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Meet your VP Sport

My name is Matt Nicholson and for those of you that don’t know me I am the elected Vice President Sport at Nottingham Trent Students’ Union. Read all about my first few months in the role here.

My names Matt Nicholson and for those of you that don’t know me I am the elected Vice President Sport at Nottingham Trent Students’ Union. My role is to represent the sporting interests of all NTU students, working closely with NTU Sport to provide inclusive and engaging opportunities across all three campuses. Read all about my first few months in the role here.

I have been in the role now for six months and have been warmly welcomed by the NTU Sport department, acting as a member of the senior management team to help provide feedback and direction, a relationship which continues to go from strength to strength. Away from NTU I have also been fulfilling roles within BUCS (British University and Colleges Sport) as East Midlands Student Chair, representing our regions sporting interests on a national level. This saw me selected as the UK sabbatical representative to sit on the elite sport group for the body’s strategic review which has given me a chance to have my say in the direction in which university sport moves forward over the next few years.

Below I have detailed my manifesto, which I set out 12 months ago. I think the key aims for me this year have been to make structural changes that are both sustainable and encompass all student groups.

My first point was to improve the marketing and communication that the SU offered towards sports clubs. Coming from a broadcast journalism and media background, this was something that I was very passionate about. As a student representative I want to get our clubs achievements and events as publicised as possible. I moved all sports club information onto the new NTSU website which allows clubs to promote their events online as well as book rooms and transport for a number of meetings and events. 

I have also introduced an eNewsletter, which I send to all of our 400 or so committee members each week that updates them on all of the upcoming sporting news and events. Finally I have pushed forward with NTU Sport’s Club of the Week initiative, which rewards teams with £100 each week for doing something great. This could be a big win, a fundraising event or a club that’s gone above and beyond. Already this term we have had clubs raising hundreds of pounds for charity, going the whole first term unbeaten in their sport or getting nvolved with superb work in the community with young and disabled children, which makes me exceptionally proud indeed!

My second point is to support extra funding. A big change this year was the removal of bar and alcoholic based sponsorship from our sports clubs. In the past this has been a way for clubs to bring in extra funding on top of the grant money they receive. This is something I have worked closely with NTU Sport on implementing after the University awarded the department SIF funding (strategic investment fund) to allow the change to happen. As a result students are now under less pressure to drink and not tied down by time or minimum number contract agreements. 

Clubs have been free to have variety in their social programme with many engaging in sober activities on a weekly basis, creating a more inclusive atmosphere for their members, with reports of incidents on nights outs also down significantly. With the change of sponsorship and the support of FHPs kind investment, teams now engage with a whole host of local and national businesses, building links with companies that can offer a range of benefits. I have also put in place plans for a sponsorship fair at the end of Term Three to allow our clubs to find out just what the city has to offer to further enhance the resources and opportunities of their club.

My third point was to increase committee involvement in big decisions. I have always been a firm believer in regular feedback, it is what should primarily drive my role in order for me to be truly representative of NTU students. I feel, however, that its something that has not been as forefront as it could have been in the past. As a result I have ensured that many of the student-based decisions in the events I support are passed through as many individuals as possible before a decision is made. 

Things such as the date of the sports ball and the menu choices are just some examples of decisions students are now involved in. Meetings have now also been implemented between sports exec members and their relevant presidents for more engagement. The first sports council meeting generated over 350 pieces of individual feedback, which I am currently collating to take back to the NTU Sport and see what we can work on and well as praise the positive. 

Finally, the epic varsity series between ourselves and the University of Nottingham, which I take a lead role in organising, will now see more sports involved than ever before as we hope to end our losing streak.

My final point was to support more social sport and campaigns. There is now more Play for Fun sessions and intramural sport available than in previous years, as well as plans I’ve looked into with NTU Sport around a potential staff sport programme launch between departments. I have also been involved heavily in pushing a number of campaigns to sports clubs. 

You may know me better as the voiceover from NTSU’s Tea Video which raised awareness alongside the universities respect and consent campaign. I was also involved in the Trent Girls Can week, which promoted women’s sport at NTU, even trying my hand at a number of new sports. Over the next few months I’ve also got plans in place for campaigns on tackling perceptions in sport. These include Rainbow Laces – which aims to kick biphobia, transphobia and homophobia out of sport – as well as mental health campaigns where social sport sessions will be made free during exam periods, and a special workshop on the issue will be put on for sports club committee members.

It’s fair to say there’s still a lot to do this year, but the continued support from NTU Sport and the University is as always wholeheartedly appreciated. I look forward to working with many of you in 2016!

Meet your VP Sport

Published on 11 January 2016
  • Category: Sport

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