The University of St Andrews has come top in Scotland and 3rd in the UK in a new league table which ranks universities on the strength of their student clubs and societies.
St Andrews was singled out for the breadth of its extra-curricular activities and the range of its charitable work – students at the Fife institution regularly raise over £100,000 a year for local and international charities.
St Andrews has over 140 different societies and clubs ranging from broad established groups such as the Mermaids theatrical group to the more precisely focused Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Appreciation Society.
The Appreciation Society, which does exactly what it says on the wrapper, achieved brief fame in 1987 when the Poet Laureate Ted Hughes gifted student members a poem written on the back of his biscuit wrapper. The wrapper, minus wafer, later sold at auction for £575.
St Andrews students have also won plaudits for their fundraising skills. Their annual Charities Campaign consistently raises over £100,000 through the work of clubs and societies.
The Award judges said: “The Students’ Association at St Andrews have cleverly implemented a unique system whereby there are nine sub-committees, or ‘super-societies’, of which all students are members – something you won’t see in every university.
“Without paying any fees to join, any student can get involved at any time – whether that be performing in a show or getting involved in some voluntary work. These include ‘Music is Love’, STAR (St Andrews Radio) and SVS (St Andrews Voluntary Service). Also, The University of St Andrews is home to over 140 different societies, ranging from food and drink to charitable, from ‘fan and geek’ to political.
“St Andrews manage to raise over £100,000 per year for three different charities solely through societies and sub-committees. All of these elements combined allow for such a diverse group of people to come together and enjoy their time at St Andrews, while also providing a service to society and a contribution to charities, making them well worthy of a third place in our ranking.”
University of St Andrews Proctor and Vice-Principal, Professor Lorna Milne, who has overall responsibility for the student experience at St Andrews, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the scale and variety of clubs and societies here have been recognized by this award – it’s a real credit to our students and the Students’ Association.
“We pride ourselves here on the exceptional quality and strength of our academic programmes. We expect our students to work very hard, and it’s hugely encouraging that they are able to bring the same energy and imagination to extra-curricular activity and supporting others through charitable and voluntary work.”
St Andrews Student President Pat Mathewson said: “The Students’ Association is incredibly proud of our diverse and ever-expanding range of clubs and societies. With something for everyone, we work tirelessly to make sure our students leave St Andrews with an education that goes far beyond their degree.”
News of the award comes as St Andrews prepares to officially open a £12 million refurbishment of its Students’ Union. The revamped building will be home to the Students’ Association and will offer state of the art facilities to student clubs and societies, as well as local community groups.
Notes to news editors
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