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Athletic Union & Sport Officer Blog

Photo of S Dan Grimsdell looking into the camera, smiling

Hi everyone, I’m Dan and my elected position is AU and Sport Officer. My role is to ensure students are engaging in sports and physical activity, in both competitive and non-competitive ways. I also hold the position of AU president in which I look after all the sports teams within the Athletic Union.

I have just finished my second year of studying a BA in Finance and International Business. I have been a part of the AU since day one and have been involved in the committee of both Rugby and the AU itself, as you can tell it has been a huge part of my great experience at university and so I would like to ensure that others have the same opportunity as I did. 

Talk to me about:

  • Athletic Union Clubs
  • Physical Activity
  • Healthy Lifestyles

 Email me at or contact me on social media below:

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Want to find out about my plans this year?

Honesty is the Best Policy

Since July I have been wrapped up in a world of SU, AU, University and NUS and after the first real break this Christmas I will try and summarise my thoughts and plans for the future.

When I started the job in July little did I realise the amount of work and diverse range of situations I and the rest of the sab team would have to tackle. Trust me it feels like a lot longer than six months ago that we started. In that time there have been some great moments as well as some that have left me wondering where sanity has run off too, a lot of hello’s and goodbye’s and so many Google calendar invites.

I was very lucky in taking over the role from a very good friend of mine and was given a fantastic handover period, however, nothing was to prepare us for what we had to deal with. Being placed into the start of a director resignation was not ideal and has taken up a lot of work of the team. Personally, I feel that we have acted in the best possible way. Perhaps there was a little bit of burying our heads in sand, however, when five individuals whatever age are thrust into the situation that we were it was going be a long process to make sure that it was handled correctly. Now due to the work that has gone on within the team, we are in the situation where the SU has the grounding for a much stronger relationship with the University who do a lot for the Students Union. Thanks must be accredited to the others sabs and Ceri Smith who has led the staff fantastically through this period.

We attended NUS conference and were thrust into a cauldron of campaigning and individuals grappling for support. This issue was with Coca-Cola and realistically as a team of sabs that were all first years struggled to understand what was occurring. It was an argument that was led by a few and was not an issue that affected you as students. Sadly I feel that our time has been taken with issues that do not even scratch the surface in wide student engagement and I want to spend my time making your experience at Keele the best that it can be and I will be working to make this possible. 

The SU is in a period of transition and plans are being put in place to make sure that KeeleSU is not just a top ten SU but the top SU in the country. We have been joined by Jim, CEO of UEA SU, to help us through the recruitment process and so far the signs are very positive. At times this year, it has been tough and we have all had our frustrations. In a recent review on how I have been doing in the role one of the frequent mentions was that I have good ideas, big ideas, however, the implementation of the ideas does not happen. This is very true and frustrates me but sadly this is part and parcel of the role. Due to the time frame of the role it is very hard to deal with the day to day running, actions that require instant action, prevent future issues and generate big ideas into big events. I think that an area for me to work on is time management and it has been put on the list of New Year’s resolutions to try and be more time effective and punctual. It is something I have never been great at and is probably time I started to do so.

Towards the end of term through the festive cheer, there were some fantastic results. The German Beer Tent which was a vision of mine at the start of the year was a fantastic success and received great reviews and gave me the chance to DJ for a short time. The University is also now funding 24 coaches from next year directly for AU clubs which is a massive step in the right direction. One of my main aims is put Keele back on the sporting map and improving the quality of coaching available to clubs is a great asset. Finally, at the end of the year, there was an increase in the negative use of Yik Yak an app that had previously been a useful tool. I was shocked by some of what I saw and did not think that school playground bullying was necessary. Cyberbullying really frustrates me and Yik Yak facilitates this perfectly. Sitting behind a computer and attacking someone whether you deem “banter” or not is a cowards game. Do not stand for action of individuals it’s sickening some of the crude lurid sentences that are created.  It really angers me and will be tackled ASAP with the help of all relevant sources.

The future as always in a new year is full of plans and ideas and promises to ourselves that we will be better in 2016 than our 2015 selves. Varsity promises to be the biggest ever and work is well underway to make sure that it is the best and most successful, as well as there being a Keele win as per usual. Elections are coming up and the questions of whether I am re-running are frequent. Honestly, I have not entirely decided however I really would like to see some of the longer term plans through and hopefully I am doing a good enough job to warrant your vote.

Best of Luck with exams and thank you for reading this


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