Changing places

University of St Andrews Students' Association - the Rector's Cafe awesome artwork

Back in 2009-ish, when I was a student at St Andrews, I was elected into a Position of Responsibility – note the capitals! I joined the Societies Committee of the Students’ Association – otherwise known as ‘the union’. The committee had to look after all 140-odd societies affiliated to the Students’ Association – giving out grants and loans, affiliating new societies, making sure everyone was behaving themselves. However, I was also elected onto the SSC – the Student Services Committee – and that’s where I first heard about the plans for the Union’s redevelopment.

Fast-forward four years and the first phase of the redev project is complete. St Andrews alum who studied around the same time that I did will barely recognise the building now – it’s gone from a square, brick-covered building which had one foot firmly in the sixties to a beautiful, shiny glass beast which can be seen glinting from far down Market Street. The change is seriously impressive.

University of St Andrews student union - before the redevelopment
This is the ‘before’ picture

And even more excitingly, today was the opening of the Rector’s Cafe; the new space at the front of the building where anyone can grab a coffee and watch the world go by. The space is great – functional and fun all at once, and when I stopped by this afternoon there were already students scattered around on the primary coloured chairs, checking Facebook and sipping drinks. It’s so exciting to see something which real, tangible rise from the plans I saw so many years ago – it looks nothing like I expected it to, and yet at the same time, it looks like it was always meant to be there.

University of St Andrews Students' Association - the front of the building and the Rector's Cafe!
And this is how the front of the building looks now

The new cafe and Blackwells, the student bookshop are both now open for business. BESS, the Union’s shop is due to open at the end of March. The reception and main bars are further down the line, but even so – if you’re in St Andrews, you should head into the Rector’s Cafe to have a nose around. It gives a great impression of what the St Andrews Students’ Association is changing into – a bright, exciting space for a new generation of students.

The Rector’s Cafe is open from 8am until 10pm (yes, 10pm!) on weekdays in term time. Food and drinks are available, at student friendly prices, but all are welcome! Find out more about the Redevelopment project on the Facebook page!

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