Manifesto - Gabriel Schechter
Athletic Union President
Check out Gabe's social media here.
My name is Gabriel Schechter and I am running to be your next Athletic Union President. I am a 5th year psychology student from New York, who has been active in the Ultimate Frisbee club for the last 5 years. I’ve spent all five of those years on committee as freshers’ rep, tournament and transport logistics, and three years as captain. I also have sport leadership experience at the international level, through captaining and helping to organize the Great Britain u24 Frisbee team at the world championships this past January in Perth, Australia. I want to be your AU President because of how important sport has been in my life while at university. Sport here has changed my degree path, and what I want to do with my future. I’ve also been incredibly lucky in my time here to have unbelievable support from our AU in achieving my sporting goals. Without our AU and the support and funding it gave me, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to play my sport around the world and at the international level. I want to give back to a place that’s made such a big difference in my life and I believe as your AU President I can help more students have the sort of wonderful experience that sport can be!
Experience matters, and here’s why you should vote for me for AU President. Firstly, I believe when it comes to understanding how clubs function and their unique needs I have experience and perspective from my time on Frisbee. When I first joined, the club was small and more recreational than competitive. In the five years I have been on committee the club has grown exponentially, rewritten its constitution, won a BUCS championship, and was the second highest BUCS point scoring team last year. I’ve helped run a club when it was small, as it grew, and as a large competitive performance sport and as such I believe I can bring a unique view point to most issues clubs might face.
When it comes to policies, my focus is on clear goals that I know we can get done and that will make the AU experience better for everyone. Specifically, clubs are the lifeblood of our AU and my focus during is on making things clearer and easier so they can provide the best experience for their members. The three ways I plan to do this are putting an emphasis on kit, accessibility, and transparency.
Kit issues have plagued our AU for years and we are entering another transition phase. While this is not a new issue, I think as a candidate for AU president it’s important to take a strong stance on this. The most important part of the new kit tendering process for me is keeping clubs further in the loop about the bidding process than in past years. Tom Abbot has already mentioned this in his emails to clubs, but it is something I want to enshrine into my platform. Furthermore, kit needs to be affordable, clubs need to feel good about encouraging members to buy kit, and not worrying about how expensive it is. I’ve experienced three different kit providers in my time and have worked with all of them as captain. I’ve experienced the difficulties that clubs can have with kit providers such as nonsport specific kit, poor quality kit or poor service. I know how important a quality kit provider can be for clubs, and keeping them in the know about the process is the best way to ensure we end up with the best deal for the most clubs.
In terms of accessibility, as the AU begins migrating systems over to Moodle I would like to modernize the booking of facilities. An online portal much like the library has for booking study rooms would ease the booking process and make it more clear. Another feature I would like to like to utilize is the new gym capacity tracker. In addition to tracking gym capacity I would publish trends about the gym so people could plan in advance when is the best time to go to the gym. I believe that the AU is missing out on a great opportunity to work with other societies and clubs to host events. Other universities run charity events such as a dodgeball tournament, for example, in partnership with societies or clubs. At the moment these events do not exist in large and it is a type of event missing from the social calendar here at St Andrews. With a new booking system in place it would also be easier to make these bookings happen and increase the interaction between AU and Student Societies!
In terms of transparency I believe that creating more ways to interact and connect with your AU president will aid clubs in understanding how and why decisions are made. Firstly as AU president I would add town hall meetings where people could come and ask questions publicly and hear the answers to other’s questions. I believe that many clubs have similar concerns and questions and having a public forum for those in addition to office hours is important. I would also like to add an AGM at the end of the year so that clubs can see where the budget has been spent, and an explanation of decisions made over the year. I think our clubs need to be more informed about budget allocations and decisions that deeply affect them. Finally, I believe that when it comes to the performance sport program there is a lot of confusion. Many clubs would like to have access to the performance suite and the other perks that come with being a performance sport. Not every sport can be a performance sport, but I would sit down with Assistant Director of Student Sport Pete Burgon to try and create a clear performance sport pathway for clubs that want to make that step. While the final decision of who is a performance sport is his, a better explanation of what criteria are taken into account and how to work towards becoming a performance sport is needed. Navigating the performance sport pathway is something I have a lot of experience with from my time on Frisbee. As the club grew, gaining access to the performance suite and becoming a performance sport was something that I was at the forefront of, as such I also have a strong working relationship with Pete.
I believe that I will make an incredibly effective AU president due to my experience leading a club and the working relationships I have formed in the AU over the years. Combined with my unique understanding of club matters and policies I believe I am the best choice to create a strong AU for everyone.
Thank You for taking the time to read. Vote Gabe on March 8th!