What's Up: Impressions of students sport

What's Up: Impressions of students sport
When a lot of individuals think ‘Sport’ they think of actually competing, participating or even watching some form of physical activity but sport is much more than this. Everything we know is embedded within the very foundations of which sport is built. If I am honest I had a real culture shock when I attended the University of Stirling to complete my undergraduate degree in Sociology and Sports Studies. I naively thought it would be something similar to my physical education experience that I had whilst I was sixteen at my local high school. During my first few years having selected extra electives such as Law, Philosophy, History, Economics, Sociology and Politics alongside my major, Sports Studies, I found myself achieving my best grades in subjects that I thought I would struggle and my worst for my passion, the one I thought I would excel in, Sport. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I actually looked at the textbooks; ‘Sports Law’, ‘The History of Sport’, ‘Sports Finance’, ‘Politics in Sport’- then it hit me sport is not just sport, sport is everything.
Every year Sports Association, Unions and Student Organisations give student’s the chance to be involved at the very heart of University and College sport. Students elect from their peers an individual or individuals to become an elected member of their Sports Council to represent their views. Every country is slightly different but the dynamics are very similar. This month marked the 12th FISU Forum held in Gwangju, South Korea which is to be the next host city of the summer Universiade. Many National University Sport Associations (NUSA) give elected students the chance to attend the conference and meet and network with other students in a similar positions. This year many students attended including several of the EUSA student Commission including Keren Lavi from Israel and Marion Hochli from Switzerland. 

Marion Hochli and Keren Lavi, EUSA STC members at the FISU Forum
In this month’s student column we catch up with students who have been elected to represent their University Sport’s Association and how they look forward to the challenges of the year ahead and that feeling of being elected by their fellow students. Marc McCorkell, was recently re-elected as the President of Sport at the University of Aberdeen. Marc has thoroughly enjoyed his time at Aberdeen and had the following to say about his time and re-election: “I have been involved in University Sport at Aberdeen for the past five years now as both a student and student officer. This past year I have spent a term as President of Aberdeen University Sports Union, a role I was just re-elected too last week. I am passionate about sport and physical activity particularly the positive role it can play in changing students’ lives. This year we placed a large portion of our time breaking down the barriers too engagement, encouraging students to get more active on campus. One of my priorities this year is to increase our mental health and wellbeing work, ensuring the University places physical activity at the centre of its mental health strategy. Mental Health and student wellbeing is huge issue right across the UK higher education sector and I feel the positive benefits exercise has on wellbeing is yet to be fully used in tackling these issues. I look forward to working on mental health with partners across the sector, tackling the issue head on and helping to improve students’ lives for the better through sport.”

Marc McCorkell presenting an award
Another individual who has recently been successful in student elections is Christopher Priddle from the University of Stirling. Upon his recent election he had this to say: “I was so unbelievably happy after the result was announced. I don’t think I’ve ever felt elation quite like it! That’s probably because the whole results process was so agonising and drawn out! My entire campaign team just went berserk! I could see how much it meant to all of them that I had been elected! It was such a relief to get the right result after 2 long hard days of campaigning! I just can’t wait to get started with the job now! I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead and hope that I can help really help the development of Student sport but not just in Stirling, Scotland or even Britain but within Europe as well.”

Christopher Priddle being elected
Sport is important part of the modern world we live in today and is an extremely important part to many who participate, in one way or another, at University. Student Sport needs students to get involved and make the difference. To Student’s out there looking to become involved - Choose to be the voice for your students, choose to get involved in student development, choose to make a significant impact for students at your University, Choose to meet great people and friends for life, Choose Sport because Sport is everything and everywhere. Learn it, Live it, Love it! 
The author Christopher Purdie is the Vice-Chair of the EUSA Student Commission and a graduate of the University of Stirling.

Please see What's up! - Monthly Student Column for more articles coming from students from all over Europe!