SABBS: Year in Review

Joe Tantillo: Association Chair What does your role involve? I’ve been the Association Chair which involves a number of things; probably the smallest of which is actually chairing meetings. Most […]

Joe Tantillo: Association Chair

What does your role involve?

I’ve been the Association Chair which involves a number of things; probably the smallest of which is actually chairing meetings. Most of my time is spent going through the minutes, keeping the laws up to date, and serving as an impartial advisor to SABBS and other positions. I help people work through the system of the union and of Scottish charity law which regulates what we’re able to do.

Have you enjoyed the role?

Yeah I really have, it’s been interesting because I’ve been able to help a lot more students that I thought I would.

Would you recommend the role?

For sure; it can sometimes be a bit tedious with all the reading through material and learning the legal speak but it’s really rewarding.

What’s been your highlight of the year?

I think our ability to have shorter, more productive meetings. Having been involved in the association since my first year, it’s nice to be in there for an hour rather than four or five, which used to be common practice.

What would you do differently?

I would have liked to train councillors more comprehensively, which I’m now working on with Ondrej. I think you come in with all these grand ideas about what you want to do but really one year is such a short time, so without really well done training it’s hard for people to know what they’re going to be able to accomplish.

How would you explain the union simply to people?

The union should be seen in two facets: if you split it down the middle the way it is in Councils you’ve got ‘activities’ on one side and ‘representation’ on the other. So the union is a bar and a place to come and do debates and theatre and things like that, but the representational side is so much more. The union collectively is the power of the students and it is our legally recognised ability to stand up to the university and say ‘hey this is what we want, this is what we’re looking for’.

You and Ali West were the brains behind ‘That’s Union’- tell me about that; how do you think it went?

I would love to see something like it happen again. Of course in its infancy it’s going to run into issues here and there; overall I’m pleased with how it worked. It was an awareness campaign about the union and people were talking about it. Some people didn’t like it, some people did, but hey, they’re still talking about it.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done at a union party?

I’ve done a lot of embarrassing things at union parties. Most of them were probably last year when Frozen had just come out and I would perform the songs for people.





Leon O’ Rourke: Director of Events and Services

What does your role involve?

I’m Director of Events and Services which is the most commercially based part of the sabbatical team. I deal with all events, from Freshers’ Week to Grad Ball. I do your day to day bar events and get to shape the entertainment schedule of the union, as well as being a facilitator when other groups want to put on their own events.

The services are more of an input thing; you have a lot of input in the way that the bars, café and shop are run. You’re not in charge but we do get a lot of input about what events we want to put on and what prices we think are reasonable. Being a member of the Board of Trustees, you can have a really important role in the directional structures that we go through.

Have you enjoyed the role?

Definitely; with any job you’re always going to have good days and bad days, but the good have definitely outnumbered the bad.

Would you recommend the role?

I would but I’d say it’s not just for someone who likes organising events or putting on one ball. Putting on a ball is an amazing achievement but it’s nothing like what this job is. Talking to my predecessors this job is the one that takes people most by surprise in terms of what is expected from you. You are very much the hub of commercial activity in the union. That can be amazing pressure: to achieve everything financially but also to be doing everything for students and keeping it as cheap as possible.

If you could have your year again is there anything you’d do differently?

There are little things. I’d love to encourage people to run their own events more. We’ve been limited in union space, especially in semester two so that’s limited the number of events I’ve been able to put on.

What is your proudest memory?

Standing at the back of the stage during Freshers’ Week and looking out at the crowds. I had this amazing sense of satisfaction and happiness watching other people have fun. That entire week was something really special. I got to perform alongside my comedy idol Jon Richardson. I think this year I’ve set up a really good connection with Comedy Central Live, which we’ve never had before. It should make it much easier for us to get good comedians in the future.

What do you like about St Andrews?

Well, this is my sixth year here, five year degree and then being DoEs so I love this place. It’s so different from everywhere else I’ve been, it’s almost got something magic about it. The people make this place, there’s such incredible diversity, and everyone has an opinion.

What’s your favourite memory from St Andrews?

I think this year has been one of my best. You’re thrown out of this world of being a kid, I mean I hardly went to lectures, and now I’ve had a full time job. So yeah, I think Freshers’ Week 2014 is my favourite memory.




Fay Morrice: Director of Student Development and Activities

What does your job involve?

So the role is split into development and activities, the larger part being activities because we’ve got over 150 societies and then all the big sub- committees. Everyone is doing so many things all the time, which is what makes St Andrews amazing. There’s very little in the town itself so people make their own fun. I primarily support the subcommittees of the union but I also help with the societies committee.

Then the development side of the role: I work with career centre CAPOD, which is very broad but it involves things like getting the career centre to do phone appointments which is a big step forward. For me development means making sure that those who are involved in student activities are developing themselves through that.

Have you enjoyed the role?

Yes! It’s been a completely mixed bag in terms of business and craziness. You start in July and everything’s quiet for three months and you prepare but then you get to September and everything goes absolutely mad. There’s a small lull in September but it already feels like we’re in the build up to the end of the year.

