Manifesto - Fiona Murray
Athletic Union President
Check out Fiona's social media here.
Working in a presidential position with the Basketball Club for the last 2 years has allowed me to witness at close hand the growth and development of all sports here at St Andrews whilst working alongside the AU. I want to provide the same opportunity for all clubs so that they are receiving the recognition they deserve and can reach their greatest potential.
I aim to do this through focusing on the following points:
Communication and Guidance
My aim is to continue to expand upon face-to-face and open communication. This will be achieved through increased office hours, a desire to attend all individual club committee meetings when requested, and a change in the format of the Club Excellence Program. I believe that clubs have a lot to gain from seeking guidance not only from the AU but also from each other. With different clubs excelling and struggling in different aspects, I think that we can all learn from each other’s successes. Club Excellence Forums will therefore be presented in an open-committee style environment where club members are open to discuss what their club does to offer guidance and seek help from their peers. These will be run monthly, with the opportunity for different sub-topics to be brought up. For example, alumni communications, or qualifying game officials etc.
Similarly, I will host committee training sessions as soon as possible to offer the support that new committee members will need to ensure that committees can excel from the beginning. This is something that may not be possible to enforce until this time next year, but I believe it is crucial for the future success of clubs.
Mental Health and Well-being
I strongly believe that the AU should be doing more to provide support and understanding for our athlete’s mental health. Currently, the university is part of the Healthy Body, Healthy Mind Award, as the benefits of sport and exercise upon well-being are strongly recognised. To advance this, I want to provide Scottish Mental Health training for committee members and encourage links between the Director of Well-being, Student Services and the Athletic Union with presentations, meetings and advice provided for all as well as a mental health awareness week and campaign. This will not only help people who struggle with mental health benefit from the positive results of exercise, but also help committee members, team mates and all athletes help any student who is struggling with their mental health or well-being.
I believe there is an urgent call for a more transparent attitude to how certain aspects are managed within the AU including: finances, performance sport criteria and recognition for non-BUCS teams. If there is an increasingly open attitude to how these are decided, there will be an increased level of equality between all clubs so that they will be able to direct their goals in the best way possible for success. I wish to be the voice of the student body that pushes for this so that no club feels that they are neglected or not getting the recognition they deserve. I will push for this transparency by ensuring a close working relationship with the Department of Sport.
Alongside these key points, I also aim to address the following:
I will endeavour to choose a kit provider who is the most beneficial and suitable for all. I will seriously take into consideration the price for playing kit, outerwear, delivery time and accuracy for us to avoid the same issues that we have had with PlayerLayer. My realistic plan is to choose a provider who caters for a core group of teams and then create long term relationships with specialist providers in order to take the strain off these clubs. Presidents and Captains will be invited to sit on a kit panel and a vote will be delivered by email to all clubs to increase the number of people who will have influence over this important decision.
The current issues with transport can be dealt with through several solutions. First, driving tests will be made available all throughout revision week to increase the number of drivers available at the start of the year. Similarly, tests will be available from pre-season and throughout freshers week to ensure there are enough qualified drivers for when BUC season begins. More test will be made available through hiring more driving instructors during these peak times.
Every year the Kingdom versus Capital and Varsity events get more and more popular. I want to utilise this enthusiasm for sporting events, alongside the increasing volume of Wednesday Night Lights and the support for other events such as the Jonny Wookey hockey match, and create another varsity against Dundee. This will allow us to avoid the issues with transport and distance that the Edinburgh varsity has and potentially host all or most of the sports here at home. This will help increase the Saints Sport image whilst simultaneously promoting all sports and encouraging inter-club support.
Recreational sport has been brought to my attention as an issue for non-sporting students who wish to try and get involved. In order to take the pressure of off some clubs who struggle to dedicate their hall time and whom lack coaching facilities, I would promote and expand on the current Drop-In Recreational Sports Sessions and Go Play Boxes through an increased use of social media, email and through advertisement at the Sports Centre.