Populus is a new student organisation in St Andrews which aims to reduce loneliness at University. We hold at least one event during each academic week, always bringing our unique conversation cards which diminish any awkwardness which comes with meeting new people. All of our events are free, and every matriculated student at the University of St Andrews is automatically a member.
Our events are consistently well attended -- we have seen first years and fourth year students bonding using our conversation cards, which would not have ordinarily happened without. Last week a girl who is a Junior Student Abroad at the University came to one of our events. She had the chance to use the conversation cards, to grab a free tea/coffee and most importantly spoke to other people. After the event she said this was the most interaction she had had all week. Populus gave her the opportunity to make new friends and be with other people. If that's not a ringing endorsement for the organisation then I don't know what is. Not only this, but we established a Populus academic family to coincide with the St Andrews tradition, giving students the chance to join a family in a less intimidating way. In structuring this, one commuting student who had been rejected by other people came to us in search of a family, as well as several others who were pointed to us by the St Andrews ASC.
Recieving funding would allow us to show more people that there is an answer to loneliness, and that new friendships can come from anywhere. One of the aims of our Speed Friending event is to create new friendships, which can lead on to more than new beginnings. Funding would give Populus the opportunity to reduce the stigma of loneliness, reach a larger audience, and shine light on the amazing work that we are doing after just 2 months in St Andrews, with little funding and no affiliation from our Students Union. From the incredibly positive feedback that we have already received from students and the wider community, we know that Populus can have a huge impact on more than just our small University town.
It is important to note that we have a fantastic team behind Populus, also, and without them we couldn't have come this far in such a short amount of time.