Best in the gown – and in the town

Members of one of the university's societies staged a 24-hour rowing marathon to raidse funds for charity.
Members of one of the university's societies staged a 24-hour rowing marathon to raidse funds for charity.

A new award has gone to St Andrews University, to sit alongside all of the institution’s academic laurels.

The University has now been named number one in Scotland for student clubs and societies, and number three in the UK.

The Best Clubs & Societies Awards 2015 singled out St Andrews for the breadth of its extra-curricular activities and the range of its charitable work.

Students regularly raise more than £100,000 a year for local and international charities, and many are active volunteers with local organisations.

St Andrews has more than 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.

Award judges commented: “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.”

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.”

St Andrews Student President Pat Mathewson added: “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.”