Sports President candidate Craig Stephen says that his experience makes him the right choice for the job.
Stephen told Brig that his time working with the past two sport presidents would stand him in good stead to take over from Gill Thayne:
“I’ve been basketball president for three years now, and I’ve also been a part of the Sports Union Executive as Communications officer and Participation and engagement officer. This means I’ve worked with the past two sports presidents, and I’ve been part of the union executive this year making decisions on things like the strikes and public statements.
“I feel experience makes everything a lot easier. As much as my main bulk of experience has been in the sport union, I’ve also been a committee member for the LGBT society, and a module rep, for about a year and a half now too, so I know how the rest of the union works. I feel I can support other sabbatical officers in that respect.
“I think I’ve really benefitted from being on the executive as communications officer and participation and engagement officer. I’ve spoken to so many club presidents and committee members, I’ve already got these connections in the sport union. I’m not having to come in and learn how it all works. I’ll still have a lot to learn though, I’m not sitting here by any means and saying I know everything that’s going on, it’s just I’ve got a good foundation.”
Stephen also points to his creation as Participation and engagement officer, The Social Club, as a reason he should be elected:
“For the price of a sport union membership, there’s been a whole semester worth of beginner sessions in different sports. In the first semester we had things like ultimate frisbee and cricket and dance. The Social Club has been a struggle this year, I’m not going to shy away from that, because I know people will come and say they haven’t heard of it before. For a project like that to succeed it takes time and it takes man power.
“In terms of moving forward on accessibility, I want more research. I want to find out what we can do from the students. As much as I’m a student, I need to hear from others about what stops them from getting involved. Then reflect on that so we can implement something that helps.
“I also want to look at holding workshops and focus groups, particularly with LGBT students and ethnic minority students, about what it is that stops them from taking part in the sport union. Then I want to work with the sport development service to make sure all the services we offer on campus match up with what minority populations expect from us. My dissertation this year is all about letting barriers down for LGBT students on campus, so it’s something I have experience doing.”
On the current kit situation, Stephen stressed that student needs are the priority going forward:
“It’s all about working with Gill to find out what the student’s priorities are. She has already been out to find out what matters; is it cost, quality, sustainability, what is the main thing students are looking for? We need to make sure the provider is there and giving us what we are looking for.”
Looking back on the past year, Stephen is keen to replicate Gill Thayne’s outgoing personality:
“I think Gill has been a really good people person, she’s kept people in the loop the best she can, and I think that’s really important. Carrying on that attitude and the resilience she has is definitely something I want to do.
“Something I want to build on is the communication side of things. As much as people are involved in the sport union, they don’t understand everything it can do for you. I want to tell people; this is what the union does, these are all the opportunities we can offer, and make sure everyone knows what is going on.”
Voting opens Monday 9 March at 9am and closes Tuesday 10 March at 6:15pm.