Let’s face it: the ballot system is outdated

What do you mean you don’t magically make 10 friends in Freshers’ Week?

events expensive overpriced st. andrews table

We’re back to ball season. Yes the dresses, yes the tuxes, it’s fun to feel fancy. However, a creeping problem is emerging in the midst of all these dinners and their after-parties. The application process for events like Fashion Show and the May Ball have left people with an odd-numbered friend group or, heaven forbid, a trio excluded from these events.

The table system is all well and good if you are in a DRA flat and conveniently don’t mind the kids next door. However, for most people in halls it is somewhat daunting to try and assemble a large group together with no guarantee they will all get on.

Speaking from experience, and the massively rushed application process that table ballots necessitate, you may also be put on a table that you very well don’t want to be on. Unfortunately, friends may be put on for that £100 May Ball ticket (say what?) and not actually have the means or the wants to do so. But, as with any friendship group, it can be difficult to learn how to say no. There’s also the issue with the £30 or so deposit, it’s hard to say no when you’ve already fronted that much before you’ve attended.

Moreover, the table ballot is often associated for a far more expensive ticket. Whilst it is understandable that dinner costs more than drinks alone, the level of price in St Andrews has reached a new high and a new lack of affordability. Take St Regulus’ Ball, at £25 per ticket for residents it sounds like a deal? However, it adds £45 to price if you are a non-resident, so it’s unlikely that any out-of-hall friends would even be able or willing to go.

To compare this to another, perhaps more realistic, university experience, the University of Manchester is known to charge less than £40 for a dinner ticket which will also donate money to charity. So, with events like May Ball increasingly driving up prices with the table-set up and forced deposits, it is unlikely that St Andrews students will be able to afford these trends much long.