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Manifesto Analysis: AU President


Athletics Union Presidential candidate Olivia King has put forward a manifesto which looks to champion her values of longevity, inclusivity and versatility — cleverly, an acronym of her nickname, Liv. Running uncontested, Olivia is a fourth-year physics student with multiple years experience on the AU executive committee and Student Sport Team (SST); she has been a member of multiple sports societies throughout her time at St Andrews, varying from netball to dance. While her manifesto is colourful, easy to read and clearly presented, and prioritises pertinent issues such as helping smaller, struggling clubs and increasing accessibility across the AU, in certain areas her aims are undefined and lacking in planned direction. 


In her first section, King emphasises the importance of empowering sports clubs to retain their members. Continuing to make her mini manifesto easy to read, she bolds attractive buzzwords related to her platform throughout, such as “sustainability” (which refers not to environmentalism but to maintaining membership numbers), “robust committees”, and “support”. 

King’s message revolves heavily around the idea that she wants student athletes’ concerns to be heard and addressed. This is a reassuring promise, but could have been built upon further — King lists points of action that she will strive to accomplish during her tenure but does not go into detail about exactly how. Notably, she expresses that she plans to continue the legacy of former AU presidents Fiona Waddell and Ailsa Martin, without specifying what aspect of their work she agrees with and will take inspiration from. The fact that some of the former two presidents’ initiatives did not come to fruition makes King’s aims more unclear. Her goals for longevity in sports clubs are promising if she has strategies in mind for how to go about them.


The next facet of King’s platform focused on engaging more students in athletics and making them feel welcome in the sports community. She declares a zero tolerance stance on discriminatory behaviour, saying she will do everything in her power to “enforce this policy”, but does not disclose the steps she will take to do so or how she will establish a policy in the first place.

King improves on the pattern of leaving the ‘how’ of her goals unaddressed in the next few points on inclusivity. She wishes to expand the recreational sports programme at the University by having at least two free recreational sport sessions a week. Her vision for a ‘Saints Weekly Workout’ is also more detailed. She hopes to lessen the intimidating atmosphere that gyms often have by encouraging gym-goers to try a certain workout routine for the week. King describes actionable ways that the weekly workout will be advertised so that students can be made aware that everyone is welcome to participate. This initiative has the potential to make gym culture at the University a more cohesive community if well publicised. Finally, King briefly introduces the idea of holding a sports fayre at the beginning of the second semester so that people feel comfortable joining a sport regardless of their experience level. 


Under ‘versatility’, the promotion of skills to create well-rounded athletes is encouraged. King’s manifesto makes clear the need to increase the pace of the AU’s response to student issues. This acknowledges the need for the AU to adapt its operations to better respond to student needs. Her determination to introduce reduced fees for those joining sports clubs later on in the academic year or a semester is applaudable, looking to increase the appeal of university sport for those who find their extracurriculars slower than others. She will also endeavour to spread the word on bursaries and discounts for club or gym memberships. However, the meaning of her mission to have students lead a ‘versatile lifestyle within the St Andrews sporting ground’ is unclear, and overlooks students who belong to clubs compelled to use facilities far out of town, due to closures or lack of resources. 


King’s intentions as the uncontested AU Presidential candidate are well-meaning. However, King largely fails to clarify how she will bring the intentions of her manifesto to fruition, and a lack of specificity diminishes the impact of an otherwise hopeful manifesto. As some pages in the manifesto appear to be aesthetic filler, there was room for King to expound on her methodology for moving forward with her proposed initiatives. There was no recognition of the recent closure of the athletics track or solutions presented for the lack of an easily accessible swimming pool. This being said, if King is able to improve on athletics at the University in the ways she promises, hers will be a productive tenure.

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