How to get involved in the groups that host St Andrews’ best events
Welcome to St Andrews!
By now, you have likely noticed that it’s not exactly the biggest town in the world. Perhaps you’ve already walked the entirety of our three streets and wondered whether there is in fact anything to do here that doesn’t involve a golf club.
Luckily, despite these first appearances, university life here is beyond packed with things to do. With the 601 as our only attempt at a nightclub, students have taken it upon themselves to provide their own entertainment, and this events-based social culture is one of St Andrews’ best idiosyncrasies. There’s a plethora of brilliant groups, societies and events collectives which host some of St Andrews’ most coveted events - the daunting thing is knowing how to get involved with them. As a taster, The Saint has compiled a (completely non-exhaustive) list of some of the groups to sign up to if you’re wanting to attend balls, club nights, and trips away.
BPM Music Collective
If it’s good nightlife you’re after, BPM is the place to start. An established local collective which hosts monthly high-energy events with a diverse range of music - from R&B and Hip Hop to Grime and Soultronic House - BPM seeks to fulfil the needs of ‘those craving a dynamic, internationally-influenced scene in a small Scottish town’. This year, the group is planning their biggest event to-date: ‘Collision’ seeks to bring together St Andrews DJs and creatives, and promises a night of eclectic music and artistic displays. All of BPM’s events can be attended simply by purchasing a ticket; however, if you’re looking to get more involved, the group encourages all aspiring DJs, creative directors, photographers and videographers to join them via the application form on their social media pages.
It’s a bold claim that attendance at a traditional Scottish country dancing society will bag you a ticket to one of the year’s best balls: however, the Caledonian Society’s polished events are the closest you’ll ever get to feeling like you’re in Bridgerton. Held once a semester in the grounds of Fingask Castle, the society promises ticket-holders a drinks reception and formal dinner followed by a high-energy night of reeling, accompanied live by the ‘illustrious’ Super Grouse band. A ticket to one of the society’s balls is best secured by attendance at their weekly dance practices on Tuesday evenings, which will this year be kicked off with their sunset ‘Beach Reels’ event, held on West Sands on 6th September.
Joining one of St Andrews’ many sports societies is one of the best ways to get involved in a whole range of events: the sports teams certainly don’t limit themselves to training sessions. Whether that involves team pres for the union’s monthly Sinners nights; biweekly climbing and hiking trips to nearby munros with the Climbing and Mountaineering society; or taking part in Taekwondo society’s charity kickathon or Dance society’s charity dance-off, is up to you.
EmpowHER Galentines Ball
One of St Andrews’ most welcoming societies, EmpowHER aims at ‘empowering women and people comfortable in a feminine space to lead healthy and well rounded lives’. Their weekly group workouts and socials are events in and of themselves; however it’s their Galentines Ball which makes membership to this society so worthwhile. Held just prior to Valentine’s day, the group promises that this year’s event will be bigger (and more affordable) than ever: an opportunity to drink cocktails and dance the night away with your friends that’s hard to turn down!
St Andrews Snowsports (SAS) Ski Trip
If by Christmas you’re beginning to feel a little claustrophobic, SAS provides the perfect opportunity for escape. This year SAS promises ‘both early morning powder and late night partying’ as the group heads to the Alps for what will be their first full-scale trip since before the pandemic. Undoubtedly this will ensure that the trip is more riotous than ever, with the group known for their ability to shred both on the slopes and the dancefloor. Open to all levels of skiers and snowboarders, if you’re looking to brush up on your skills before the trip then sign up for their weekly trips, lessons, and team training sessions!
Activism and Fundraising Groups
Charity fundraisers are some of St Andrews’ biggest name events: from the iconic Welly Ball, to weekly pub quizzes, to fashion shows. This year’s calendar is no different, packed full of events hosted by groups fundraising for various causes. The Lumsden Club is hosting ‘Pimms: Refilled’, a garden party at Earlshall Castle on 17th September which promises a final taste of summer following their success last year. Women for Women St Andrews seeks to celebrate their 10th anniversary with sea swims, ceilidhs, dance-a-thons and picnics. The newly-founded Sikh Society will be fundraising in order to host Langar on Campus at the Chaplaincy in Semester 2, which will provide a free Indian vegetarian meal to all interested students and residents. If activism is more your thing, groups such as the Foreign Affairs Society and UN St Andrews host regular pub quizzes and speaker events - last year, UNStA hosted the chair of the UNA Scotland Dorothea Christiana. All such events will be widely circulated on social media, but the groups are always seeking to recruit new members so keep an eye out throughout Freshers’ week.
Finally, a great place to get your first taste of all that the St Andrews events scene has to offer is Starfields, the all-day music festival hosted by FS. On 10th September, Starfields will round off Freshers’ week on Lower College Lawn. Last year’s early-bird tickets sold out in under a minute, and previous shows have been headlined by popular acts such as Matoma, Cheat Codes, Jax Jones, and Klingande: an exciting and popular way to celebrate the start of the academic year!
Image: Ollie Grimes