All six candidates are equally enthusiastic to be elected as the next Sabbatical Officer for Vice President (Sport). While each candidate has displayed a great deal of passion for sport and has years of experience under their belt, they each have diverse viewpoints on what should be done to improve sport at the University of […]

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All six candidates are equally enthusiastic to be elected as the next Sabbatical Officer for Vice President (Sport). While each candidate has displayed a great deal of passion for sport and has years of experience under their belt, they each have diverse viewpoints on what should be done to improve sport at the University of Birmingham.

Since the start of the Guild Elections on Wednesday 27th February, the candidates have used various approaches to promote themselves and their policies. The paths to University, the main campus and even the Student Halls have been covered with a series of colourful signs, each with different slogans such as ‘ReElect the Peach’ (James Hughes) and ‘Vote Va Va Voom’ (Vicki Harris). While James has been talking to students dressed as a giant peach, Tim and Vicki have both employed the use of video. ‘Barso Boom’ is a catchy rap by Tim in which he puts across his policies for a healthier lifestyle by promising more accessible fruit and vegetables, as well free fitness classes. He is shown on campus and Selly Oak distributing groceries and cycling. ‘What Is Va Va Voom’ is a dynamic and fun video which shows Vicki’s ‘morph men’, dressed in her vibrant purple colour, somersaulting across campus.

The candidates have had several opportunities to talk about their policies at the Hustings (28th February and 4th March) and at Candidate Question Time (29th March). A question that was raised more than once during the Candidate Question Time was what the candidates would do to ensure that women were given the same opportunities as men; a lot of students feel that there is still a lack of equality for women in the field of sport. Dan pointed out that ‘a lot of elite athletes are women’ and it is necessary to have equally accessible programmes for both men and women so that both can progress together. Sam answered that he would make sure that there is the same amount of participation by promising equal teams. For Vicki, the solution lies in having a women’s representative and a men’s one in order ‘to give a voice to both’. Sara has made female participation a key aspect of her manifesto; by introducing ‘female only’ gym and swim times she is hoping to tackle the issue of female students of ethnic minority backgrounds feeling like they cannot expose themselves to men. When asked about whether her plans for a new agenda for gym and swim would affect the personal routines of male students in a Redbrick interview, she replied, ‘It would be a very flexible session that would not happen during a peak time’.

Perhaps one of the tensest moments during the Question Time was when the candidates were asked whether or not they should be given the opportunity to be re-elected for a second term. Dan Jaenicke disagreed, saying that the current Vice President has had his time and it is necessary to introduce fresh ideas. The current Vice President, James Hughes, opposed, claiming that he will introduce two new policies (Increasing accessibility in sport for disabled students and pushing for sporting volunteering) as well as continuing with his policies from last year (increasing sporting participation, healthy living and fighting for sporting value).

Yashi Banymadhub, Redbrick’s VPS correspondent
Win or lose, one thing is certain- each of the six VP Sport candidates have dedicated their university life to sport and if elected will strive for the improvement of UoB Sport.

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