Sean Nolan is running in the 2022 SU elections for the role of Sports Officer. Impact’s George Scotland caught up with him to hold an interview about his campaign.
Q1: What do you think makes you a good fit for this role?
Well, I’ve been part of the sport community since I first came to university back in 2019. So, I’ve seen all across all levels, whether that be myself playing squash and representing the team home, or going away or go to just play sessions, working with IMS.
And then, more recently, in my role as the chair of welfare to sport, I’ve seen how sports had a positive impact and can have a positive impact on the lives of all students whether you are an athlete, or you’ve never played sport far.
This position really does provide the opportunity to improve the welfare and improve the livelihood of every student here and I think that having myself and my experience, I can influence those decisions that are being made.
“With men’s mental health, there’s still a lot of stigma attached to it”
Q2: How will you strive to put men’s mental health in sport at the front of the agenda?
So, welfare is one of my top points online manifesto. And I think that’s something that is actually crucial to every aspect of university student life. Mental health has affected me personally for decades and even more upon coming to university.
With men’s mental health, there’s still a lot of stigma attached to it, especially with sport where there’s an expectation and that stiff upper lip attitude and I want to reverse that and make welfare and mental health something that we openly talk about.
Furthermore, we should encourage and celebrate people who do talk about it and highlight the work of men’s self active and welfare in sport.
Q3: Why did you decide to run for the role of SU officer?
So especially in the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time with AJ, the current Sports officer and his team and the I saw the qualities they possess as something I could be capable of myself. In terms of being able to succeed, influence and make the right decisions that will continue to work. I really strive to make welfare a priority.
“The next step is making sure that these communities are open and welcoming”
Q4: Sports clubs can have a reputation for being cliquey, how are you going to ensure this does not continue to be an issue?
Well, this is something I’ve maybe not experienced myself, but I am aware it exists in lots of sports. When it comes to university, often by nature there is a group that have already been there for two or three years that have already formed friendships and can inevitably be unavoidable.
This is not necessarily a bad thing as we celebrate a sense of existing community, but the next step is making sure that these communities are open and welcoming to new members at all times.
I think the way in which you do this is to continue to push the sessions, IMS and actually celebrate and integrate them together so that IMS and the sports team interact more so that this alleviates the risk of producing in groups and out groups.
Q5: How are you going to ensure the sporting community becomes more diverse and gender inclusive?
We’ve got roles that have been added to the committee which focus on equality and diversity already which is great. On top of that I want to make welfare training, currently only available to welfare officers and presidents of sports societies- to make that available for every committee member so that they can be empowered to deal with issues and even they don’t want to deal with the issues they know themselves and have the confidence in themselves to signpost and recognise themselves issue that may arise in relation to welfare.
Ultimately the issue of diversity is across all parts of life and it’s making sure that people on committees and those that hold positions of power are accountable but also empowered to understand how to deal with these situations.
“I want to surround myself with different people of different experiences at university“
Q6: How are you going to make yourself regularly accountable?
So, one thing I think is really good is the Sports Council where presidents get the chance to voice their concerns and what they think is going well. I think this, however, needs to be improved and for them to be held on a more regular basis, allowing clubs to voice changes.
On a personal front, I think being visible across all sports, whether that means I involve myself in play sessions or go and watch a variety of sports would enable me to be a familiar face. I believe myself I am a naturally approachable person and want to use to my advantage so that I have am regularly accountable.
I want to surround myself with different people of different experiences at university whether they be international students, postgraduates, elite athletes, or those that have never played before. I myself I’m quite a privileged person but that’s not the influence I want to have. I want to have a wide network of people and build a community around myself where people can provide constructive criticism and approach me if they have any issues.
Q7: What is your flagship policy? How are you going to shake things up?
So, the keys words in my manifesto; welfare, performance, inclusion, community which mean getting everybody involved in sport that wants to take part so they can be proud of the university culture which champions its diversity to the local community.
“Being part of sport at university has really contributed to me having the best possible experience“
Q8: The Roebuck Inn or The Last Post?
I’m going to have to say the Last Post. It reminds of a pub in Halifax ironically called the Last Post and ran by Anthony Forsyth, great guy.
Q9: Why are you fundamentally passionate about this role?
I’m just a really passionate person. I love any sport and if I can go and watch a new one, I have to learn all the rules immediately. Being part of sport at university has really contributed to me having the best possible experience at university.
For everyone I’ve spoken to wearing the green and gold has been an enormous sense of pride and feel as if they’re part of a big community and I would like to continue this and also improve people’s experiences in sport, so they are as memorable for other people as much as they have been for myself.
Voting for the 2022 SU elections closes at 1pm on Friday 25th March.
You can read Sean’s manifesto and vote in the elections here.
Featured image courtesy of Chiara Crompton. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article courtesy of Max Harries. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
For more content including Uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.