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Going Out With A Plan

Students’ Association reveals strategy for 2023-27 academic years

The St Andrews Students’ Association has set out its long-term plan for the upcoming years, with a focus on improving its “systems of representation, activities and support” to enhance the student experience of the community. The nine-step dossier outlines the key tenets of the Students’ Association plans for development, and elaborates on its mission, vision, and sustainability goals.

The Strategic Plan written by the current sabbatical officers was announced to the public yesterday. It lays out the plan to “become an irreplaceable hub of world-class student activity, support, and representation.” To enrich the student experience, it intends to expand and diversify the provision of activities, services, and events, with an emphasis on creating a more balanced array of social activities to appeal to a wider range of students, with events to be decided upon subsequent to market research.

Sustainability is another core aspect to the Strategic Plan, manifesting itself in a commitment to the environment through the reduction of waste and the association’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint, with the goal to be halfway to achieving Carbon Net Zero by the end of 2027, the latest date within the bounds of this current Strategic Plan. The Association also plans to address the sustainability of its business model and staffing structure, with the stated goal of becoming a Real Wage Employer and continuing flexibility on zero-hours contracts to become the best employer in town for students working part-time jobs.

The Association is also targeting its volunteer development, attempting to make volunteer programmes more inclusive and increase the value that the volunteer programme provides in terms of both professional and personal development. It aims to deliver a reward framework that recognises and motivates student volunteers for both their exceptional and day-to-day achievements, all further incentivising students to engage with the Association and the Student Union for their social, academic, professional, and pastoral needs.

The Strategic Plan concludes by setting out its goals and the metrics by which it will measure its success, both in the short-term and the long-term. By the end of 2023, it intends to have an effective staff structure that increases staff numbers to ensure the workloads of staff and sabbatical officers are sustainable. It also plans to sign a long-term partnership agreement with the University outlining its joint priorities for the next four years, and review student engagement with and participation in elections. By the end of 2024, it plans to have an effective Postgraduate Engagement system with zero unfulfilled postgraduate representation roles, a system which will be led by a PG Sabbatical Officer; become a Real Wage employer and ensure that at least 75% of students polled will be aware of the support on offer from the Student’s Association.

By the end of 2025 it hopes to establish partnerships with nine other Student’s Associations across Scotland, thereby enhancing knowledge exchange; see that 75% of students asked will agree that the Student’s Association strongly advocates for environmental sustainability within the University and at a national level, achieve an election turnout of 40%, with no uncontested positions, crucial to ensuring the quality of the Sabbatical Officers as well as their accurately reflecting the views and desires of the student body as a whole.

This is a more ambitious aim than the one set out by the 2023/24 Association President, Barry Will, who told The Saint that he hopes to see a 30% headline turnout “at the end of my time”.

Its goals for the end of 2026 include achieving total financial sustainability, as well as hoping that 80% of Undergraduate and Postgraduate students agree that the Student’s Association represents them well and caters to their needs, and 80% of officers and subcommittee members will feel that the training offered to them by the Association has enabled them to perform their roles to a high standard. The Strategic Plan outlines the Student’s Associations goals for the coming years to become a hub for student life and activity and the Student Body’s first port of call for much of their day-to-day life in St Andrews.

Photo: University of St Andrews Students' Association

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