The usual buzz around Freshers Week was sadly missing due to the circumstances, but it was still heart-warming to meet so many people, particularly first years, and to talk to them about Exeter Sport. In place of the ordinarily much anticipated Freshers Fair I interviewed, via Instagram Live, a member from all 50 sports clubs on the Saturday of Freshers Week. I hope that this provided all clubs with a platform, and the opportunity to reach out to new members by showcasing their sport. It was a day I enjoyed immensely and it was great to meet all of our selfless student leaders. Since those Instagram Live interviews, the quality of content on our Exeter Student Sport Instagram page has gone from strength to strength, and it has been an exciting experience taking a leading role in reshaping our marketing strategy.
The restrictions placed upon us all due to COVID-19 have brought new challenges to the role of AU President. That said, the return of indoor sport last week was a highlight of my term so far, a fitting reward for the weeks of hard work that students and staff invested to ensure the safe return of our sports. That period exposed the lack of information that students, outside of sports committees, received from the Athletic Union and Exeter Sport. As a result, we have as both staff and Exec worked tirelessly to speak regularly and honestly with the Club Captains of all sports, but particularly those indoor, who have been frustrated by the delayed return of their sport. We have invested a large amount of time helping those clubs to achieve their aims and goals away from the competitive side of their sport, such as facilitating a large number of teams participating in each sports' 'Bleed Green League' - our replacement for the absence of BUCS activity for the rest of this term.
Despite a really frustrating start to this term we have so much to get involved in and to be excited by.
The first event of which is our Black History Month Conference, taking place next Sunday. I look forward to discussing a range of issues with our panel, including Black history in sport, particularly in football, racism in 2020 and the impact of the Black Lives Matter campaign, as well as the under-representation of BAME coaches in grassroots and professional football. These are all hugely important issues and I look forward to dissecting these with our guests.
Our focus will then turn to Movember, and the conversations around Men’s health. From a mental wellbeing perspective, we will be welcoming back the Good Lad Initiative for more workshops than ever before, as we continue to widen the conversation around men’s mental health within the University community. From a physical wellbeing viewpoint, we will be offering free online gym courses for all of our Exeter students as well as promoting a range of activities on Strava throughout the month.
We are committed to ensuring that the conversations around mental health are not confined to Movember. Students within our sports clubs have been able to benefit from the Mentor schemes which have been implemented in all of our clubs from the start of term. This support network will provide first years with the necessary support and guidance to see them through their first year at University, while also providing them with the opportunity to meet like-minded young people who share similar interests in their sports club. Starting these support networks was the foremost point of my manifesto, and I look forward to reviewing their success at Christmas, and developing them for the months and years ahead.
I wish everyone a happy and safe return after Reading Week. Enjoy the rest of this term and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any issues.