We spoke to current Sport President Maddi Cannell to gain an insight in to what it takes to get the position.

Amid limitations from the COVID-19 pandemic, elections will go forth! The position of York Sport President is one of the five full time sabbatical roles and the main hub for all activity around sports clubs/ societies. Utilising YUSU as the main cog in campus change, the Sport President will coordinate and develop sport within YUSU in an effort to enhance enjoyment and participation within sports societies. Renowned competitions such as The Roses and College Varsity are directly managed by whoever gets the position.

The YUSU election page highlighted the following past Sport Presidents’ achievements:

  • Secured termly gym memberships. Making sign ups more convenient and cheaper.
  • Introduced the Equal Opportunities Programme to enhance inclusivity and accessibility within clubs.
  • Introduced a referee and coaching network giving students opportunities on campus and around the city.

Nominations for the position opened on 8 February and will close on 19 February. With voting opening on 5 March and the results forecasted on 13 March.

We spoke to current Sport President Maddi Cannell who gave us her thoughts around the current election and what the role entails:

What does the role of Sport President entail?

“I look after, and develop University and College Sport at York. I also work in partnership with the University to lobby for facility development and infrastructure which will allow our clubs to develop and grow in future years.”

What are the Pros and Cons of being Sport President?

Pros : “I get to work with so many different students and student leaders who are passionate and incredibly knowledgeable about their sports, their officiating, and their volunteering, and help them bring their projects to life by supporting funding bids, events, and pushing their agenda with the University.”

Cons : “You can end up working quite long hours so you need to be strict with yourself on time management, also you only get a year in position so you really have to hit the ground running!”

Is there anything you wish you had more time to work on, and what advice would you give this year’s applicants?

“Coronavirus has meant that I have not been able to look at the Performance Programme as much as I would have liked. The BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) season along with most non-BUCS competitions have been cancelled and plans for the leagues which did not happen meant that relegation and promotion would not exist for this extraordinary season. This and the lack of certainty around budgets, finances, and grants meant I sadly could not put into action plans that had been worked up over the last 12 months to make the programme more accessible to a wider number of students. I hope to pass these plans onto the next Sport Union President.”

“In terms of new applicants, try and get across your passion. No one is expecting you to know the ins and outs of every University Committee, but you should get across to students your ideas and why they are important. Talk to students and get their feedback, because if you are elected, it is them you need to take with you in order to make your plans work!”

What is your fondest memory during your time in the role?

“My fondest memory is College Varsity. Running a large scale event for the first time was such a great experience. We were able to build the spectator feel of the event, and have our largest crowd at College Varsity closing ceremony! It was so interesting to be involved in the logistics, behind the scenes of the event, and to work with students and staff members to create what is a highlight of the year for many College Sport players. It was also lovely to win a trophy too!”

Is there anything that needs fundamental change within the University?

“That sport is a commercial entity. Sport at York should be accessible and affordable for all students, and unfortunately this is not the case currently. A lot of work has been put into the drafting of the Sports Strategy to try and shift this narrative, highlighting participation at all levels as the vision for sport at York. However, this is going to need my successor to keep pushing on this and working with the Sport Strategy Group to see it happen in practice! We need to have investment in our facilities, to increase the number of students, staff, and community members they can support whilst keeping the price down.”

How would you describe your overall experience in the position?

“I have absolutely loved my time as York Sport Union President, and when my time comes to leave in July, I will be absolutely heartbroken. Sport at York has taken over my life for the last two years, and it has been an absolute pleasure to deliver projects which develop our offering and give so many students the opportunity to participate in sport. It has not always been easy and there have been rocky patches, namely the waterlogged pitches on 22 Acres in winter 2019, but all those bumps have taught me so many different life skills which I will go on to use in my career. I don’t think it will surprise any students to know I would like that career to be in sport development!”