After describing his first year as a ‘learning curve’, Sports President candidate Murray Bushell is adamant that a second term in charge will drive major change within the Sports Union.
The sports studies graduate believes now is the time to cash in on the experience and relationships he has already built.
Bushell told Brig: “From the very start of coming in last year, I thought this could be a two-year project.
“Last year was about learning, getting experiences and building relationships, whereas this next year is about making a real change and difference in the Sports Union.”
There were improvements in facilities last year, with sports hall one, the tennis courts, and the swimming pool benefiting from refurbishment.
Conversations have started around improving outdoor facilities, and despite being a long-term project, Bushell insists continuity will allow him to improve the experience for Sports Union clubs.
He said: “The handover period between the old president to the new one is underestimated. I can come straight in as soon as elections are over and start working this year and get going.”
While relationships have already formed with students and staff members, Bushell also aims to continue supporting student athletes in order to offer further support.
Bushell said: “I don’t see how students can come to us and feel represented by the Sports Union if we don’t go and watch them and feel like we care about them.
“I made a big deal at the start of the year, about going to watch every Wednesday – it’s my favourite time of the week.
“You can see they appreciate it, and I can say as a matter of fact the Sports Union cares about the students.”
The former uni goalkeeper did note that support for club members stretches further than encouragement, however.
Primarily, as some sports clubs continue to struggle for funding, Bushell aims to set up an Alumni fund to provide clubs with financial support and allow ex-students to hold an active interest in sports at Stirling.
“If we can engage our alumni right from graduation, it’s the years after where we will see the benefit.”
Asked about its sustainability, Bushell added: “I would rather have 1,000 people donate £5 than have five people donate £1,000.
“It would start from crowdfunding, so get all the clubs to share and promote it to their alumni, and if we don’t hit the targets we set, the money will go back to Alumni – we don’t want to waste their money.
“We need to get the clubs to buy in, but we have to paint the picture that this is a great opportunity.”
Promotion and development
Alongside supporting students, at the heart of the current Sports President’s plans is ensuring clubs are promoted and developed appropriately.
While scholar teams ‘deserve recognition’, Bushell believes that he can assist certain sports teams in attracting new athletes and ultimately promote success, culture, engagement and participation.
For Bushell, inclusion remains firmly in his plans to bring the sports Union forward. He added: “I want to speak to societies like LGBTQ+ and BAME, to find out how we can bring you into sport.
“We, unfortunately, can’t see the stats for how many transgender athletes we have, but if we are open to show our transgender policy, people can see we are thinking about it, and they can come and join us.”
Ultimately, Bushell hopes a Sports Union under his leadership will draw attention to the enjoyment of sports at Stirling while balancing competitiveness and participation.
“It’s not all about winning, it’s as much about participation and engagement, but external factors can bring people in.
“If you suddenly have a really good coach, maybe you then have more people at training, and it can be more enjoyable.
“Enjoyment is really what it is all about. Winning is important, and when I come in on a Thursday, I love seeing who has won, but I know that playing sports and being in the sports union is what makes University for me and for so many other people.”
Featured Image Credit: Jonathan Boomer
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