Happening on Campus

Manifesto Reviews- Full Time Officers: Sports Officer Candidates

Oli Harris and Katie Sullivan

A group of Impact Magazine writers have looked over the candidate manifestos for this year’s Student Union Elections. Harry Chapman, Katie Sullivan, Emma Burnett, Oli Harris, and Hannah Walton-Hughes summarised and discussed each candidate’s main manifesto points, and gave their views on the manifesto. Voting closes on 15th March 2024 at 2pm.

Emily Smith:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Increasing communication between sports and academic staff
  2. Sport for all
  3. Awareness of smaller sports
  4. Introduction of a sport’s festival week

Emily begins by talking about the importance of sport at university, and how important the sports teams are to the people on them. She highlights the dedication needed to maintain a high standard as both a student and an athlete before explaining that she wants to increase communication between sports and academic staff to make this balance easier. She continues by saying that she would aim to promote accessible gym times to allow as many people as possible to participate in sport at university. One of her most specific goals is to introduce a sports festival week after exams have ended, with students who are in sports societies inviting their friends to join in for a session. She also says she wants to see greater participation in some of the smaller sports teams, and that she will work to foster the same atmosphere that surrounds the biggest sports.

Her role on the committee for UoN Trampoline, in addition to her experience in competing at university level sport put her in a good position to take up the job of sports officer. I think her most exciting aim from the manifesto is to organise a post-exams sports week, which makes a lot of sense considering the scientific link between exercise and mood.  A key concern from the manifesto however is whether or not communication between sports and academic staff is enough to make the balance easier for student athletes, as both degrees and sports teams are very demanding undertakings.

Ethan Page-Mason:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Inter club collaboration
  2. Athlete welfare
  3. Sport for all
  4. Facilities accountability

His 2 year commitment as president of the boat club, as well as being awarded British Rowing volunteer of the year […] both show that he has the experience required of the role

Beginning by highlighting some of the past achievements of UoN sport, such as being Times and Daily Mail sports university of the year, Ethan goes onto state his goals for the future, with his sights set on becoming BUCS champions. He emphasises the need for collaboration between different sports societies in order to achieve this goal and sets out his plan for a regular informal social event for all clubs to discuss issues in a setting more casual than the sports council. He continues by addressing his concern for heart health in young athletes, promoting cardiac screening for all young athletes. He states that he wants to expand the university’s sport outreach programmes, where he would be drawing on his experience with Active Row to encourage people to try new sports. He also states his belief that not all the sports facilities are in the best condition, and aims to work with the university to bring them up to a higher standard.

His 2 year commitment as president of the boat club, as well as being awarded British Rowing volunteer of the year for the region both show that he has the experience required of the role. His focus on the medical welfare of student athletes is also an important one. One aspect of his manifesto I take issue with is the establishment of the casual counterpart to the sports council, as it may be superfluous to the council itself.

James Miller:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Strengthen the pathways from IMS and Just Play to BUCS
  2. Guiding the Sports Exec Team
  3. Improving the Sports Council

James is currently Chair of the of the IMS Executive team and is very familiar with the sports community at the University of Nottingham. He champions excellence, opportunity, and community as representative of sports. His extensive knowledge of the sports and rankings of the University have given him the drive to maintain their great reputation and a drive to dedicate time to listen to each club and encouraging them to attend the Sports Council, ensuring they receive the support necessary to continue to succeed.

James sets to maintain the excellence beyond sporting performance by continuing the work of the former Sports Officer to guide the Sports Exec team who are responsible for reflecting student opinion and securing the most celebrated events such as the Sports Ball and Varsity and maintaining their great reputation.

James’s deep knowledge across all aspects of the sports community from BUCS to Just Play is evident in his manifesto. He would aim to strengthen the pathways between these levels, leading to stronger teams representing the university at bigger events essentially improving the reputation of the university. He aims to maintain the streams of individuals participating in sports by advocating for Halls Sports Officers and creating a welcoming environment from students of all backgrounds.

