Erin Mills looks back on her year as your VP Sports and Health

This last year as VP Sports & Health has absolutely flown by! It’s been an extremely busy, often challenging but brilliant year. I’ve experienced so much, learnt new skills and developed my confidence hugely. I would encourage anyone thinking of running for a sabbatical role to go for it, you won’t regret it.

So what have I been up to all year?

June, July, August, September

The year started with a number of team building activities to bond as a new sabbatical team. We also travelled across the UK to multiple conferences, including NUS Lead and Change (to learn about the NUS, and how to be a leader of a students’ union) and the RAG conference in Southampton.

In August there was lots going on to get ready for the Welcome period in September, and I organised for a number of our sports clubs to be at the welcome fairs at Glenside and City Campus, to allow them to reach a wider audience.

We also had ‘Give it a Go’ sessions for the sports clubs to encourage students to join and get involved with a sport they’ve played for years or to try something new. We have over 2,000 students joined up to our 44 sports clubs.

October, November, December, January

October saw the start of the Varsity series 2017/8 with the first Colour Run on Frenchay Campus, followed by the bustling darts event at Walkabout in November.

In to November, we had This Girl Can Week, which involved many events to get girls moving and enjoying sport. We had a few featured members of our sports clubs who spoke about their experience of being a woman in their sport and why others should get involved. Have a look at a blog post from Catrin, VP of Motorsports,  here.  

A really exciting part of my year was having Olympic Gold medalists, Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh, come along to The Students’ Union to talk about mental health in sport which was an amazing event and so good to hear about personal experiences from such iconic British athletes. 

I also had the pleasure of attending a handful of Graduation ceremonies for our health care students in November to celebrate their all successes.

February, March, April, May, June

After Christmas was a busy time for me with the majority of our Varsity events. In February we had Friday Night Lights (American Football and Lacrosse) which was one of our busiest events with over 600 spectators attending. UWE were victorious in the American Football, meaning they’re undefeated in the event! We also had the first ever stand-alone Varsity Netball, a brilliant event including alumni and 1st team games.

February was a fun month with SHAG (Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance) Week, which looked at promoting good sexual health and healthy relationships around campus. We had HIV Fast test clinics, a Chlamydia test drive with our sports clubs and a roadshow at all campuses handing out condoms, lube and information on where to go for help and local services.

We had some more Varsity events in March including Varsity Basketball and Varsity Day with over 1,000 students competing in various sports against our rivals, Bristol Uni. The results may not have completely gone our way, but it was great to have so many of you representing UWE and enjoying yourselves.

In April we had ‘Sports Club Development Training Days’ to train new committee member for 2018/19, we altered this a bit from previous years to make committee training a bit more interactive and interesting, and I feel it was well received.

We also had Varsity Presentations for the first time ever in April, where clubs interested in having their own stand-alone events for the 2018/19 series, came along and put forward their bid. These bids are being discussed and the calendar for next year’s series will be revealed soon.

We had further events in April including the Varsity 10K and Varsity Boat Race with VIPS such as the Mayor of Bristol. UWE also this year took home the blade (woohooo)!

May was an extremely busy month, attending various awards nights, such as the Student Experience Awards and the Societies Awards. It was great to see the recognition of the hard work and passion from students and staff here at UWE to their degree and much wider.  I also organised and hosted the Sports Ball and Awards, a brilliant experience to not only plan and organise, but also present in front of over 400 guests. A fantastic end to a fantastic year!

Thank you to all those who made my year so awesome, from all the students in sports clubs, staff in The Students’ Union and UWE and my Officer Team. It’s been swell!