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DoSDA Blog
Student Development and Activities in St Andrews Students' Association
I thought it was supposed to get easier after Orientation! Things are as mad as ever here in the Association, but, hey, isn't that what we thrive on?

Elections seem to be going well, with a few people even nominated already. We've also got a lot going on in terms of activities, with it seeming that there is not a spare moment on the top floor at the moment with one thing or another going on. Then, of course, there is all the other stuff happening.

sorry this is a bit all over the place. Just finished he MusFund meeting and am now running upstairs to the Postgraduate Committee Meeting. Then I might go home, or else tackle the e mails that are in my inbox. Then it's Quality Enhancement with Prof Ron Piper (Vice-Principal Teaching and Learning) at 8.30am tomorrow! I love mornings!

Hope everyone is well. Please come see me.

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So, three things that you wouldn't normally put together, but you'll find all three in my blog tonight.

Well, since I last posted, things are beginning to get super busy, in the run up to Orientation 2006. Students are already beginning to get back into town, as leases start and resits come around. Good luck to everyone resitting, and well done to those you you whom I know have already passed yours. (Looking forward to a few trips to Manchester next year!) It is nice having people back in town, as it does get quiet over the summer.

Orientation is coming along really well, and I am very excited about it this year. We have over 200 volunteers, many society events, some great gigs, and a wonderful looking programme to give out to the new students when they arrive in Halls at the start of their time here in St Andrews. If anyone reading this has not yet signed up to be a volunteer and would like to do so, contact Maggie Winton in Student Support Services on mw11 and ask her to add you to the list.

As some of you may remember, I have two rabbits. Unfortunately, health and safety (aka Bruce) does not allow me to bring my rabbits to live in the building, and my flat is too small for them, so they have gone to live in Northern Ireland with my parents. I am assured my little sister is taking good care of them. In their place I decided to get three fish for my office, called Chris, Christine and Cindy - after the three secretaries in the General Office. However, while I was away at a conference and meetings in Birmingham and Manchester, two of the fish unfortunately passed away. Deciding to replace the, I went to the pet shop on Bell St every day, looking for like matches, however, there never was any. Then my friend Marisha left, and donated her beautiful tank to my office, and with it her goldfish. Now, Marisha's tank is HUGE, so last Saturday I went to Dundee and ended up buying another 9 goldfish! Then, when I got home, the tank broke and I've had to wait all week for a new tank. So, tonight, I finally have my beautiful new BiOrb tank, and my ten goldfish are swimming happily in the two tanks. However, Mandy (porter) has now donated another tank to me, so I am off again tomorrow to get some more beautiful fish to live in the Student Activities Centre. Please, come visit them!

The last week has also seen us on the hunt for the electrician! He has been spotted in the Purdy Building on Thursday, and we are now waiting for him to come to the Association, and fit some new sockets in what was my office, and which will soon be Oli's office. We are switching this week (if the electrician comes) so it will be Graeme and I in the first office at the top of the stairs. Well, Grame, me and about 30 goldfish!

We also had our Strategic Plan Away Day this week, when the four sabbaticals and the heads of trading departments spent the day discussing the Association, and the future of it. The day was incredibly productive, and I think we all got a lot out of it. The Strategic Plan is something which many sabbatical teams have started, however, not got round to finishing. This year we aim to change that, and have a full strategic plan completed and in place by the end of our term. This is somehting which a lot of people, I know, will be sceptical about, however, all I ask is that you give us, and the strategic plan, a chance.

One final thing I want to talk about is the St Andrews Week Festival. You may be aware the I sit on the committee of the festival, as the representative of the Students' Association. I was also elected to serve the committee as secretary. This week I also volunteered to take over the organisation of the St Andrews Festival Procession. This will take place on the 3 December, and my plan is to make it a very strong town-gown effort, with involvement from students as well as local organisation. This, of course, will be a big job, so if anyone is interested in getting involved and helping me organise it, please get in contact. PLEASE!!!

