As your Athletic Union (AU) and Sports Officer I have organised a variety of events and campaigns on behalf of Team Keele (AU) and the Student’s Union. The following report will give an insight into my activity since mid-September.
Bra Bank for Against Breast Cancer
I have organised a university and community wide collection of bras for our bra bank that supports Against Breast Cancer. The collection will run throughout the academic year and bras will be sent to the charity at the end of every term. The bras collected will be sent to women in less economically developed countries where bras remain too expensive to produce locally. For every tonne of bras collected, Against Breast Cancer receives £700 to fund lifesaving research. In return the charity is given to help find a cure for breast cancer. Donations are welcome from all students, staff, past students, and the local community at one of our donation bins in the sports center or the bottom floor of Keele SU. We aim to surpass the 1000 mark set in 2020.
Educating Students on 'How to Check for...'
I have created leaflets and posters to educate students on the symptoms of a range of cancers and on how to check themselves. The leaflets include: testicular cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer in women and men. Each leaflet includes statistics, a how to guide to effectively check yourself, what to symptoms to look out for and what to do if you find/notice any symptoms. The leaflets are available on stands in the sports center and the student union. The matching posters have been and will continue to be posted in the toilets and changing rooms in these buildings. I feel it is important that students are aware of how to check themselves properly, answer FAQs and break stigmas.
Past Vs Present
Past vs Present has become a beloved staple in the academic calendar, as alumni get to relive former glory as they participate in head-to-head fixtures with current students over the course of one weekend. The Athletic Union invited alumni to participate in fixtures for over twenty different sports, attend socials with their former teams and relive the iconic Wednesday nights at Keele Student Union through the AU:dio takeover evening.
Our winter Past vs Present event attracted alumni from far and wide, as hundreds of former students flocked to campus on the Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th November. The opportunity to play with alumni was a very valuable to many present students, as they enjoyed learning previous winning tactics and challenging their abilities against some of our finest former players. The nights festivities were a roaring success, with hundreds of attendees at the Keele Students Union on Saturday night. The feedback collected from the event has highlighted the importance of continuing the PvP’s legacy, as for many students the extra-curricular activities that were involved in, made their experience at Keele. As a result of the feedback collected in conjunction with requests from alumni, the Athletic Union are hoping to organise a Summer Past vs Present in the late spring of 2022.
Spiking Solutions: Scrunchies
An initiative I am are looking into are the dually functional scrunchies that can be used to cover over most cups and glasses to prevent pills and powders from being dropped into a drink. The scrunchies can be worn on wrist or in your hair until needed, which highlights the discrete nature of the product in addition to its portability. To use the drink cover, the scrunchies can be opened to reveal a drink cover that is hidden in an internal pocket. Simply place over drink, pop in a straw and you are good to go. The product is a one size fits all due to the stretchy material, which means it can be used at a variety of events. The drink cover also fits in with our green initiative as it is reusable and easy to clean. The scrunchies have proven popular on the international stage, although they are currently very expensive per unit. I am looking into how to utilise Keele SU’s buying power so we can capitalise on economies of scale in conjunction with utilising initiatives such as the Keele Key Fund.
Starting to Rebrand to 'Team Keele'
I have started to rebrand the Athletic Union (AU) as ‘Team Keele’ which includes all AU clubs, sports societies and medical sport societies. It will be a long journey to official rebrand all student-led sports activities as ‘Team Keele’ as there are many obstacles such as membership fees, the current structure of the AU and the benefits/limitations of being in the AU or a society. Initial measures have been made by organising a monthly meeting with all sports related clubs/socs, to check in with their progress and assist them on their activities. Moreover, I have made an effort to post any sport related content from students on social media under the brand Team Keele, to make new and current students associate all sports clubs and societies under one brand. I will be focusing on the marketing and operations side over the next few months.
Medical Sports and Medics, Nursing, Midwifery and Vets
I want to improve the experience that medical, nursing, midwifery and veterinary students have with Team Keele, the SU, the Sports Centre and BUCS. I have conducted an online questionnaire and two focus groups with Medics Football and Med Soc to understand their opinions, current experiences and what can be done to improve their experience/our relationship with them. I have also been in contact with the nursing, midwifery and veterinary schools, to discuss similar topics and will have more to report in due course. I have offered extended help to medical sports by helping them have access to £1 socials and the social benefits to which the AU clubs have access. I have worked with them to try to understand what can be done to improve their experience with the AU, SU and Sports Centre.
Let's Get Physical
I organised a day and night event for student to enjoy called ‘Let’s Get Physical’ on the 6th October.
The day event was held at the Sports Centre from 2-6pm and was free for all students to attend. There were three workouts available (beginner, intermediate and advance) constructed and ran by a full qualified instructor. The event aimed to promote healthy lifestyles and how physical wellbeing can affect mental health. The evening event was hosted at the SU from 7pm-3am. Clubs had the opportunity to host £1 socials for students to get a glimpse into how club socials work from 7-10pm. A resident DJ will took over from 10pm with a sponsored night who have provided lots of decorations that match the 'neon gym’ theme.
'Get Kitted Out' Fund
This year we are introducing a new initiative - the Get Kitted Out fund! We are asking all present and past students to donate old kit, gym wear, equipment, clothing and footwear. The donated items will be cleaned and sold to students for a great price over the course of February at the sports center. The money collected will go into a fund, which clubs can apply for grants from to fund their projects and needs.
Winter Warmer Packs
On behalf of Team Keele I am running a program to donate winter warmer packs to those in need in the local area during winter. This is a project I hope to continue for years to come. This year we will be donating winter warmer packs to two of our local food banks: Newcastle (Staffs) and Stoke-on-Trent.
Team Keele are leading the way on their Movember charitable efforts. I have advised and supported many teams with their efforts for Movember, which have currently totaled to over £4000. I organised with our Active Keele coordinator, for all of the sessions on the w/c 15th November to be in aid of Movember, which not only increased participation but our total. On behalf of Team Keele I organised a dodgeball tournament in aid of Movember. I finalised 28 teams who battled head-to-head, to be the dodgeball champions of Keele on Monday 6th December. Two leagues ran simultaneously in Alderton and Walshaw Hall. The winners of each game then competed in out knockouts stages, until we crowned a winner. Teams of 6-8 people were submitted with each player donating £2 on the day to participate.
Our overall total was £246.80.
Be Better Do Better: Black Athletes Spotlight
Over the course of the academic year, Team Keele will be celebrating a range of talented black athletes who have made their mark in history and have paved the way for the athletes we know today. I have collated and highlighted information of eight remarkable athletes: A’ja Wilson, Allyson Felix, Clive Sullivan MBE, Jesse Owens, Misty Copeland, Robert Lee Elder, Simone Manel and The Three Degrees of Football (Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Baston and Cyrille Regis). Every month I will be casting a spotlight on one athlete, which will allow students to learn about each athlete through social media posts and the posters around the Student’s Union building and the sports center. In October/November, we celebrated the achievements of Robert Lee Elder. Robert made his mark in history in 1975, when he became the first African American to play in the Masters Tournament. In November/December, we are celebrating the achievements on Clive Sullivan MBE - the first black rugby captain in the UK and Wales. Clive was the first black captain of the Great Britain Lions and for any national British sporting side. I feel it’s important to celebrate Black History throughout the year as the fight for equality is ongoing. Team Keele supports Black History yesterday, today and tomorrow.