When we first started our officer roles last June, I had no idea what the year ahead had in store. The summer months start relatively quiet which was a great opportunity to get to know everyone at The Students’ Union and work out our plans for the year. During the summer I attended RAG Conference, BUCS Conference and NUS Conference which were fantastic opportunities to network with other sabbatical officers and give me the tools to do the role the best I could. The highlight of the summer for me was BUCS Conference where one of the keynote speakers was England LFC Manager – Mark Sampson. He spoke about the importance of building relationships within a team and that it’s essential for the overall success of that team. This was something I thought was relatable in regards to the officer team and how our year together would be.
Throughout the year, you are put in situations you’d probably not get the opportunity to do in any other job fresh out of graduating. As an officer, you sit on the Board of Trustees and contribute to strategic decisions about the future of The Students’ Union. Furthermore, you get to sit on high level meetings with the Vice Chancellor and Directorate. The experience you get from these meetings is invaluable.
As the BUCS season kicked off, something I really felt I wanted to focus on was women in sport. When I started, I found out that we had seen a drop in our club memberships and the majority of that drop was female. I applied for UWE Bristol to be one of BUCS University in Focus and we were successful to be the focus university in the BUCS This Girl Can week. I organized for a photographer to take pictures of some of our women’s sports sessions and games and we published articles to share their success stories. UWE Bristol was the main university on BUCS homepage with links to all our articles. A couple of BUCS representatives also visited to go to some of our women’s games and commentate on social media. This was a fantastic achievement for UWE Bristol and really got us some national coverage.
As the year progressed, Varsity and Sports Ball took main priority. Since being a student here I’ve always taken part in Varsity; it was a great opportunity to be on the other side of things and help organize it. We wanted the series to be bigger than ever and we achieved that by having more competitors, more spectators and more social media interactions than ever before. However, the series came with its fair share of challenges, which at the time were difficult. On reflection, it is definitely something on a personal level that you learn and grow from. One of the highlights of the series for me was the brand new Friday Night Lights event. I was the lead on this particular event and thankfully it was a major success, smashing spectator targets, and we had some brilliant feedback. I also had the chance to get involved as a competitor in Varsity for the final time, helping UWE Women’s Football retain their trophy for the fifth year in a row was a really special moment for me.
Sports Ball was by far the highlight of my year. It took lots of planning and we were extremely lucky for a venue like Ashton Gate to allow us to host it there. The venue was unreal and the whole night was enjoyable from start to finish. It was without a doubt the best way to sign off my year as VP Sport & Health.
I’ve gained so much experience from this past year and I’m so happy I decided to run for it. I would recommend being a sabbatical officer to anyone thinking of doing it. Running in an election, win or lose is still an amazing experience.