On Monday 4th March, both candidates running for the position of Sports Officer participated in hustings. This year there are two candidates running for the position: Ben Bean and Millie Doherty.
Each candidate was given five minutes to introduce themselves before being asked how they think sports societies and their surrounding issues could be improved for the next academic year.
Ben started his introductory speech by talking about his experiences in sports at the university, highlighting his involvement in IMS and BUCS Basketball for three years, and his role as President of the latter. He believes that this has allowed him to gather insight into the Welfare Network and support system and has developed his understanding into the issues of disability sports. Ben’s manifesto suggests his hopes to improve sport welfare through offering mental health first aid training for all Welfare Officers.
Similarly to Ben, Millie has been involved in Tennis throughout her three years at university and through her roles as Social Secretary and President she believes has given her a great understanding of the sport system. As well as raising awareness of SB facilities, she also raises the issue of welfare, wanting to expand training to all members, rather than the usual two members.
One question raised was how both candidates would deal with the difficulty of the SU timetabling services and how they would make it easier for students to attend training and games on Wednesday afternoons.
“Sport is more than just a game”
Both candidates recognised that this was a reoccurring issue, Millie commenting that “[she] wants to improve and push for lecture capture in more lectures.”
Ben stated that he wants more recognition, emphasising that “Sport is also very important, it is more than just a game and has so many extra advantages.”
The two candidates also reflected on the possibility of creating campus specific gym memberships.
Millie believes that “It is important to improve facilities so that every gym is built to the same standard across campuses.” She raised her concerns that a campus-specific gym would “take away what is on offer across all gyms, including different classes, facilities and opening times.”
Ben also shared this concern, agreeing that “Flexibility is currently given” and that “if clubs move across campus and memberships are split then people would need to buy two.”
The next question focused on integration, in particular, what the candidates would do to counteract the effects of cliques in sports clubs.
“Discussions should be open amongst the entire committee”
Millie addressed this question in relation to the skill she has developed during her role as President. She believes “discussions should be open amongst the entire committee as well as involving the coach” perhaps if there are bigger issues.
Ben shared the concern, but stated that the approach should depend on how each club works specifically. He wants clear communication, “speaking to clubs individually to explain that cliques is something that we want to avoid.” He also wanted to emphasise the importance of sports clubs being social and inclusive.
The topic of inclusivity was further addressed in relation to specific groups of people, including Postgraduate students. The concern was raised was that representation is low and there is a lack of support.
“Better communication between all is needed.”
Ben commented that the main way to tackle this is to work together as officers. “I’ll work with the PG Officer to find out about what pressures PG’s face and how sport can be made more accessible to them.”
Millie raised a similar solution to Ben, emphasising the importance of working together as officers. She also commented that there is a similar issue with international students, and that “better communication between all is needed.”
Rita Faria Figueiras and Emma Heasman
Featured image courtesy of Ella Taylor.
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