Lucy Williams is the new Activities Officer and has recently completed her politics degree. She talks about providing greater accessibility in sports at Sussex, discounted entry in town and representing all students.
A: The Activities Officer is somebody who represents students in all things extra-curricular, whether that is a sport, a society, student media, volunteering or activism. I want to be the mouthpiece for students and represent their opinions, not just the small and loud groups. I want to make sure that the everyday student is represented and that people that come to this university feel like this is home.
I know that some people don't engage with the Students' Union - that's a problem and I want students to be more aware of the good work that the Students' Union does. There were things that I didn't realise the Union did before I started this job, and I think people need to know this! I am going to work my hardest to deliver on my manifesto, but also I will continue meeting with students all the time. I want to spend as little time in my office as possible, because I want to meet everyone! If you've got a live screening, a production, a match, training, or an event, I want to go to it and I want to know what you're up to.
I don't want to be at my desk saying what the Union is going to be doing for students; I want the students to tell me what I'm doing.
A: I've been a member of a few societies in my time here! I did a little bit of everything and it allowed me to meet a diverse mixture of people.
I was quite involved with Pole Soc when I first came to Sussex, and I was also part of Sussex Snow, Politics Society and have occasionally written for The Badger, the student newspaper. In my last term, I joined women's rugby as an outlet to get rid of my dissertation stress. I was always too intimidated to join a sport because I didn't think I was good enough or part of that culture, but women's rugby welcomed me with open arms. They were really supportive and it was a really nice place for me to try something new and get all my stress out.
A: One of my main things that I would like to do is to show students what the Students' Union does do for them and what it can do for them. I want people to know that we are here for support and advocacy in a way that I didn't realise until I started this job! I want people to know that they can trust us and know that we are their voice. Serving students is what we should be doing.
A: The Students with Disabilities Officer, the Societies and Citizenship Officer and I are setting up a meeting very soon and we would like to set up a working group where we reach out to our disabled students to see what their needs are. For me, my mum is a former athlete and has a disability and sport is fundamental to her overall well-being, not only for her condition physically but also for her mental well-being. If she didn't have sport in her life, she would not be the individual that she is.
I'm aware that we do not have very accessible facilities. I want to make sure that our facilities are accessible and where we can't facilitate students with disabilities, I want to make sure they feel welcomed in our community and be able to offer something in town for them if we are unable to provide it here. We'll be working with local swimming pools and making sure we partner with leisure centres that are disability-friendly. I certainly want to make sure that, going forwards, we have options for all students.
We also talking about putting a GoPro around the Freshers' Fair with subtitles and do a quick introduction to each society, so students that can't make it and who have environmental concerns can still go around the fair in the comfort of their own home. If they were to see a society they liked, we can then sign them up and see what their accessibility needs and options are.
A: I've looked closely at other students' unions and many of them have a sports membership card, which allows them free entry into clubs in town and reduction on drinks. I am looking into how we can bring that to Sussex. Also, as part of this card scheme, I also want to look at including non-alcohol places in that, such as the Synergy Centre, as well as coffee shops in town or artistic spaces. Although this scheme will most likely be tailored towards sport, I want to see what else we can do. Work to be done!
A: At first, you might be overwhelmed and I would say if there is anything that vaguely interests you, whether it's cheerleading, make-up or rugby, go out and do it. These years of your life are so precious and you have an incredible opportunity to make university what you want it to be. Get involved in whatever way you can! You won't regret it! There is something at Sussex for everybody.
Also, don't be afraid to hold your Students' Union to account - if there's something you don't like, write about it and tell us. This is your university and if you want to make change, do it!
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