Impact News sat down with James Bramley, SU Sports Officer, to find out how he feels about his year in office.
How do you think the year has gone as being Sports Officer? What were the things you enjoyed the most, and the things you thought were more of a challenge than you first envisioned?
I have thoroughly enjoyed this year! It’s been arguably the best year of my life, and I’ve found it incredibly rewarding to work with so many passionate and ambitious student groups and sports clubs. I’ve really enjoyed helping a lot of students get involved in sports around the University.
What I have found challenging is the fact that, in being an officer, you are always in the public eye, and you always have to be aware of that, and that is sometimes quite challenging. When you wake up in the morning and you have 15 messages on Facebook and notifications from different groups, and even students who message you on a Saturday evening when you are trying to relax!
It is very difficult to switch off because you will always be managing different things at different times, and that side of it I have found quite a challenge!
“I have 5 months left so now I can look to roll out a UoN Sports App in that time”
Just looking back at your manifesto, you said that you wanted to develop the UoN Sports App. How far is the development come with that?
This is one point of my manifesto that I have put less time into than other so far, purely because, for me, it was more of a ‘luxury’ point. Now, we have set up meetings with people I know are within the app development industry, and we are looking to get the ball rolling. I have 5 months left so now I can look to roll that out in that time.
With regards to the rebranding of the IMS programme you spoke of in your manifesto, how have you approached this rebranding and how successful do you think this has been?
I have worked with our full-time IMS co-ordinator, and identified the fact that this was definitely needed. In also looking at the results of surveys and feedback, we found that most people do not engage with IMS until their second year.
I took this feedback to a senior management meeting for sport at the start of my role, and we then agreed that this was a major problem, with the added recognition that international students found it hard to engage with IMS at all.
We did not have enough time between when I brought it to them, which was mid-July, to when students arrived in September, to work out all of the marketing and rebranding changes, so we decided to put in on hold until the launch of the David Ross Sports Village. This has given us more time to create a more suitable brand and name for the programme, that’s more accessible.
It has been a great experience working with senior management to finalise the name, finish the marketing and launch it with the launch of the DRSV.
“We already have a thriving IMS programme with more sports than we have ever had”
Just on the subject of IMS, you spoke in your manifesto of a halls and societies Varsity series. How close do you think that is to coming to fruition?
This is something I would like to roll out in the summer term, post-exams. We already have a thriving IMS programme with more sports than we have ever had, more students and more fixtures than we have ever had, and as we have said it is looking to grow even further.
We need to look for the gaps in the current programme and try and fill it with something really exciting. It will be great to have this in the summer and post-exams, and the organisations still needs to be examined.
With Varsity coming up, of course you’re looking forward to that?
Yeah, it should be the best time of the year! It’s a lot of hard work, getting dates and getting it sorted because our clubs have done really well this year, so there are a lot of play-offs that we need to avoid clashing with. I think I’m looking forward to it more than anything else!
“I personally feel that cricket in the last two years was two of the best events we have held in the series”
When looking at the Varsity schedule, the cricket has been pushed forward into the main two-week schedule. Was that a conscious decision?
I personally feel that cricket in the last two years was two of the best events we have held in the series. The reason it has been proposed to be changed (but as yet unconfirmed) is because, on the Nottingham Trent University (NTU) side, as they will not allow us to have it on the final day of their term anymore.
As it is the last day, a lot of staff and students leave, and it is a massive clean-up operation, so I personally wanted to keep it in the same place post-exams, where the sun is shining, there is a great atmosphere and obviously the pitch is in a better condition.
I’m getting a bit nervous about Varsity actually as Trent having been talking their teams up a lot!
Just a final thing, how well do you think media interaction has been this year, and how well do you think it has developed?
I think we work really well with URN, and I go on their shows on a weekly basis. I worked very closely at the start with NSTV, and I need to re-focus my energy into working with Impact and NSTV for the remainder of the term. I want to give the media the opportunity to get involved as much as possible.
Do you think that development lies in more communication with publicity officer, or do you think a line of communication between yourself and Impact Sports would be better?
I think for student media groups, I think it is important that I encourage my role, with the influence I have with regards to sports clubs. As I have been elected, for some reason they listen to what I say! I think that it needs to come from me, originally, and then the more in-depth articles and interviews can then go through the clubs themselves.
Image: Impact Images Team