December Blog from Kian McDonald, SAMS Depute

Find out about the work from SAMS Depute, Kian McDonald including Gender Neutral Toilets, the LGBTQ+ Project and the Christmas Ceilidh


I’ve really enjoyed being your SAMS Depute President over the past few months and it has been an eye-opening experience. Meeting a wide range of people - staff, students and external persons - has allowed me to see things from a different perspective that is both interesting and exciting to see.

Freshers Events

This year, SAMS and Your Students’ Association welcomed in new students with a range of Freshers’ events, including:

  • a movie night
  • a ceilidh and karaoke night
  • a BBQ on the beach
  • a Freshers’ Fayre – partnered with the Argyll students

The consensus was that all of the students enjoyed the events, but as SAMS is a very active institute, some sport focused events seemed to be more appealing to some students.

NUS – The Gathering

As part of an effort to expand the reach of SAMS, I attended the NUS – The Gathering event where a range of student unions discussed the different ways in which they can support students. This was an interesting experience and this was the first step into discussions for Gender Neutral Toilets throughout SAMS.

LGBTQ+ Project

The team at Leaders Unlocked had contacted me to see if I was interested in working with them to discuss the experiences, challenges and needs of LGBTQ+ students within the Scottish education system, and to work on the ways in which this could be strengthened for the students. As a part of the community, it was something that I took great interest in, and have since worked with some of the SAMS team to work on surveys and upcoming focus groups to gather the information needed.

Halloween Movie Marathon

As part of my manifesto, I wanted to work on student social interactions across the whole of the institute, and therefore hosted a movie marathon for Halloween. This went down a treat and the students that attended enjoyed the movies and snacks provided.

Gender Neutral Toilets

My manifesto looked into the inclusivity of SAMS, and during the NUS – The Gathering event, I discussed with a few other officers how important Gender Neutral Bathrooms are for students. Since then, I have started discussions with members of staff at SAMS and I am currently working on researching and getting a survey out to the whole of the institute to see what the general feeling would be to the introduction of these facilities.

Christmas Ceilidh

Before the semester ends, I thought I would do one last event as a send off to the students before the holidays and had decided to host a Christmas Ceilidh, as many of the students had enjoyed this in the previous years. This was by far the most attended event, and the most enjoyable for the students. We sold around 80 tickets, and had most of the UGs, PhDs, ACES and MSc students in attendance.