As I was directed up the stairs to the first floor of the Union and towards the Sabb offices, I realised how little I knew about the position of DoSDA (Director of Student Development and Activities). I knew it was something along the lines of working with societies, but my knowledge beyond that was limited. By the end of just one day shadowing Meg I realised what an essential part she plays to life in St Andrews.
From organising the 160-plus student-run societies and subcommittees to collaborating with the careers centre, the role of DoSDA is impressive. Meg spends her days dealing with members of the University and the town trying to organise events and smooth over any problems that may occur. She describes her week as being made up of “emails, meetings, events… and more emails!” and her iCal definitely proves this – I have never seen such a busy schedule!
Our day together kicks off with a tour of the Union. My knowledge of the building before this did not extend much beyond the Main Bar area and Venue 1, but there is a lot more going on inside this building than meets the eye. The first floor is a hive of activity; Meg shares an office with Jules Findlay (Director of Events and Services) and a goldfish, with whom she gets on well with. Jules, I mean, not the goldfish! She jokes that “Jules makes the money, and I spend it!” Meg adds that she does get on with all the other Sabbs and believes this to be crucial in a job where they work as a team day-to-day and then night-to-night. We make our way down the corridor, popping our heads in to meet all different types of important people. Meg works alongside members of the presidential team as well as locals of St Andrews. Her job seems to have no limits.
Over lunch, Meg explains to me all the exciting things that she has been up to this year. Her office of DoSDA seems to have come at an exciting time with the confirmation of the Union redevelopment, the NUS referendum and the infamous semester dates change. It has certainly been a busy year. She has laid a lot of groundwork for projects that will really come into their own next year.
Once back at the office, Meg’s afternoon is filled with meetings: a planning meeting with Music is Love; going over expenditure with Kelsey Gold, Charities Convenor; and then on to a meeting with the Google brand reps for the University. The three of them are working on events for Employability Week, which will hopefully include workshops and talks run by Google engineers.
Later this week Meg has plans to meet with Membership Solutions Limited, the software company behind the new Union website. With the help of MSL and image consultants, Meg hopes to launch the shiny new website this summer. This will hopefully be linked to a revamp of the old systems within the Union, which was one Meg’s main aims in her position as DoSDA.
As our day draws to a close, I ask Meg what her favourite moment of this past year has been. She struggles to put her finger on one single item and says instead that her favourite thing is the satisfaction of helping a group come up with ideas for an event and assisting them along the way with achieving funding and gaining recognition. Being able to see the “fruits of her labour” is what is really important to Meg. With the new elections coming up, Meg offers up some advice for any new candidates: “Be organised! But most importantly be creative and enjoy working with people.”
Meg has already secured herself with an internship with the University over the summer of 2013, where she will be working on a new, exciting but top-secret project. After that, the job search commences. From the looks of things, Meg Platt has had a fantastic year and her enthusiasm and dedication to her role is something we can all thank her for.