Would you recommend the role?

Yes, obviously I ran for it because I think it’s the most fun. I like meeting people so it’s been a great role for me because you get to do a bit of everything. I’m on the finance committee of the Board which is mental and great.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you had your year again?

Yes, I was warned about it and didn’t completely take it on board, but you have to plan what you want to achieve in the summer. It’s really hard when all the undergrads get back to actually find time for planning and this semester’s gone really quickly.

I think my biggest disappointment was the employability conference as the attendance wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. I think that was maybe timing because it was near Christmas and everyone was ready to go home. That would be the one thing I’d change, to try and make that work better.

Is there a thing you’re most proud of?

Well, my roles quite managerial so it’s been really good to oversee everyone running their events and societies really well. For me personally, moving back into the union with the development of the top floors was really exciting. Also, I put together a welcome book for the freshers which was really fun and I think really helped.

Do you have a favourite memory from St Andrews?

Performing with Blind Mirth has been amazing, going to the Fringe with them and being involved in plays in general.

What do you like about St Andrews?

I like that everything is student run; that students are just doing what they like. Also, the fact that we have so many pubs to choose from is great; especially that the union has three and that they’re all so different.





Sarah Thompson: AU President


What does you role involve?

In its broadest sense the job description is basically ‘develop student sport’, so it’s a blank page which I love about the role. This year I’ve been working on volunteering: the volunteer recognition scheme and international volunteering as well. We’ve been working really closely with our partners in South Africa on the project where we send out student coaches to develop sporting opportunities.

We’ve been doing a lot of alumni work, working with individual clubs to set up their own alumni, something we haven’t done a lot of before. I’ve been trying to make everything more open and accessible. We’ve got the newsletter going out, we’re trying to develop social media which I would love to see grow because I think it’s an area we fall down on. We do a lot of fantastic things but we’re not so good at singing our own praises.

Have you enjoyed it?

Absolutely loved it, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed anything as much, and sport is definitely an area that I want to stay in after this. It’s an incredible opportunity.

Have you faced any struggles within the role or is there anything you’d do differently?

Not necessarily anything I’d do differently but kit has been quite a big problem. We changed kit supplier this time last year and there have been a number of problems that I inherited, but we’ve all done our best to make it work. We now have a new kit supplier so hopefully we’ll have a much better relationship and we’re doing it direct rather than going through a third party, so that will make it a lot smoother.

What are you most proud of from this year?

The colour run was amazing! It was a fun run in Freshers’ Week that was a great success and harnessed a lot of energy. It’s been great to see all the teams do so well: a couple of weeks ago we had about twelve teams through in the Bucks cup and trophy matches. We’re such a small university but competing on a big scale.

What do you like about St Andrews?

The people. It’s such a unique place and the people definitely make it, although the traditions are also great. I’ve tried to explain May Dip and Raisin to other uni friends and they just don’t get it. It’s such a quirky little place.

Do you have a proudest sporting moment for yourself?

Not for myself but I play rugby, which has been a struggling club over the last few years and this year they are about to win the league. This journey has really made university for me. I got involved in second year, so you can always get involved whoever you are whenever. I used to do no sport but now it’s the area that I want to work in.



Ondrej Hajda: Director or Representation

What does your job involve?

I oversee four areas within the student association: education, student wellbeing, equal opportunities, and democracy. That’s the union side of it. Then the university side is sitting on the university court and I’m a trustee of the university.

Have you enjoyed the role?

It’s been fantastic, probably the best eight months of my life. I had low moments but it’s been a great experience. When else would a 22 year old have direct access to the senior management of the university or be a trustee of the third oldest English speaking university of the world? It’s an incredible opportunity.

So you’d recommend the role?


If you had your time again what would you do differently?

Semester one was very hectic and I struggled to find the balance between helping other people with their projects and delivering on my own manifesto. There are certain projects I started, for example on study space, I wish I had more time to work on because it’s still a big problem.

This year I struggled with the area of equal opportunities and I don’t think I’ve done enough. The role is so huge, it’s hard to do everything, and I prioritised the education side of the role. Having said that, I’m really pleased to have got the volunteer recognition scheme going and it will be launched fully in September.

What’s the achievement you’re proudest of this year?

I’ve really enjoyed working with school presidents and class reps; they’re incredibly passionate and seeing them make changes on the school level was very rewarding. I’m also very proud of this year’s elections and the number of people who have put themselves forward, which is more than ever before. I’m glad to see so many people wanting to make a difference.

What’s your favourite thing about St Andrews?

I think the community and the possibility of talking to people anywhere you go. It’s not just students but also staff as well, I like being able to go to Tesco and to chat with the Dean of Science.

Do you have a favourite memory from your time here?

Well, I still have one more year to make memories but I just can’t tell you- there’s too many. I love elections, I loved running myself. It was very stressful but I loved talking to everyone; although I would advise everyone to sleep and eat and not get too stressed.

Good luck to all running!



Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.