Sports Union Participation and Engagement Officer candidate Akolad Agbebi wants to give students rewards and incentives for doing sports

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A healthy and sporty lifestyle is a must for Sports Participation and Engagement Officer candidate Akolad Agbebi and he’d like to show every student they can live it too.

As a Masters student of sports management and an enthusiastic handball player, Akolad believes that sport “makes you look younger, look fresher and healthier.

“So we need to make people understand that there is a need for them to participate in sports and the structure is there for them to use.”

Akolad is sure he can bring a ton of experience into the role from when he was the Sports Director of his faculty of over 8,000 students as an undergraduate student in Nigeria.

Motivation and rewards

The first item on Akolad’s agenda is to get more players for University teams. He knows that “there are actually players that can perform excellently well”, they just don’t have enough information and motivation to come down to the Sports Centre.

One way Akolad wants to get more people involved in sports is to organise competitions within faculties. For example, there could be an amateur volleyball competition within the Faculty of Social Sciences, where even students with no background in sports could participate.

“At the end of the competition, when we have winners, I’m very sure half of the winning team — if not half, close to half of them — will want to join the school team because they realise ‘I have done something great for myself, so let me just continue’,” explains Akolad.

Another way Akolad would like to motivate students is to offer students a participation fee when they represent the University: “I understand that everyone has been playing out of no incentives just for fun, and when you’re playing sport for fun, it’s hard to see a motivation to win.”

And a financial reward would also be waiting for the students who win a competition, just like the reward that motivated Akolad when he was competing in the Nigerian University Games.

Akolad says another way to get students to participate in sports is to make them contribute to it. “I did a little research and I realised Stirling has about 17,000 students. If the 17,000 students pay a fee of, let’s say £200 for sports compulsorily, let’s say £100 or let’s say £50,” Akolad said, then this money could go to the Students’ Union, where both societies and sports clubs could use it.

“So either you play or you don’t play the money is actually used to motivate those that are participating on your behalf,” explains Akolad. “It is compulsory that every student of the school participates in the Students’ Union. Without the students, there’s no Students’ Union, and without Students’ Union, there are no students.”

Image Credit: University of Stirling on Facebook.

One-on-one approach

The University does a great job of promoting its sports facilities, thinks Akolad: “I’ve seen a lot of flyers, I’ve seen online marketing about the Sports Complex, which is why one of the reasons I chose Stirling to come and study here.”

However, he believes that while the University’s marketing attracts plenty of students to apply here, it doesn’t work as well for the students who already attend the University.

“To get people within the school, you need to go directly to them now and start communicating with them,” said Akolad.

“Anybody you see on the road, you talk to them. Are you a member of the Students’ Union? Have you been participating in sports? If they say no, then you will give them motivation. We have free coffee, you can drop by and take your free coffee in the Sports Union, this and that,” explains Akolad, adding there should be someone to welcome newcomers and show them around.

Sports symposium

Akolad’s third manifesto point is to organise a Sports Symposium, a seminar about sports where students could learn about the benefits of participating in them.

Akolad is dreaming big and talking about bringing in popular athletes from around the world: “We can go to the English Premier League and bring a particular player if we have the capacity. We bring him over and we’ll publicise to people that someone is coming from the English Premier League to come and talk to people about the importance of sports, and I’m very sure a lot of people will want to see.”

Akolad’s manifesto can be found in full here.

Voting opens on Tuesday, February 28 at 10 am and closes on Thursday, March 2 at 5 pm.

Featured image credit: Akolad Agbebi

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Fourth year journalism student at the University of Stirling and Brig's politics editor.

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