Right, well, I'll leave it there for now. I am sure there are a million things i have forgotten to tell you about, but these are the main points!

Two weeks from now, and we will be dancing aroung venue 1 - Retrovision!

(And you choose where to put William Shatner!)
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Ok, so I was going to keep this as a bit of a surprise for my team and socs committees at the beginning of the year, but I am just so excited about it! I have just spent the last 6 hours cleaning, dusting, hoovering (with a hoover that is half broken, so I had to crawl around on my hands and knees doing it) and rearranging the Societies Workroom, to make it a wonderful place for all.

The SAC will be open to all students who want to come in and work on a project related to student activities. That could include designing a poster for a society event, creating a society newsletter, putting together a database of members, budgeting for a play, or a whole host of other things. There are five computers for general use, a desk without a computer for working, and a round table for one to one meetings, or working in groups. There is also some filing space for each SSC sub-committee to use.

This is a project which I have been fighting for since before I came into office, and I am so happy that it is finally coming into being. Hopefully, this is a project which will develop over the next year, and that people will actually use this exciting new facility we have created.

Other than that my day has been condom filled. (Oh, that sounds rude!) Today Graeme and I became condom distributers (Laura already has been trained, and Tom was unable to make it) after spending from 10am to 4pm with the two lovely ladies from NHS Fife and their rubber penises. (Is that the correct plural?) While I found it really rewarding and educational (I really didn't have a clue about half of the STIs that people can get) it was also quite refreshing to talk openly about sex with older people. Sex is not somehting we should feel uncomfortable talking about, so, if anyone is going to have sex, please don't feel uncomfortable about coming to one of the condom distributers and asking for protection. It really is the best thing to do. After all, no one wants to contract anything.

Today also seemed to be the day of the reappearance of 'Golden Oldies' (if they don't mind me calling them that). Just as the working day was ending (about 7 hours ago now) we had a visit from Richard Poet (VP Communication in my first year - 2001-2002), Rory O'Hare (Pres in my second year - 2002-2003) and Jen Munro (Mermaids President in my first year 2001 - 2002). And, tonight while I was cleaning, a certain Chris Marks turned up in the carpark.

Right, I need to run to Tesco for milk before it closes! Think I fancy some hot chocolate before bed!

Night night everybody!

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At the moment I am working on a number of projects, mostly connected to Orientation Week. The week itself lasts for ten days, and is going to be huge this year. We have more society events than ever before, some really cool things going on and, of course, the fayres- Volunteering, AU and Societies! I hope that as many people as possible will be up early for the week. Amazingly we have over 200 signed up volunteers to work on the week- but we still could use more. If you want to get involved, then please e mail Maggie on mw11@st-andrews.ac.uk

I've also been working on things such as the Societies Affiliation Form, the Societies Handbook and the Societies Workroom, which is having a bit of a make over! From this September it will become the 'SSC Office / Student Activities Centre'. In an attempt to clear some of the traffic in the General Office we are installing new computers where society publicity officers can design posters, and still send them through to be printed in the General Office.

In terms of the other sub-committees I am thrilled to have such an excellent bunch of Officers, Members and Convenors, all of whom are doing me proud in Orientation Week, and have great plans for the year ahead. These will be highlighted in the weeks ahead, but I am getting really really excited about the incoming year.

In terms of development, I have been working with a number of people towards getting a couple of new projects up and running. These will be launched properly in the upcoming weeks, but for now I am doing a bit of an appeal for anyone out there with any special skills! If there is something that you are good at, why not share it with others?! If you would be interested in getting involved in this, e mail me on dosda@st-andrews.ac.uk for more information.

Well, that's all for now. Tomorrow I will be learning how to put on a condom (not just that, but all thngs sexual health) and within 24 hours I should be a fully trained condom distributer! I'll let you know how it goes!

Remeber, if you want to get in contact with me, my e mail address is dosda@st-andrews.ac.uk.
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