The Glasgow University Sports Association has had yet another amazing year, and has shown why Glasgow continues to triumph in all things sporting.
Alongside the University’s recent victory at the Glasgow Taxis Cup - at which a nail-biting basketball final led to Glasgow taking home the Cup against rivals Strathclyde and Caledonian for the fourth year running - GUSA has in no small part helped the University’s continued success in the British University and College Sport (BUCS) league tables against our peers up and down the United Kingdom. And, in the recent election of the new GUSA Council, with Tom Gebbie at the helm, it looks like the coming year will be equally as strong for the Association.
One of the key additions to Glasgow University Sports and Recreation Services in this past year has been the new partnership with Nike and Kitlocker, which greatly improved the quality of kit, and also reduced the waiting time for clubs to receive new clothing. The partnership has helped reinforce GUSA’s unique identity, and has given clubs a renewed sense of community and individuality. Nike has undoubtedly proved an enhancement to Glasgow University, its distinctive brand giving sport at Glasgow the competitive and professional edge it deserves.
The University of Glasgow has continued its sporting success following its win in the ‘Most Improved University’ category in BUCS last year (2012/13), which saw us jump from 35th in the table to 28th, the biggest leap that any university has achieved across the UK. This has given the Association a boost in terms of pushing the competitive aspect of club sport at Glasgow, and as it stands, the University of Glasgow will be finishing in the high 20s in the table again this year.
GUSA finalised its first ever strategic plan this year, which, in conjunction with its operational plan, laid out ideas as to what it plans to achieve every single year for the near future, and maps out where the Association hopes to increase success in next. Speaking of success, the membership to club sports increased this year by approximately 8.4%, with an overall increase of female membership at 14.5%, despite issues surrounding the closure of the Kelvinhall and increased pressure on the space in the Stevenson Building.
The University won the Glasgow Taxis Cup this year by four points, which was considerably closer than the previous year. Stuart Law, the current GUSA President, was spectating at the tense basketball final: "It came down to the basketball match at the end, with a three pointer with 3 seconds to play. When that went in, the whole place erupted! There was double the amount of people [supporting] than last year, which was huge, and that’s four in a row for us, so pressure is on for Tom [Gebbie]!"
Freshers' Week this year was another huge success for GUSA. Alongside an amazing space-themed Party at the GUU, the Association continued its drive to push forward recreational sport, with activities throughout the week including taster sessions, as well as a packed out Freshers' Fair playing host to the hordes of sports clubs over at the Stevenson building. The GUSA Ball was another massive success for the Association; a sell-out event, 750 students descended on the Hilton Hotel in the centre of Glasgow to celebrate the University’s sporting accomplishments this year.
GUSA has had a new teammate this year in the shape of Gus the Tiger. The mascot has proved to be a good publicity tool throughout this year, with Law believing that Gus grabs the attention of new and prospective students: "Having this mascot on campus, especially during open days, means people think ‘Oh, whats that?’, and then you get to talk about how great sport is at the University of Glasgow. We don’t rent it out to clubs at the moment,but we try and get Gus along to things so there is a bit of an atmosphere, which makes it better for the teams who are playing."
The Sports Association has also fundraised over £2000 for charity this year, and continues its push in the welfare department to make sport equal and fair for all students at the University of Glasgow. Seven members of the GUSA Council have gone through their Scottish Mental Health training, including newly elected President Tom Gebbie, as well as Vice President Caitlin Kelly and Secretary Sandra Perry. The Buddy System has taken off this year for GUSA, with ten people having now been buddied up, and the concept was also a finalist in the Commonwealth Games ‘Game Changer’ Awards.
Despite some issues surrounding the closure of the Kelvinhall, which has limited space for activities and training opportunities for clubs, Stuart Law remains positive that GUSA can help resolve these problems: “We hold our hands up and say there is a problem, we know that. Certain clubs aren’t happy with their new placement, and unfortunately at the minute, that’s just the way it’s got to be. We’re putting a bit of pressure on the University to get the Stevenson extension open, because once that’s done, that’ll free up more space. At the minute, [the build] is out to tender, with the date of completion around August 2015. We have hired more coaches to sort out travelling to training and we’ve increased the minibus fleet up to eleven minibuses to try and help with that as well."
There have also been issues surrounding the question as to whether students at the Glasgow School of Art were able to get membership to the sports facilities at the University, to which Law responded: "About a year ago, we had our final discussion [about Glasgow School of Art membership]. At the minute there is a cap of 250 GSA students being allowed to join the Sport and Recreation service, but they’re not allowed to join GUSA clubs because that comes under BUCS rules. We’ve agreed to help [GSA] any way we can, so from that, myself and Chris [Millar, former GUSA President] helped them set up a sports union. Their sports union was also been nominated for a ‘Game Changer’ award as well."
Law remains extremely positive about these issues, and this positivity has manifested itself into another brilliant year for the Association. Alongside fantastic results at the XX Commonewealth ‘Game Changer’ Awards, with the Buddy System taking a silver medal at the ceremony, there has been continued sporting success on both a club and recreational level, it seems that, yet again, the University is going from strength to strength.
With the Commonwealth Games rapidly approaching, and with the next lot of Freshers eagerly lining up to take their places, it is obvious that the future of sport is secure at the University of Glasgow.