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As your AU President, I would like to focus on cross-team collaboration, the environment, and bursting the AU Bubble.
As AU President, I want to encourage collaboration among our sports teams to Make Stronger Saints.
In the sporting calendar events such as Jonny Wookey Memorial Game and Varsity get a great deal of attention and are great examples of Saints coming together to support one another. Wednesday Night Lights has tried to recreate this atmosphere in a more sustainable and frequent format and has had some success. I am keen to work with the AU Events team in order to continue efforts to raise attendance to these events and create a better atmosphere of unity in sport.
In order to get teams supporting each other across sports, I think a ‘team-buddy’ system could be highly effective. In order to implement this, I would match teams up across different sports encouraging them to support one another at their home games. This will cultivate an atmosphere of cross-team support would grow and improve attendance at WNL and important fixtures for all sports.
Being a club committee member is a lot of work presenting numerous challenges I will trial a monthly ‘President’s Forum’ where committee members of different clubs could come together to discuss issues they may be having and get the perspective or experience of other committees who may have faced similar issues. By making clubs sit under one banner of ‘Saints Sport’ rather than feeling like numerous separate clubs, we can work together to be the best that Saints can be!
Whilst being environmentally friendly might not immediately seem that relevant to sport, we’re in a bit of a pickle in terms of the earth’s likelihood to make it to its 5 billionth birthday. I would like the AU and Sports Department to take a more active role in being environmentally friendly.
The university environment policy currently aims towards two major goals of being ‘Plastic free by 2023’, and ‘Carbon Neutral by 2022’. I am extremely eager to have Saints Sport get wholly behind these goals. By encouraging use of reusable bottles and cups, efficient use of lights and water, and utilising the AU car fleet to greatest advantage I think we can be a major contributor to this goal.
In order to have a positive environmental impact, I would like to work with clubs individually to work out how they can create a forward-thinking environment policy. Whether this is organising awareness projects or creating club goals about waste and plastic production, every small action moves us closer to a sustainable planet and I believe sports clubs can have an incredible impact. Furthermore, I would try to arrange cross-sport beach and town clean-ups which could have a competitive aspect between clubs.
Green Awards and Rewards
With the previous point in mind, I would be keen to work on creating incentives for clubs to act sustainably. We already have a ‘Green Club of the Year’ Award, but this doesn’t seem to act as a great motivator for clubs to get involved in environmental sustainability. Just as we have the ‘Volunteer Recognition Scheme’, I think there would be great benefit in regularly highlighting and rewarding club’s attempts towards sustainability.
In April I have organised the Netball Club’s first ‘Green Month’ which will see us take on a variety of challenges and awareness campaigns in order to positively affect our impact on the planet. As AU President I would enact a similar campaign in order to get more club’s acting ‘green’ and draw attention to the importance of sustainability.
Bursting the AU Bubble
The AU can sometimes appear like a bubble with The Bubble. I think it’s important for Saints Sport to be involved with societies and groups beyond sport and to act collaboratively.
As Netball President I have worked with groups such as Got Consent?, Transition and the University Green team over the last few months. As Volunteering & Engagement Officer for the AU Exec I have worked with On the Rocks, LGBT+ and the Wellbeing Team in order to deliver inclusive and interesting campaigns and events. This experience has taught me the power of working in tandem with other groups and I would aim to continue and expand the AU’s involvement with other groups around town.
Events again play a large part in this. Charity and society Sinners and events such as the Colour Run can operate with other societies. This not only removes the idea of the AU as being exclusive to sports team members, but also encourages people who may consider themselves as part of the AU to get involved in various activities such as recreational and social sport which they might not otherwise have been exposed to.
‘Transparency’ is often a buzzword around elections time. Many of the issues that crop up between the AU and sports club are centred not around transparency, but communication. In order to combat this, I would set up a ‘policy library’.
With the current plans to move clubs onto Moodle in order to have a centralised and accessible system. Utilising this to help club governance, I would like to create a central space within Moodle for club members to refer to when they need guidance. This would detail anything from how to book transport through to how to apply for club development funds or the calendar of events for the year. By centralising all this information, many of the confusions which take place on the day-to-day would be neutralised and clubs should find it easier to operate.
Having spent the last year working alongside Fiona and the rest of the AU Exec, I am committed to building on much of the work which she has started this year. Wellbeing provisions and the Town Halls have been highly effective, and I think it would be remiss not to acknowledge the many successes that Saints Sport has had this year. Whilst there are areas I would seek to improve, there has been a lot of positive progress over the last year which I have been privy to and would seek to continue.
The incoming financial restructure will cause lots of changes and require careful navigation. Having been involved with the implementation of the policy and spoken directly to its creators, I believe I’m in a good position to guide clubs through this change.
The new ‘Saints Wellbeing’ office is of vital importance and continuing to work with Student Services is something I would look forward to as it has such a positive effect on student experience. Similarly, the AU’s commitment to tackling Gender Based Violence and the work which has been done with Got Consent? has been a great improvement to the AU. I would like to work alongside Got Consent? to reach even more Saints.