“I feel like an afterthought”: freshers placed in postgraduate housing

Photo credit: Remi Mathis

The University has been forced to put some new students in postgraduate housing because of a shortage of accommodation.

More than 60 undergraduate students have unexpectedly been told they will now live in Gannochy House this year alongside the usual postgraduate tenants. One, Mauro Parada, said he “didn’t know Gannochy House existed” until he received his offer.

Concerns have previously been raised about a lack of accommodation. Last year the University had to place new students in the postgraduate residence Eden Court, and in April it took the unusual step of offering to release returning students from their accommodation contracts to free up space. In addition, Fife Park is undergoing redevelopment at a temporary cost of 162 beds.

This year the University has created three- and four-person bedrooms to handle the demand, while students within commuting distance have not been allocated places.

Some of the incoming freshers have expressed concern over living in Gannochy alongside older students.

Devyn Powell said: “This is just my opinion, but I can’t say I’m all that happy about it. I was really excited while I was waiting for accommodation to be released, but once I was put into Gannochy I felt a little slighted. I called up accommodation services and they assured me that 62 other undergraduates would be in the same situation as me, but the fact remains that it’s still meant to be postgraduate housing.

“I was hoping for a larger group of undergraduates to interact with in my housing, and it’s not all that heartening to find out that we have to represent St Salvator’s in Freshers’ Week events like Clan Warfare. Our lack of hall spirit is only going to lead to less unity between Gannochy students in comparison to other undergraduate halls.

“I’m trying not to be too negative about it – I’m still excited – but it seems like a poorly planned way to make sure everyone gets accommodation. I almost feel like an afterthought.”

Some students are happier, however. Jonah Levy, another fresher who will be moving into Gannochy, said: “I couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s worked out; I was initially unnerved because I assumed Gannochy was a postgraduate accommodation, but after finding out the situation, I am very glad.”

Ellen Gilbert, who is in the same situation, said: “Beforehand I hadn’t really read much or heard very much about Gannochy, but I’m quite happy to be placed there. I’m only in accommodation like that for a year, and as long as there are other undergraduates there and a good friendly feel then I’m happy to stay. It might not be the prettiest building, but all that matters is that to me is that I got into the University!”

Gannochy House is located next to and managed by St Salvator’s Hall. Its undergraduate residents will be provided with catered meals in St Salvator’s, and will be included in St Salvator’s events.

A spokesperson for the University said: “The decision to place undergraduate students in Gannochy House was considered essential in order to cover the increased demand for accommodation for undergraduate students, as work to replace Fife Park accommodation is ongoing.

“There is no question of students staying in Gannochy House having an inferior hall experience. Gannochy House has always been managed as part of St Salvator’s Hall. It is 20 yards from the main building with access to the same facilities and a shared community.”


  1. And what about the postgrads who have to live with the noise and late night habits of freshers? Why are their views not represented?
    First years should be allowed to be first years but put them in close quarters with postgrads and it will be the latter who suffer the most disruption.
    No mention that 62 incoming postgrads will have to have found alternative accommodation either.
    Gannochy house has never “been managed as part of St Salvator’s Hall”. Up until this year it was postgraduate residents only, it had a separate social budget, it’s own common room and laundry room. Access to St Salvator’s was for package collection only!

    Perhaps the reporter might like a follow up to get the real story, just ask people who lived in Gannochy previously.

    • I am not sure that is entirely true. Originally Gannochy was part of Sallies and did house UG’s, but this was many years ago. The porters do serve both buildings and as you say control the mail, but the twice daily time slots for parcel collection are the only access students from Gannochy have to Sallies. I am assuming the arrangements of the last year where some PG’s dined at Deans Court as part of their package is not continuing, but if they offered UG’s the option of catering at Sallies this might make them feel more integrated.

      The laundry room is very small, but you do have 24 hour access, although the machines used to break down a lot. However you can check online when they are free. When I was there the common room was pretty much just a drinking den with nothing else much happening, but if you want to drop in in and watch tv there is usually someone there to chat to.

      It is a poor second to Sallies, Regs etc. but compared to accommodation on offer at other universities it is just fine. Like a lot of St Andrews accommodation it just needs refurbished, which has been planned for a while but won’t be happening anytime soon. It is better than Albany though and you are right next to everything….when concerts and events are on in the Younger Hall you can hear them, and from some of the side windows even get a good view into the hall.

  2. Disappointing lack of foresight by the university, but not surprising. The accommodation situation in St Andrews is the most significant problem facing the university (and the town), but no one seems to be trying to resolve it.

    As for the postgraduates, I’m sure they’ll cope. They always managed in DRA/FP, which had mixes of years and ugrads/pgrads.

    Curious that the university website says Gannochy House only has 24 single bedrooms, though?

  3. It’s amazing how the university runs into the same problem every single year. As if more evidence were needed that it prioritises squeezing every last penny out of its students over providing for their needs or welfare.

  4. Gannochy house is pretty grim (why can’t they just give it a bright lick of paint?), with new PG students frequently complaining about the outdated quality of many of the kitchens. The common room is tiny, and whilst some money was spent upgrading it in the last year, it is a hall which is notorious for non-existent community spirit and very lazy/dis-engaged wardenial staff. Mixing in PG’s and UG’s is not going to help that, but it is close to everything which is a big advantage and is also cheap. If you are lucky with the other students in the section then it can work out quite well and after a while you will look over some of the more obvious downsides. The high ratio of students to kitchen (as high as 11:1) in some areas can go either way, but means evening meal times are hectic and food always tends to disappear from fridges.

    The cleaner Mags is one of the loveliest people you will ever meet and is something of a legend!

    Not the best solution for all concerned, but I expect the students will get along just fine, and from my experience PG students can be pretty noisy themselves.

  5. Well that explains a lot in regards to the postgrad accommodation disaster this year. Thanks to Fife Park demolished, Eden Court given to undergrads, most of Gannochy given to undergrads, there’s a hell of a lot of postgrad now living in Dundee and other places out of town. If you are in St Andrews only for a year (and most posgrads are), then this is really bad because it essentially takes away the St Andrews experience.

  6. I’m not sure how the experience of undergrads in Gannochy will be too much different to that of students living in the St Regs annexe… an experience many Regs residents absolutely loved! The meal times and social events are one of the key aspects of hall life, and it seems like these things will be provided by Sallies…. perhaps this isn’t an ideal solution to a wider housing problem in St Andrews which needs solving, but it’s hardly a terrible idea either.

  7. Someone has said that Gannochy is “cheap”. I’m not sure about PG, but undergrads are paying the same price as all the other “pretty” halls, which is probably what upsets me the most.
    Anyway, situation can’t be helped.


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