing Subcommittee’s voice on councils by creating a motion to introduce an SRC Member for Mental Health Awareness (or perhaps an SRC Elected Member to the Wellbeing Subcommittee)
- I’ll argue for changing the remit for Member for Widening Access & Participation, so it doesn’t encroach on Ambassadors, instead advocating for voices not represented on councils - for all students from access backgrounds, or who work part time, or are first generation.
Allow School President and Class Rep candidates to campaign in select areas around school buildings where there is agreement from the student body, the staff of the School, and there exists appropriate University owned space.
My own office will always have an open door policy to everyone.