When it comes to public speaking, Lindsay MacDonald is the first to admit that she could improve. On first meeting you could sense the underlying nervousness. However, as soon as the first question was asked, her passion, pragmatism and charisma came out profusely.
The fourth year sport and exercise science student was keen to point out her own sporting background early on: “I’ve been part of sports teams since I started university, part of netball and trampolining, so a bit of a mixed bag with a big team and a little team, so I think I’m quite a good candidate for the job because I know it from both sides.
“I’ve also been part of the Sports Union Executive committee for two years now working closely with Jess Morris, who’s the current sports president, and I get to see an insight into what actually happens in the union regarding funding and stuff like that, and see how it all works – this gives me an edge”. (over the other candidates).
Having worked so closely with Jess she has seen all the good work that has been done over the past two years, and said that one thing she’d definitely continue with was the imitative of #BleedGreen: “I think it’s been absolutely amazing, you see it everywhere. I think it brings the sports teams closer together sort of more of a family.
“If you search on Twitter #BleedGreen you get to see all the sports teams results, how well they’re doing, all their fixtures and results, so I think that’s probably one of the best things she’s done since she’s been president”.
However, there are certain aspects of Jess’s reign that Lindsay would like to see changed: “The little clubs not getting as much recognition as the big clubs. I know for a fact that we went to Ireland for trampolining and we won the competition, I messaged Jess just to let her know how we got on and we didn’t really get a post about it.
“So I think it would be better to publicise the little clubs a lot more. So, as part of my manifesto I want to do a club spotlight – so a club of the week sort of thing – do a little profile of the club and some of its members, interesting facts, if they won a big competition etc.”
Coming on to her manifesto she believes her main and most important policy is that of being a voice for all students: “Basically, I feel everyone who’s in the sports union should have a voice, not just the big clubs, little clubs included. I want to be the person they come to if they have any problems. I just want to make sure everyone is heard.
“I think I’ve got quite good links with different clubs, I know lots of people in lots of clubs, I don’t know if that’s because I study sport or do sport but I started to get to know people, I think its also because I’m a very approachable person”.
Another policy which is high on the agenda is improving inter-club relationships and tackling the animosity which can surface: “I think a major influence is alcohol, most bad things end up on nights out basically. So, I would try and remove that factor and have more events down at the Gannochy.
“A couple of years ago the cheerleaders had a rounder’s competition which went really well, so I’d organise events like that just to get the clubs more involved in a more friendly environment, where alcohol is complexly removed from the equation. So that it doesn’t become a fuel for hatred or anything.
“I’ll also try and encourage people to go and watch home fixtures more, even if it’s not their sport; get everyone down to watch them even if it’s not even a big game. Just make it more friendly and more of a family rather than separate teams”.
Having worked on the sports exec team she knows first hand how the sports union cuts have affected teams and has some interesting ideas on how to combat the issue of fundraising: “If you try and do fun things rather than your boring bake sale people are more likely to donate, for example, in trampolining we’ve been trying to think of fun fundraisers and we were thinking of doing a sponsored bounce-athon, so basically get one of our trampolines and bounce on it for 24 hours, so it’s something a bit different so people are more likely to donate”.
The proposed redevelopment of the Gannochy sports centre is a hot topic at the moment and could be the most important thing the next sports president oversees. Lindsay was very assertive on this matter that she would do what is best for everyone: “It’s all a bit controversial. If I was elected sports president, I would make sure that we have a big push for what clubs want, because obviously the sports facilities are mainly used by us.
“I think 61% of the pitch usage is sports union rather than other teams coming in, so I feel sports teams should have the biggest say in what happens and what needs to be done. I know the sports hall isn’t changing – not making it any bigger or changing it at all when I feel like that should be one of the priorities. I would stand my ground on this, put my opinions across, tell the redevelopment people that this is what needs to happen”.
On her rival candidates, I asked if there was any policies that she might adopt from their campaigns: “Everyone has good points, Rebecca Blair has that Opportunity for All, which I think is a really good idea, but I think a lot of our ideas are pretty similar. There’s lots of crossover between candidates, but I feel we all have really good unique ones as well”.
The path to victory will be a hard one, but she feels that it’s one that is achievable if she can give herself the maximum amount of exposure as possible: “Just need to get my face everywhere basically, getting my promo video finished just now.
“On Sunday, we will put the posters everywhere, going to make sure my face is plastered everywhere, going to start approaching people letting them know who I am letting them know what my manifesto is and how I’m going to do it”.
If Lindsay is successful, she says the first thing she will do is create good relationships between all the club presidents: “I’m only wanting what’s best for the sports union. I’ll tell everyone what I’m planning on doing for the year, based on my manifesto, and then start creating good relationships with all the presidents.
“Maybe do a team bonding or something just to make sure they’re all together make them aware that I will be very approachable and contactable so that if they ever need me I’ll always be there. I know it’s not a 9 to 5 job, Jess works all hours and I’ll be the same”.
Finally, I ask what she would like her legacy to be should she win to which she simply replied “As long as I go out and do what I have promised then I’ll be happy with that”.