Manifesto - Ruth Wright
Athletic Union President
Check out Ruth's social media here.
I believe in equal opportunities for all sports clubs, big or small. We should value the differences between our clubs whilst all working together in the spirit of Saints Sport.
- I plan to streamline inclusion policies and campaigns to make them more effective and ensure that sport is accessible to all. This will involve building a closer relationship with the Director of Wellbeing to make sure the activities of the Students’ Association and Saints Sport complement each other.
- Clear feedback channels and measurements of success need to be in place to monitor increased effectiveness across both inclusion campaigns and the wider activities of Saints Sport. I wrote the questions for this year’s Saints Sport Survey alongside Tom Abbott, and would love the opportunity to analyse and act on the feedback given there, to ensure continuity from this year to next year. I would also like to introduce a “You Said, We Did” platform (similar to the one in the Main University Library) into the Sports Centre.
- I want to make sure that the AU Exec and wider Student Sport Team are fully engaged as representatives of student sport. I hope to make them a more clearly accessible network. I’ll make sure everyone knows who to contact to bring the issues that really matter to them to the table at AU Exec, AU Board and beyond.
- I believe that Saints Sport must take a stronger stance against sexual misconduct. Preventative action is key, here, and I would like to run “Got Consent?” workshops through Saints Sport because some members have not had access to them through halls of residence.
- To guarantee accessibility, I will also prioritise affordable kit. Without sacrificing quality or suffering from unacceptable lead times, all students should be able to afford to promote the now stronger-than-ever Saints Sport brand on and off the pitch. Wearing Saints Sport kit helps promote the awesome community culture of Saints Sport.
- To give everyone the best chances of success, I hope to offer hourly transport bookings. This will reduce hire costs and make sure that the car you need is available when you need it. It will also allow less confident drivers to take cars out for practice before volunteering to drive longer distances to competitions, etc.
- I’ll also review and increase the transparency of facilities bookings, so clubs know how sessions are allocated. This will ensure that we’re making the best use of the available time and spaces. Where clubs must share a venue, I’ll make the arrangements known ASAP. This will allow time to build inter-club relationships early, so sharing will be smoother during session times.
- Unlike many universities, we’re also lucky to offer a cheaper Club Access membership for people who only attend club sessions. As AU President, I’ll strongly support this option and work to ensure that students feel they are getting good value for money.
- Tom Abbott is currently undertaking a review of all AU policies and laws. I have been involved in this process through the AU Board and Exec. However, rewriting the policies is not enough. They must go through Board and then substantial changes such as constitution amendments must be approved by the University Court. This can make it difficult for a sabbatical officer to make key changes within a single year. A vote for me will be a vote to ensure that any documentation Tom can’t get passed within the time available will receive continued support from someone who understands it. I will also ensure that full consideration is given to whether or not the AU needs to be accountable to University Court. The people who sit on the University Court are not directly involved in sport and may not know our situation as well as the Board does. If we can remove this extra stage of policy-making, it will be easier for me and future presidents to make a real difference to Saints Sport within our short time in office.
- I believe that we should all be doing our bit to support the University’s Sustainability policy and minimise the damage that Climate Change could do to future Saints – equal opportunities should be maintained across time as well as across the breadth of the current student population. Working closely with Transition and the Environment Team will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint from energy usage and travel. Some clubs already benefit from using the e-car club scheme, and we can better support this to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for transport. We should be aiming to reduce the amount of paper that we use within the Sports Centre. Furthermore, the AU doesn’t have its own environmental policy, and I want add one of these to our current legislation to provide a framework for successful sustainability. All of this should provide opportunities for a more competitive and meaningful Green Club of the Year award.
- For all clubs’ achievements to be rewarded equally, it is vital to offer recognition across different areas of Saints Sport’s “Excellence, Experience and Engagement”. I will further the changes which are currently being made to address gaps in the awards structure, including the addition of more defined volunteering awards and awards for different year groups. I am also excited to work alongside the Students’ Association to streamline the use of the Volunteering Portal to celebrate the successes of all our students across St Andrews’ sports clubs and societies. Finally, to ensure that Blues and Colours are appropriately awarded to those of us who achieve the highest levels of sporting performance, I support the sport-specific conditions for Blues and Colours that the Blues and Colours Committee I’ve sat on this year has reintroduced. These recognise that every sport is different, and that honours such as national representation do not mean the same thing for every sport. To give students confidence that nominations will be fairly considered, I support the introduction of a clear appeals policy and will work to ensure that the process is as transparent as possible.
As this year’s AU Secretary, I’ve already sat on the Blues and Colours Committee, Finance Committee and AU Board. This will save me valuable time finding my feet next year, when I should instead be focusing on improving Saints Sport! Beyond this, I have a wealth of experience across Saints Sport. Highlights have included leading the Junior Saints trampoline programme, which gave me a better understanding of Saints Sport’s position within the wider community, and captaining the first ever Trampoline and Gymnastics Club after merging the two clubs in 2015. I also set up the Parkour Club and became its President in its first year as part of the AU, which puts me in a strong position to understand and support the specific challenges faced by new clubs. In 2016, I coordinated the Sports Buddy Scheme, which gave me an insight into how to cater for new Saints and integrate them into our clubs.
I understand that each club has a unique culture and they all contribute to the wider success of St Andrews. Some would benefit from better equipment, others from increased training time or larger venues, others from increased opportunities for volunteering and outreach. Vote for me to ensure that you all can improve in the ways you want next year!