Before campaigning and voting week began, News Editors Liam Taft and Megan Stanley interviewed this year’s candidates for the role of Sports Officer
The Sports Officer liaises with UB Sport to ensure that sports clubs at the University are inclusive and focuses on students’ mental and physical health and wellbeing.
The candidates running for the position this year are listed alphabetically by their surname on this page. Voting for Guild Elections opens at 10 AM on Monday 25th February and closes at 4 PM on Friday 1st March, with the results announced on Saturday 2nd March. Vote HERE.
Josh Dooler, 21, is a third-year Geography student. He is running for Sports Officer because ‘it’s a great opportunity to give back to the Guild.’ During his undergraduate degree, Josh has been the Club Captain and Social Secretary for the first cricket team.
In addition to BUCS sport, he has also played campus league, as well as netball and football for the Geography team. Therefore, he says he has ‘seen both sides of the spectrum,’ which will allow him to ‘represent the student voice from all perspectives.’
One major part of his manifesto is student welfare. Josh proposes appointing a welfare committee member for every sport. He also plans to work with the Guild’s Welfare and Community Officer to organise termly meetings to discuss any issues that have arisen.
Integration is also key to his manifesto: he wants to introduce more free taster sessions and activities that will make sport more inclusive for disabled students and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Social media is something that Josh wants to use more frequently to promote sports across the University of Birmingham. By posting about more competitions and fixtures – not just major events such as xpLosION – Josh hopes that using social media will increase crowds and celebrate success.
He also wants to encourage sports teams to promote events other than their own games, because he would like ‘all UBSport teams to support one another.’ Josh also wants to improve the UBSport app to improve communication about online fixtures, results, and information regarding Sports Night.
Although Josh recognises that the gym is a business that needs to record a profit, he hopes to keep gym prices, availability, and opening hours ‘student friendly.’ He wants to maintain prices because ‘students need to be the focus of the gym.’
What makes Josh stand out from the other candidates? ‘I feel like my personal and approachable attitude will represent the whole of the student voice,’ he says. ‘With my past experience, I can help bridge the gap between students, the Guild, and UBSport.’
Current Sports Officer and UoB graduate, Simon Price, is re-running to serve a second year in the role.
‘There’s so much stuff I’ve been working on this year that I was to continue with,’ Price told Redbrick.
One of the main things he has been working on is a new club tier system, where clubs can be ranked bronze, silver or gold depending on criteria such as attending ‘Not On’ workshops: ‘It’s took quite a long time to work on so want to make sure I can continue to work on that over summer and kind of roll it out in force in September.’
Last year, Price promised gym memberships for all on his manifesto and told Redbrick that he’s now looking at more feasible options to ensure all students get what they want.
‘I thought I could walk in and influence the gym memberships in terms of what’s available and the pricing and I was quite disappointed that I couldn’t have any say in that at all.’
Instead, his new manifesto is looking to ensure that Tiverton Gym is run with students in mind: ‘sport and fitness comes across very commercial, and students can’t really input how their gym is run. What I would like to do is input a feedback system so that students can actually relay their thoughts directly back to UB Sport.’
Price is also looking to install outdoor gym equipment for increased exercise options.
If re-elected, Price will also introduce career opportunities for sport club members, such as CV workshops and career fairs specific to sports.
Price currently works with Redbrick Sport to name a ‘club of the fortnight’ each week, but would publicise more on his own socials next year.
‘The Redbrick features have been really, really good but what I would like to do is kind of go a bit bigger on my own channels. Sports have developed quite a bad name because of the initiations. Despite them doing really, really good work, it’s just the negative stuff that’s publicised which is a shame,’ Price said.
Price acknowledged the issues that initiations have caused this year and said that during summer training for committees, there will be more sessions on social responsibility for all clubs.
Finally, Price told Redbrick why students should vote for him: ‘I’ve got four years of university sports experience, both in competing in BUCS and my role [as Sports Officer]. My core values have stayed the same as last year, I’ve just developed them based on knowing what you can and can’t do.’