Paloma Paige

Manifesto - Paloma Paige

Association President

Check out Paloma's social media here.

External Relations:  

The relationship between the University of St Andrews, the St Andrews community, and other universities across the country should be characterised by collaboration and conversation.  I will be the kind of leader who has a strong vision but also is open-minded and willing to learn from others. However, we must not lose the qualities which make our university unique. In managing external relations, I will work to maintain the rich diversity among our student body and the breadth of opportunities available to them.

National Representation:

  • Brexit will bring many challenges to UK universities.  

    • Should EU students start paying fees, the university should support them as they would any other international student.  

    • Erasmus programs and other study abroad programs should be maintained.  

    • Together with the rest of the Sabbatical team, I will establish a forum which will develop plans and procedures for creating graduate opportunities in the EU, and likewise, avenues for international students to continue working in the UK.

    • I support continued collaborations with the NUS and active participation in Scottish Student President Forums.

Alumni:

  • By strengthening the relationship between alumni and the university/current students we can reinforce the global network of St Andreans which should transcend political borders.

  • In particular, alumni can help to increase the number and range of scholarships being offered to St Andrews students.  This will help mitigate the negative effects Brexit may have on the student experience while also building links between St Andrews students and other countries.

    • Specifically, I am enthusiastic about expanding the number and variety of corporate sponsorships which would open opportunities for work shadowing, summer internships and employability.  

Community Relations:

  • I will work with the Community Relations Officer to encourage student participation in community events and community engagement with student-led projects.

  • I will prioritise safety as an issue of concern not only for students but also for the wider St Andrews community.  Ensuring our students are aware and respectful of laws and other residents will improve the relationship the Students’ Association and university have with the town. Specifically, I will work with the DoWell to make Raisin and May Dip safe events which reinforce the positive traditions that make our university unique.

  • I will support the plans being developed by the university to redesign the health services provided to students. Specifically, introducing nurse triages and centralising information/resource directories in a digital app will help relieve stress on local GPs (reducing waiting times for everyone) and other university departments.  This will benefit both students and other town residents and thus be good for community relations

Strategic Plan for 2020:

The university has set out its Strategic Plan for 2020 but is still developing its implementation and is looking to student representatives for input.  This is a unique opportunity for the SA president to work with the university towards common goals, to reflect upon the history of the university so far and to shape its future.  I believe that the growth and progress set out in the Strategic Plan can have positive effects on students, however only if it is balanced and growth is scaled so that we do not lose our identity as a university.  The implementation of the Strategic Plan must first and foremost benefit the student experience, and I will work with the university to ensure that this is achieved.?

  • I believe that healthy growth is a natural course of action for a university.  However, in growing the student population we must also “scale up” the university's facilities

    • Specifically, I will work with the DoEd to maintain the amount of academic resources, tutorial/class sizes, and student/teacher ratios.  I will also work with the DoSDA to maintain resources for societies.

    • I will also take the lead in pushing for innovative designs for space usage.  Spaces in high demand such as study/social spaces, library space, common spaces in residences, and venues will need to be scaled up as well to meet the new number of students.

  • We should learn from other universities, for example by continuing to build upon the idea of “collaborative spaces" which are being used across the country as an innovative way to utilise the university’s spaces and the social environment in those spaces.

    • Redevelopments provide an exciting opportunity to reorganise the university "campus" in a way which makes the most effective use of space.  This fact in conjunction with the idea of “collaborative spaces” contribute to a vision for updating spaces across campus to meet the particular needs of St Andrews students.

Accommodation:

There need to be realistic expectations of any accommodation policy and acknowledgement that the SA President will have more meaningful influence in discussion with the university and Residential Business Services (RBS), rather than trying to act unilaterally.  I will not make unrealistic promises in my accommodation policy. However, I will advocate in the best interest of all students, not in the interest of business. I promise that I will push for balanced accommodation options which provide value-for-money.  There must also be consistency of resources so that whether you live in a Hall of Residence, a university-managed property or a private flat you should expect and receive the same quality of living experience.  

Halls of Residence

  • The wardennial system and Hall committees are being reviewed and changed by the university and we have a chance to influence what that change looks like. I believe that they are very important aspects of the Halls experience at St Andrews and that the core of the system needs to survive so that the welcoming culture and ‘feeling of home’ that Halls have are not lost. However, we should develop a support structure which draws upon the services of multiple departments, not only the wardennial teams.

  • I also believe that each hall is different and the new structure of the wardennial system and hall committees needs to being flexible enough to account for this.

  • I will encourage the mixing of postgrads and undergrads so that postgrads are available as mentors to younger students.  Currently this takes the form of the assistant wardens positions.  In the new wardennial system, I believe it will be important to retain this mentorship in Halls.

  • This year the sabbaticals have introduced the idea of allowing returning students to be “interns" on hall committee who would receive reduced accommodation fees in exchange for their work as mentors for younger students among other committee/related duties.  I believe this is an excellent way to offer students more affordable accommodation while also reinforcing the peer-support network within halls and encouraging the natural passing down of traditions particular to each hall.  I will work to further develop this model.

  • The catering in halls can be improved by introducing a flexible meal plan for more halls which would mean better value-for-money for residents who could then better control how they budget their money.  

Private Accommodation

  • I will develop a structure for peer-support.  By expanding on the rate-your-landlord poll, we can create a system of reviewing landlords and letting agencies which improves the student experience in private accommodation.

  • I will also work to provide workshops for academic families through which parents are encouraged to guide their children through the process of renting, thus easing the transition into private accommodation.

  • I will continue the work that is being done to inform students of their rights as renters and other legal matters any renter should be aware of in St Andrews.   

  • For students who commute to St Andrews, connections to the town centre are important so they can engage with the student community and Union events.  I will develop a forum which will aim to identify the needs of this group of students so that the SA can provide more support to this group of students.

  • I will increase the number of stops that the night bus makes so that it caters to more students who live in private accommodation as well as those who live in halls of residence.  ??

Environment:

I believe that the Union should strive to be as environmentally conscious and sustainably managed as the university is. The Union should also do more to keep up with the progress other local businesses have made in addressing this issue.  I will support expanding on existing university-run programmes, such as rewards for eco-friendly Raisin receipts and the Green Awards, as well as furthering collaboration between local initiatives and students.  Sustainability should be a guiding principle of the Union and I will take the lead in sending a clear and strong message that we support environmentally-friendly initiatives.

  • Rectors Cafe currently provides a discount for using your own reusable cup.  I will increase this discount, as well as awareness of the scheme, in order to encourage a reduction in wasted cups.

  • I will support the use of only biodegradable plastics and the introduction of more water fountains in the Union.

  • I will support increasing the number and variety of programmes currently run by the university which include the Green Awards, Interhall Energy Competition, and Green Raisin Competition so that they engage more students.  The Union should collaborate with the university is running and designing these programmes because there are many Union events and projects into which we can incorporate a sustainability element.

  • I will work with the DoEd to encourage incorporating into existing curriculum more topics which deal with environmental issues and solutions.  I will also work with the DoSDA to support career pathways into environment and sustainability sectors.

  • In halls of residence there should be an app which would allow people to notify staff of which meals they plan to attend the next day.  This will allow staff to more accurately plan the amount of food to cook each day and would help to reduce food waste.