Series 4 Episode 2 – Diversity and difference are key to shaping student support

Lauren Sykes
Wednesday 24 January 2024

Three of St Andrews’ student leaders talk about how their different backgrounds, experiences and views have helped shape and strengthen how they ensure effective student representation.

Students’ Association President Barry Will, Director of Education Cam Brown, and Director of Wellbeing and Equality Caitlin Ridgway talk to Professor Stephen Gethins about the importance of working together to make sure student voices are heard and that every student no matter their background or beliefs feels supported and heard.

Coming into post on the back of the Covid pandemic has posed particular challenges for the current ‘Sabbs’ and, in this recording, they discuss how they have come together as a group of six not only to lead the students’ representative body but also to make a real and lasting difference to the student experience in St Andrews.

Barry, who focussed on student poverty in his presidential campaign, grew up in Dundee where he saw first-hand the “raw side of inequality” and, as the first member of his family to attend university, could not rely on any academic support at home. Cam, on the other hand, travelled the world with his family and had attended another university before joining St Andrews. Caitlin said her background growing up in one place and then moving to another, has helped her in her role to champion health, diversity and inclusion.

All three agree that no matter what your background or financial status, “every single person in this community should feel supported”.

Amongst the subjects discussed is the review of the Academic Calendar which Cam has been heavily involved in, plus the challenges of supporting all St Andrews students affected by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

Barry said supporting students is at the heart of everything they do and this is why it is so important that the group work together using their different experiences and sharing their views to ensure they can provide the right kind of support to those affected. While they may each hold different views, it is this ability to work through their disagreements that ensures everyone in the St Andrews student community is supported.

Listen to the podcast on Spotify.

Watch a video of the podcast on YouTube.