His role as IMS Chair has granted him with a wide knowledge of how the community operates and the experience of managing and organising largescale teams and events contributing to the evident success of the IMS programmes.

James continues his focus on supporting not only the student-body but using his community to support causes beyond the university in his manifesto. He highlights the work done by charity driven campaigns by the sport community and believes it is significant to maintain these relationships with charities such as Movember, Prostate Cancer UK and Coppafeel.

His role as IMS Chair has granted him with a wide knowledge of how the community operates and the experience of managing and organising largescale teams and events contributing to the evident success of the IMS programmes. Equally as significant, he has experience representing the University of Nottingham at sporting events and therefore believes he can support other students in doing so.

James’s manifesto is personable yet straightforward and comprehensive. His role as an active member of the sporting community of the University of Nottingham gives him the experience to succeed. However, I would be intrigued to know more of the changes he thinks are necessary for the Students’ Union beyond maintaining what has already been done.

Ruiheng Zhang:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Enhanced student engagement and feedback mechanisms
  2. Establishing clear goals and assessment criteria
  3. Facilitating inter campus sports exchange and collaboration
  4. Inspiring and recognising the efforts and achievements of sports clubs
  5. Continuous improvement and innovation

Ruihang’s manifesto gets straight to the point, starting by saying he will ensure the sports council meets every month to discuss student feedback and encourage further student engagement with the council. He also states that he wants to set out clear measurable targets for the sports council, holding regular evaluation meetings to assess progress. He continues by saying that he wishes to expand inter university collaboration and competition, with the greater goal of expanding campus sports culture. Furthering the idea of sports culture is his plan to continue the sports ball and award ceremony, hoping to motivate and encourage new athletes.

The candidate does not specify any specific experience with the Students Union, but does emphasise their involvement in a variety of sports at university. I think the focus on increasing campus sports culture is an important one, although it is unclear what this manifesto is proposing in the way of new ideas, as the sports ball is already held annually, and the council meets about 5 times a year, so meeting monthly may not have a significant impact on students.

Skye Wiggins:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Lets talk
  2. Safe spaces in sport
  3. Budgeting and finance
  4. Emphasis on sports council
  5. Emphasis on campus sports news

Skye begins by stating that she wishes to continue the ‘let’s talk…’ discussion series, raising awareness and provoking discussion about social issues. She also advocates for greater inclusivity through the introduction of more safe spaces on campus, specifically calling for quiet times for neurodiverse students at welcome stalls, as well as sensory safe sessions at the gyms. She then turns her focus to finance, aiming to provide greater transparency in monetary matters for sports clubs, and to promote existing programmes that are in place to allow students who struggle financially to still be able to participate in sports. She also emphasises both the sports council, and campus sporting news as ways to continue promoting student feedback and engagement.

If successful, she would be aided in this role by a wide range of experience, with 3 different positions including president on the volleyball committee, as well as work on the welfare in sport committee. The biggest strength of this candidate is the amount of experience with committees and the student’s union they would bring, however the emphasis on continuing existing programmes leaves something missing in the way of clear goals and original ideas.

Yitao Pang:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Organisation of adventure sport activities and trips
  2. Organise simple sports activities for engagement
  3. Emphasis on outdoor sports and nature

Yitao’s manifesto is simple and straightforward, focused heavily on organising adventure sport activities and trips. He also states that he would like to organise more simple sports activities that anyone could take part in as a means of increasing engagement. He would also like to put emphasis on sports that can be done in nature, such as rock climbing and mountaineering, with specific references to mental health effects of being in nature.

He cites a long list of experiences that could support him in this role, such as being captain of the mountaineering team on UoN China campus and organising trips in sports such as trekking and ice climbing. His experience in a management position on a mountaineering team would also provide good experience for this role. However, I think that the lack of student focus in this manifesto, coupled with the emphasis on organising trips suggests to me a misunderstanding of the role, and that maybe this candidate would find more of what they are looking for on committee for an adventure sports society.

Full officer manifestos can be read on the UoNSU website.

Oli Harris and Katie Sullivan

Featured image courtesy of Korng Sok via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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