Hannah Shiblaq and Ilaria Freccia asked St Andrews students what they think the best events of the semester have been and why.
In honour of reaching the end of the first ‘real’ semester in several years, we thought it would be appropriate to rundown the top events of the semester by asking none other than St Andrews’ students themselves.
We took to the streets (and instagram) in order to ask students what exactly it is that they are looking for in an event, and which events they think have been this semester’s most successful. The following is therefore based off of highly-scientific research done outside the main library in the pouring rain and via The Saint’s instagram stories.
Whilst there have been several notable interruptions to this semester's event schedule - notably the death of Her Majesty the Queen in September - following the past few years of COVID restrictions, this semester marked the resurgence of many of St Andrews’ staple events, which returned in their full glory for the first time since 2019.
When asked about their favourite kinds of events, 39% of students said pub crawls, 36% said balls, 17% said club nights, and 8% said launch parties.
Whilst not frequently officially organised, pub crawls are one of the most popular forms of ‘going out’ that St Andrews is able to offer, as indicated by the massive queues outside Molly’s every weekday night. Unlike most organised events, the biggest advantage of pub crawls is the absence of an entry fee. When going to the union, a ball, or a club, tickets can cost anything from £5 to £40 - plus a £2 coat check fee, money spent on drinks, and the occasional taxi fee.
With one of the highest concentrations of pubs of anywhere in the world, pub crawls have also proven an excellent way for Freshers to be able to get to know St Andrews and settle in during their first semester here. Beyond the games of pub golf or ‘ou est le poulet’, predominantly people head to the pub to have a chill night with friends, to listen to live music, or to play cards. No matter what, it’s an easy, fun, and affordable way to have fun with friends and a staple of any true St Andrews university experience.
The second most popular type of event was balls: another staple of the St Andrews experience. The biggest balls of the semester have been the Kate Kennedy Opening Ball, Welly Ball, and the Caledonian Society Reeling Ball, as well as the upcoming Mermaids Christmas Ball. Although they usually come at a much steeper price, balls are always a fun chance to dress up and leave town for the night. If you are lucky enough to get one, the dinner tables at balls are another perk with ‘free’ alcohol and a meal that far surpasses most students’ culinary skill and certainly the quality of hall food. Although balls can be ludicrously expensive, much of the money benefits charities that directly impact the broader community.
Club nights were the third most popular type of event overall. Specifically, interviewed students mentioned BPM, Halloween’s Fright Night, and Siloween.
“I think BPM for the good energy, good people, and then the music’s always really good”, said one first-year student.
They told us that the DJs which play at BPM are always top-quality “and then there’s always an after party going on, so normally everybody just moves on to that and we end up having a much later night than normal”.
Another first year commended Fright Night because of the multitude of attendees in the 601, something that they feel makes the night even more fun compared to sparser, lesser-known events.
A pair of third years enthusiastically advocated for Siloween, commenting on the music and sound system, despite being “devastated” by the absence of the tip bus – a psychedelic bus covered in drawings for guests to hang out in.
All in all, this semester brought a wide range of events, and while some are evidently more popular than others, going out remains an integral part of social life at St Andrews. Some annual, returning events remain the favourites of many students, while other debuts have managed to fight their way to the top of others’ lists. It’s undoubtedly been a sensational semester in terms of events, with the student community bouncing back from COVID bigger and better than ever before.
Illustration: Olivia Jones