St Andrews celebrates its 602nd birthday with a massive ball

So unlike us

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St Andrews is turning 602 this November and is going to celebrate with cake, fireworks, and a G&T reception at the Fellowship’s ball.

It’s a milestone that few other institutions have reached, St Andrews being the third oldest in the English-speaking world.

Throughout its history, St Andrews has seen over half a thousand years of pier walks, Raisin Weekends and May Dips, the immaculate PH a testament to our predecessors’ dedication to avoiding treading upon its stones.

Now, for their third annual ball, the Fellowship of St Andrews is faced with the monumental task of throwing a birthday party to celebrate over six centuries of history.

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Here we go

According to Dylan O’Brien, the Fellowship’s Head of Charities, the Fellowship aims to depict a more down-to-earth St Andrews through their 602 ball without deviating from our black tie tradition.

Alice Lecointe, the Ball Convener, told The Stand: “The ball has always been about celebrating St Andrews, and 602 will be about sharing this excitement and the incredible legacy we are a part of.” To promote inclusivity, 602 will be free of tiered pricing, dinner ballots or secret ticket sales. 

The Fellowship seeks to include as many people as possible as they count down to the “midnight reveal when the university symbolically turns 602.” 

This sense of egalitarianism (combined with the 1000 discounted tickets that the Fellowship provided courtesy of those £5-off wristbands), illustrates the inclusiveness that the organisation was founded upon. In Dylan’s words: “It’s nice to have these events that celebrate the luxury of St Andrews, but what we’re really hoping to celebrate is the more ‘normal’ things about the uni.”

Alice elaborates: “Our aim for this year is to mingle past and present in every aspect of the ball. Once again, the ball will take place on Lower College Lawn, so you’ll be partying away on one of our uni’s most historical locations while being greeted with one of Fife’s finest gins.

“We have tried to incorporate the St Andrews skyline into aspects of our marketing, and it will most certainly be making an appearance on the night.”

12027230_932593946822267_6478669923969666736_oThe Fellowship’s choice of charity further contributes to their goal of creating a more accessible St Andrews. Class Gift, established in 2009, selects a local cause to support each year.

This year, one hundred percent of the money raised by Class Gift will go towards the Students’ Association Bursary, which provides financial aid to students who otherwise could not afford to attend the university. Rather than needing to reapply every year, selected students are supported throughout all four years at St Andrews, ensuring they will not find themselves left alone after only a year with financial aid.

As a member of Class Gift, Dylan acts as a liaison between the two organisations, which he feels compliment each other perfectly. Both seek to unite the university, placing all of its students on an equal playing field, while at the same time celebrating what makes St Andrews unique.

The Fellowship has incorporated scores of local business and talent, in accordance to their mission of uniting the town and the gown. Eden Mill, a local brewery, will be providing gin, and Cottage Kitchen will likely be offering up a range of sweet treats for the second year in a row. 

Also returning from last year’s ball is DJ Staley Sharples, aka Kalliope, a fourth year student at St Andrews. DONT WALK DJs Dan and Stuart will be closing off the night, following the up and coming band Blues Society, Alice promises, “to keep you on your feet.” The main act is yet to be announced, though both Alice and Dylan assure us that it will be an impressive one.

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Last year’s ball

To give people a glimpse of things to come (and convince any wristband-less people to get their hands on the few remaining tickets), the Fellowship will be hosting a launch night at the Vic this Tuesday, DJed by another local talent, Asquire.

Guests can expect £2 entry and a special £3 602 cocktail, which Alice reveals will be gin based (of course) with a strawberry liquor twist: “As well as our Eden Mill sponsorship deal we are also working with Caorunn Gin, and both will be making an appearance on the night!”

Being a registered not-for-profit, the Fellowship aims to put 100% of its profits back into St Andrews. The money raised by this ball firstly help to fund the annual St Andrews Day celebrations, a weekend of over 60 events meant to celebrate the town and its history. A fixed percentage of the profits will then go towards Class Gift, as well as whatever may be left over (ideally, quite a lot).

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Everything looked stunning

A ball is, admittedly, a cornerstone of St Andrean society.

In the case of Class Gift, Dylan says, we’ll see the effects of the charitable donation throughout the town: “The money could be supporting your friend, your roommate, the person sitting next to you in a lecture. It can really change somebody’s life coming here, change the lives of their friends and family and their future husbands or wives and kids. You can change the lives of many people, just by throwing a ball and getting people to come and have a good night.”

With these plans in mind, can we expect many more years of birthday bashes, starting with next year’s 603?

Alice confirms this: “Absolutely. The idea of an evolving name just fits perfectly with our celebrating St Andrews’ birthday, and we want the name to encapsulate just how lucky we are to be part of these past few centuries of history.”

Tickets can be bought online here.

Watch their video here (posted by The Fellowship of St Andrews).

Photos courtesy of Tribe photographer Sia Mehta and 602’s Facebook page.