For those of you who have just woken up from a coma, who lived under a rock or who simple don’t know, Edd Keeler is the current University of Stirling (UoS) Sports President.
He’s been elected on the 10th of March, but official started to ‘reign’ at the peak of Covid‑19 on the 1st of June 2020.
Edd is hard to miss ‑ he’s tall, ginger and doesn’t wear anything that’s not at least two sizes too big for him.
He is also a real sports enthusiast. During our short interview he mention sports 46 times.
When I ask him how his role as the Sports President has been so far, he chuckles: “challenging. I haven’t even sat in my office yet.”
Due to Covid‑19, Edd had to spend the first quarter of his ‘presidential’ year off campus in a lockdown, managing the flow of Stirling Sports from the comfort of his house.
“It is unlike [any] of the Sports Presidents before me. There’s so many of these first things for me; getting in the grips of how union works, and then getting in grips how it works within Covid. It’s been a challenge, but I am feeling good. I feel like we’ve already done some really interesting bits of work already.”
Excluding the Wednesday Tik Tok dance challenges with Gill Thayne, our previous Sports President, Edd has been keeping busy.
He’s been dealing with this year’s BUCS situation and has also been the main initiative for the BAME Student Experience Survey.
“I feel like it’s our place to make sure that we are paying attention to things outside of sports. It is not just about what’s happening on the field; it’s the other things that make sport incredible as well.”
On top of that, Keeler together with Alban Dickson, the UoS Sport Development Co‑Ordinator, have been guiding most of the sports clubs’ committees through Covid. With 51 sports clubs, Edd has to overlooking the satisfaction of approximately 2,000 sports club members. At times like these, is not necessarily the easiest of jobs.
“One of the biggest concerns [this year] is recruitment, letting everybody know that clubs are still happening. I am hopeful that people will understand that it’s a different year but there’s still a lot you can gain from being a part of a sports club. It gives us a chance to socialise and a really good way to tackle social isolation, and I encourage everyone to get involved with them.”
Edd, alongside with the sports union, is looking into how to make the sport club experience interesting and safe at the same time this year. As a part of his initiative, all sports club will require to have assigned COVID officer, which is, according to Edd, the “key to our safe return to sport at Stirling.”
Another major adjustment made this year are the Sports clubs’ ‘Give it a Go’, which are going to be held online for the first time ever. “I think it would be really exciting to see all the innovative things that the clubs do, given a new platform,” says Edd. “Give it a go is not just about giving the sport a go, it’s about seeing what the club’s like, seeing if you want to be part of it.”
Coronavirus might have interrupted the world of sports but Edd seems to keep his positivity and smile on. “It’s going be different, it’s going be difficult and challenging at times but I think we are up to the challenge, and as the Sports University of the Year for 2019, it’s our job to lead the way and continue to have this leading from the front approach.”
The Sport President says the pause from competitive play and hence “this disruption of our rhythm gives us a chance to develop clubs and refocus on what we have been doing [and what still can be done].”
As he mentioned in his campaign Edd’s “big focus for the year, [is] trying to make sure that sports at Stirling are as accessible and inclusive as possible. There’s no point in having sports for some people, if you can’t have sports for everybody.”
After all, “there is a sport for you in Stirling, you just have to find it.”
Feature image: Stirling Students’ Union