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Manifesto Analysis: Director of Wellbeing and Equality

CAITLIN RIDGWAY


Ms Ridgway is seeking re-election after serving as the Director of Wellbeing and Equality for 2023-2024. In the past year she has worked on initiatives supporting student sex workers, sustainable period product distribution, and the creation of Saints Solidarity to advocate for fighting abuse and harassment. In her term as DoWell, St Andrews became the first UK University to be awarded the EmilyTest Charter Award which recognises ongoing work to prevent gender-based violence. Her re-election campaign focuses on tackling community and wellbeing safety and advocating for activism campaigns. With a successful track-record, Ridgway is a promising candidate with achievable goals that are likely to have a considerable impact. 


Community

Ms Ridgway has a variety of aims targeting awareness in our community. One of these aims is to advocate for the implementation of the SafeZone app. Ms Ridgway believes this app will create a secure and responsive network to respond to students in unsafe situations of any form and continue to strengthen her Report + Support project. Elsewhere, other major community-driven objectives in her campaign include addressing spiking, possibly providing test kits for students for drug harm reduction, and continue to advance her existing work in student sex work awareness training. Notably, however, Ridgway lacks a focus on the representation of diversity, which forms one of the core responsibilities of DoWell. 


Health & Wellbeing

Ms Ridgway prioritises sexual health. She wants to make STI Testing popups and abortion more accessible and to keep students educated on their access options to these services. Ridgway also wants to continue to work with academic staff to adjust policies involving academic alerts to be more sensitive to student wellbeing and prioritise inclusivity.


Activism

Ms Ridgway believes the Union should represent an active, representative body that provides tools for students to stand up for what they believe in. Upon re-election, Ms Ridgway wishes to produce an accessible online guide to student activism and how to work with the Students’ Association and University to organise action and vigils, a goal which is pertinent to the community in St Andrews. She also wishes to continue developing Saints Solidarity to fight abuse, harassment and discrimination to develop bystander awareness training. 


LAUREN "LO" BURNETT


Dubbing themselves the “neurodivergent gender-funky queer” candidate, Lauren Burnett hosts a wealth of experience both within and out with St Andrews. Their two-year term as DRAFP Mental Health Rep and Senior Student included achievements such as the implementation of ‘Raisin Aftercare’ and anonymous condom distribution. Out with St Andrews, they are active within Girlguiding Scotland, becoming a Speak Out Champion, advocating on a national level for the inclusion of girls and women in politics and policy change. Moreover, they have previously advocated for sustainable period products during a Community Action Trip in Lesotho, and in East Lothian. While Burnett leans heavily into pragmatism, their objectives lack interesting and practical initiatives, rarely going beyond greater communication, information, or training.


Collaboration


Burnett wishes to collaborate with diversity and inclusivity based committees to cultivate further collaboration and coalition between the groups, to allow events and projects to function with greater intersectionality. While Burnett’s aims seek to cultivate greater communication between these marginalised communities, her aims are admittedly vague and this section is considerably brief.


Support


Burnett acknowledges the rising loss of faith in Student Services, particularly in Student Conduct. Burnett wishes to work with Student Conduct and FRASAC (Fife Rape and Sexual Assault Centre), alongside focussing on the voices and experiences of students. While Burnett wishes to repair the views on the service and nurture greater trust, their objectives again lack specificity. Elsewhere, Burnett wishes to reinvigorate existing training for elected representatives, focussing on training that deals with sensitive conversations. Burnett also seeks to implement more widespread and accessible resources and training on topics such as bystander training, sexual harassment, and mental health first aid, ensuring these are available to all students. 


Accessibility 


Burnett seeks to encourage greater accessibility in various ways. They want to ensure university events are wheelchair accessible, alongside advocating for the inclusion of image descriptions on the University and Union’s social media accounts. They also aim to create NHS workshops in order to deliver guidance and resources on the NHS, specifically on how to register with a GP, though this does not seem to be a pressing issue for international students who will have carefully considered all matters before moving to the UK. Burnett also wishes to enhance period product distribution across St Andrews, hoping to secure the presence of period products in buildings outside of the Union, student accommodation, and Main Library.


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