VP Sports Development final (and very late) Union Council Report

As promised in Union Council yesterday evening I have now written a report (well a blog really) in place of the report that I should’ve submitted last week in time for the papers to go out to council. Once again I’ll reiterate that it’s a mixture of bad time management, juggling work priorities and forgetting about the submission deadline until very late but here’s my report.

What’s happened since the last council meeting?

Quite a lot has happened despite the last council being only 3 weeks ago including the AU Awards Ball, Alumni Sports Day, AU General meeting, training almost 180 club and society presidents and training of the newly elected AU Committee reps and officers.

What I’ve done to get the AU back on track?

AU General meeting

2 councils ago I expressed concern about how many AU members view the AU. Some people refer to the AU as a bunch of people that sit in an office and make decisions without any consideration for the students that play sport. So I’ve been attempting to tackle some of those issues. The AU General Meeting was about what SUSU is and where the AU members fit in. It informed them about how decisions were made and what they could do to play a part in it. In fact you can view the presentation here

Club and society president training

On top of this myself and Shane Murphy (VP Student Engagement) offered Club and Society Presidents training over 4 different sessions last Thursday and Friday. For this we created a handout specifically for training which covered topics like “The role of a President”, “Key dates” between now and May 2013 and also answered many frequently asked questions. The handout can be seen here (The date for Varsity in this document is incorrect and it should be February 24th 2013 but I’ll get that changed). We also created a more in-depth document which is a bit more general for both AU and Societies and I’ll getting it online as soon as I can.

AU Committee training

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the new AU club Presidents over the past week but we also elected a new AU Committee (AUC). (we still have one vacancy which we will hold a by-election for at the next AU General Meeting in September). We’ve already had some major changes to the AUC by creating a Finance subcommittee and creating 2 more officer positions. Not only that but we thought it would be a revolutionary idea to train the committee as to what they were doing and this training for the new committee took place on Friday evening. In this training session they were taught about AUC role within SUSU (i.e. as a standing committee of Union Council), their role as representatives and officers and what sitting on the committee means. (by this I expressed the importance of not just going to the meeting to listen and find out things about the AU but the importance of having a voice, directing the work of the officers and keeping up to date with officer progress. If they wanted to talk about something then making sure it went on the agenda etc.)  We also discussed how we would implement the representation structure which the reps would follow to ensure sufficient active communication between the AUC and the AU club presidents.

What I plan to continue work with before I finish my term in office

There are a few things I want to make sure I do before I finish my term in office they are:

  • Handover documents – I can’t tell you how useful it would’ve been to know a few more things coming into the role of VP Sports Development and just being able to access it in somewhere easy to find. I want to make sure I get useful handover documents not just for my successor but for the student leaders, exec officers and the AUC reps too.
  • Finish logistics working group – This group has been looking at the transport needs for the Union as a whole and what resources we would need to potentially satisfy the demand to a suitable standard. I want to make sure a proposal is drafted.
  • Trophy Cabinet – Many people have talked about getting this in the past and I’m yet another one of them. We’ve got the area measured up and are looking at quotes for the cabinet. Hopefully we’ll all agree on one and just get it done.
  • Intramural Sport – I have barely spent any time on this during my year but it’s so crucial to sport outside the AU that I need to at least get an idea about the main issues and potential solutions to be able to handover.
  • Student Group Affiliation Project – This is a massive project which is joint with the VP Student Engagement to look at the needs for the various affiliated student groups and the most efficient ways to support them. I don’t see this finishing until the end of the next academic year to be implemented for the academic year 2013/14 but I want to make a good start with it.
  • Website Content and Layout – During the period when the e-mails were down in January I locked myself away in a room for a few hours and came out with a complete design for the sports section of the website (I’m no computer whizz so this design was on paper and I then transferred it to PowerPoint). I want to finish all of the written content for the potential site so that when we finally get round to improving the website there’ll be no wait for the sports section.

So what happened to your original 4 goals that you told council you would achieve?

As Sasha mentioned in his VP Academic Affairs Annual report blog we told council we would achieve 4 main goals at the start of the year. During the year I struggled to devote time to these goals and started to look at the reasons why it was taking me so long to make progress with anything I did. The culmination of that thought process lead me to produce this council report on 12th March 2012, which I explained the problems with the VP Sports Development/AU President role as it had evolved. My new goal for the rest of the year was about fixing this, because I believe that without fixing those problems, the VP Sports sabb would always struggle to make the impact that a sabbatical should.

That’s the long way of saying I haven’t got as far with these goals as I had hoped when I set them but you all should know how far I actually got with them anyway.

  1. AU Strategic Plan/Big Document – I finished drafting the document which was basically a spreadsheet of questions I wanted answered from all AU clubs which was everything that I thought would be useful to know and hence improve upon. These included questions like the suitability of Facilities, to storage, sponsorship, insurance, equipment etc. I hoped to gather all of this information and pinpoint everything that needed addressing and also prioritising them. I showed this document to Shane and Student activities and Shane thought that there was more we could do with it in terms of its presentation. Not only that but we started to think about the documents we needed to protect our student groups and this turned into discussion with more staff and it’s all turned into part (and I stress that it’s only a small part) of the Student group affiliation project.
  2. Research in recreational sport and health – I didn’t tackle this as much as I wanted to and that’s partly because between me and the Sport and Health officer, we didn’t work effectively to really establish the student leader position. From a meeting that was held back in December it was discussed that the provisions were already there for people to get involved in sport but the Union wasn’t transparent enough. We discussed that the website would be the best way forward to increase transparency of sporting opportunities so I feel it’s important that I get the design and content for the website finished before I go so that the relevant section of the website can be done efficiently when the time comes for it to get done.
  3. Sports Branding – Possibly the goal I’m most disappointed about not getting round to finish. I think a sports brand across the entire student body (not just the AU) would really increase the community feel and the pride amongst all students about sport. I think a unified identity would give us much more power and weight when we lobby for sporting improvement etc. yet it’s one of the hardest things to approach the right way. What also disappoints me is that I’m yet another officer who’s wanted to address this and failed to get it done. One day it will happen, I’m more than sure of it because it’s been brought up so often and it’s happening more and more across the country.
  4. Wide Lane Gym – I had to finish on a good note. This was the major manifesto point I campaigned on and am happy to say that the gym is going to be delivered to a level that’s better than I had planned when I was campaigning. I was lucky that I had full support from Sport and Wellbeing with this one so I never once struggled to make this happen, in fact Sport and Wellbeing were so enthusiastic about it that they wrote the bulk of the proposal. I felt like I was supporting them in doing this. All we’re waiting on now is the delivery of the equipment, all of the other work has been done and I’ll make sure to update everyone when I get the update.

Well done if you have made it this far as I appreciate that it was a lot to get through. If there are any comments or questions please feel free to leave them below.

I have really enjoyed being your VP Sports Development officer this year and it’s going to be very sad to go 🙁

Lots of sporting love

Jonny 🙂

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