A Year As Vice President Sport

In my first year as VP Sport, it has been an absolute pleasure to witness the successes and developments of active lifestyle on campus – from facility improvements to weekly activities from sports clubs.

There has been so much to shout about this year, and I’m excited to see what the next year will bring!

What has it all been like? 

Amazing, challenging, rewarding and everything else in-between. Every day offers a new challenge, and that’s what makes the role so unique. One day I’m in an important meeting with senior members of college with the other Sabbatical Officers discussing college long term strategy, and the next day I might be down at the Sports Centre cheering on the teams in their weekly fixtures. It varies so much.

Like I said before, being able to witness sports clubs conduct fundraisers, charity events, high quality sporting fixtures and club development on a weekly basis is a real privilege. Everything groups do surrounding their core purpose is invaluable, and I thank committees for being figureheads within their groups, making a massive difference and inspiring the next wave of committee members!

I have grown a lot over the year and have understood the role more and more with time. The excellent staff, Sabbatical Officers and students surrounding me have provided incredible support, and it would have been a much harder experience without them all providing invaluable advice and energy.

Highlights of the year 

Some of the biggest dates in the academic diary belong to sports clubs and societies. These events have been major highlights for me throughout the first year as VP Sport. Varsity this year was in its third instalment, and we were returning to Surrey and #ComingBackStronger. After competing in Varsity for the past two years, and helping to organise it this year, I saw the rapid progression of the event and enjoyed seeing how students adopted the Varsity vibe.

It was a long and stressful day, but this was made so much easier by witnessing the passion shown by every member that was competing and spectating. One of the best things for me on the day was seeing different sports clubs supporting others and cheering on from the side lines, really showing the power of the Bears.

Luckily, I was able to reign victorious in my event – the all-important mascot race. However, the highlight has to be the basketball finale, which saw us narrowly lose to Surrey, but the effort from the team was unquestionable and I was incredibly proud.

Alongside this, Colours Ball was an absolutely fantastic event that allowed us to recognise many groups and individuals that have excelled in their field this year. It would be silly to say I wasn’t nervous to stand up in front of 600 people and speak for an hour, but seeing the faces of award winners made it all worth it (and I managed to sneak in a glass of wine in the breaks)!

Colours Ball is not perfect and we are always looking to improve, but I hope people recognised our efforts this year to be more inclusive and accommodate the needs of all dietary and drinks requirements. This was a simple but impactful change, and we will be looking to make even more positive changes in the coming months.

Another main highlight for me was my main campaign this year, which was to run a Disability Sports Day that allowed people to learn about various disabilities and how others deal with them. It was part of a Disability Awareness Week which was run by Willow Wong.

As part of this Sports day we had the local Charity Sports Able come down to run a wheelchair treadmill activity, which tested how far you could travel in a minute. As well as this we had sitting volleyball and goalball sessions run by Goalball UK. Sports clubs had a fantastic interaction with this event and I was so happy with the relationships created between the local charities and the clubs at Royal Holloway.

What to expect from me next year?

Next year I’m looking to hitting the ground running over the summer and welcoming all the new Officers in. I am looking forward to starting work on my manifesto points before the madness of Fresher’s Week starts in September. Completing online forms, meeting with welfare secretaries and reviewing the Student Opportunities Membership are at the top of my agenda, and I look forward to getting student input into these projects.

Of course, next year we will be hosting the fourth annual Varsity at Royal Holloway, which is incredibly exciting. We will be aiming to get as many students down to the Sports Centre as possible on the day to support our wonderful sports clubs and societies.

Colours Ball and Socs Ball will be going under review to improve these events based on student feedback. This will be a big piece of work, and like I said earlier we are always looking to improve events and projects where we can!

Being a returning Sabb will present different challenges, but I’m looking forward to being a supportive figure for the incoming Officers.

Why stand in Elections?

I remember looking at the job pack before I stood for my first Elections and “umming” and “ahhing” about running. The best piece of advice I was given was to just go for it and be confident. I am passing that onto you now! You have to find the confidence in yourself, and if you feel like you are the best person to inspire change, then go for it!

With the merging of the Sports and Societies roles, a new challenge will be presented next year, and it will be interesting to see the potential candidates and their manifestos. The culture will take a couple of years to settle in, but myself and outgoing VP Societies & Media Holly Hughes are confident that it is the best step forward for the future of active lifestyle at Royal Holloway.

This is a fantastic opportunity to work in a unique position and surround yourself with motivated people.

If you need any more information, then don’t hesitate to contact me, because I will be happy to provide more!