Having recently sent off her dissertation, the SU’s new Sports Officer for 2018-19, Sarah Morse, can now sit back and take in a whirlwind last couple of months.
Since the turn of the year, the workload has been non-stop. From sending off her application to the endless campaigning, coupled with the snow and strikes, it was a test of character and resilience.
Despite all the work, however, the process is something Sarah, who studies geography, would do all over again.
Speaking exclusively to Forge Sport, she said: “Even if I hadn’t have won the role, there were so many things I had to do and had to deal with, in terms of speaking to new people and different experiences.
“I didn’t think when I first came to uni I would go for something like this, I wasn’t even really sure what SU officers were when I arrived. I could imagine myself maybe doing something like this in the last year because I’ve been captain of the tennis club and that has required management, leadership and organisation.
“It wasn’t until the beginning of January that I really considered going for it. I just knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try.
“Although I had done a lot of preparation in terms of what I wanted to do, it wasn’t until a couple of days before the deadline where I said to myself, ‘Sarah, you’re never going to get an opportunity to do something like this again’. It’s paid off I guess!”
One of the most prominent aspects of her manifesto was highlighting the importance of mental health. While it’s not solely a sports-oriented issue, sport has been proved to improve well-being and helps build social relationships with peers from other walks of life, and the University’s Social Sport and Give It A Go schemes are something that needs to be fully utilised.
It was a topic that Sarah said she would love all SU Officers to work on.
She added: “Mental health isn’t just something that was in the manifesto for sports officers. I’m excited because I think it might be quite nice if all the SU Officers work collaboratively on a campaign and that we all have our own angles. Sport has a crucial role to play there and a lot of people know about that but it’s about getting that message across.
“Sport is a really good way of reducing stress and academic workloads. I’ve got to try and lead the way on that, and I had to remind myself about my own health during the campaign as well when I was stressed and tired. I had to live by my words and take a break, whether that would be playing tennis or taking a walk. I want to promote that.
“You had to be strict on yourself and not talk about the campaign when you got home, although I probably should’ve tried a bit harder to stop that.
“It’s difficult because you feel like you can always do more and that the other candidates are campaigning 24/7, but they’re not. The snow maybe helped with that actually because of the logistical issues.”
Sarah’s Star Wars-themed campaign gave her 2,185 votes – a win by 448 votes on second-place.
Talking to her, it’s clear she’s eager to get started when she takes office in summer.
The prospect of being part of an all-female SU Officer make-up is an exciting prospect, too.
“I’m not surprised that all the positions are filled by women because the #SheShouldRun campaign obviously worked really effectively.
“The Sports Officer role has been filled by a woman for the last three or four years so I’m not surprised by that. I’m really happy that President went to a woman because the statistics behind the make-up on candidates in the history of the SU isn’t great, as well as Development.
“I think it’ll encourage people to go for the jobs in the future and that it doesn’t matter what person or gender you are. It’s important people feel that if they want to go for it they can.”