With over 15,000 members, and 2,000 students using the gym daily, it’s no surprise that with the role of being President of the Glasgow University Sports Association comes great power and pressure. The recent closure of the Kelvinhall sports complex has undoubtedly caused problems for the association, but Law, during the recent Glasgow Guardian interview, assured me that the future is still bright for sport at the University of Glasgow.
Guardian: Introduce yourself, and your role in the GUSA council.
I’m Stuart Law, and I’m the President of the Glasgow University Sports Association. Within that role, I look after the council, and help out the council members where I can. My role as President means I oversee the organisation and running of 48 sports clubs, a recreational programme and various sports events that run throughout the year. I also liaise with the Sport and Recreation Service to ensure that the student’s opinions are heard, and to ensure the best deliverance of sport possible.
Guardian: How did you initially get involved in GUSA and the GUSA council, and how can new students get involved with GUSA, and the council particularly?
In my first year, I spoke to the then President a lot as I played hockey with him, [and we spoke] about what GUSA was all about and how people could get involved. I really liked the sound of it, so I thought I’d run for council, and was lucky enough to get on as Ordinary Member. I ran again every single year. I would say start speaking to people as soon as you can, and apply for other committees, as well as try being a Fresher’s Helper.
Guardian: How are you settling in to the new role?
I’m really settling in, it’s really good fun. It’s probably the best job I’m ever going to have, because you have the freedom to do what you want in terms of promoting sport as there are so many things you can do, and it’s all up to you.
Guardian: How was FW13?
That’s the fifth Fresher’s Week I’ve done at the University of Glasgow, and it was hands down the best one I’ve been involved with. I couldn’t be more proud of how the GUSA Helpers were, some people were even saying they were the best helpers on campus, and that gave me a really good sense of ownership that it had been a really successful week, and that all of that hard work myself, the council and the executives had put in over the summer had paid off.
Guardian: What will GUSA be focusing on this year?
Many different things; we’re trying to increase participation across all club sports. In doing this, hopefully the level we compete at will increase again. We’re trying to get ourselves up the BUCS (British University and College Sport) tables, with a big jump up last year. A few projects I’m working on include making sure Wednesday afternoons are kept free for sport; this is something that has been ongoing for about fifteen years now. I’m also finalising the first ever strategic five year plan GUSA’s had, which is quite a big project. We’ve also got a few new policies, including a new Equality and Diversity policy, as well as discipline and safety procedures.
Guardian: With the closure of the Kelvinhall, how will GUSA and the SRS overcome problems , including lessened training space? Have you faced problems so far?
A lot of work has gone in over the summer, and we’ve had to look at local schools and sports complexes all over Glasgow. We purchased few new minibuses and are now up to a fleet of eleven, which is to make up for clubs who used to train indoors, such as at the Stevie or Kelvinhall, and now have to get a bus somewhere. We’re working hard to make sure people have the same provisions as before. We have had a few comments from clubs; certain clubs need storage, or certain levels of space to train, and it’s not the ideal scenario for them. The activity hall at the Garscube isn’t the biggest, and that’s where there are a few issues. Hopefully within two years time it’ll be resolved.
Guardian: With University's recent win at the BUCS Conference for 'Most Improved', what makes GUSA such a great institution?
The reason why winning that award was so good was that it’s something that Glasgow University has never really focused on in terms of getting BUCS points. You look at some of the bigger universities such as Loughborough, where BUCS points means everything, and that’s what sport means to them, but I think at Glasgow it’s great because we look beyond that. It’s great if we get them as it means we’re competing at a high level. But it’s more about getting people involved at all levels, and we try and cater for everyone. That’s what makes Glasgow so unique, and not totally focused on the competitive aspect.
Guardian: Any upcoming events students should know about?
We’ve got the Monster Dash coming up on November 10; we’ve made it bigger this year, and we’re also now catering for small children to take part. This is good because there are a lot of mature students at the University, and this means they can come along and take part with their kids. We’ve also got the Big GUSA Quiz coming up on November 22, which is always a good night and a big fundraiser, although the charity hasn’t been decided yet. As well as that, the GUSA Ball is already starting to be planned, and that’ll be on February 8.
Guardian: Any final thoughts?
Getting involved in sport at University is one of the best things I have done; it has helped develop me as a person, and I would fully recommend to every student to get involved at any level of sport!