Interview with GUSA President Caitlin Kelly

Published

Izzie Keating and Jonni Marsh speak to GUSA president Caitlin Kelly, ahead of the reopening of the campus’ only gym.

In anticipation of the grand opening of GUSA’s new gym on Wednesday, The Glasgow Guardian went along to speak to Caitlin Kelly, president of the Glasgow University Sports Association.

The team were working hard when we arrived, and telling tales of their time at the Hive the night before. Kelly spoke a little about what the council have been doing in the past few weeks:

“Recently, we have been planning for [post-]freshers week which was a huge success. It was a really busy year for club sign ups, so all the work that went into that was paid off. Numbers retained in clubs are looking quite good”.

There is a worry, however, that many students are cautious about signing up to clubs. Kelly, aware that people may feel anxious in such circumstances, explains how GUSA are responding to this:

“Today infact, the buddies have been trained, and there is someone from Counselling and Psychological Services who came along.’

But what is a ‘buddy system’?

Kelly explains, “So now that the volunteers are trained, the welfare convenor will advertise that the project is happening. If you aren’t comfortable using the  facilities, or if you need support, then you can apply. Just detail what you are interested in. I had a buddy last year who just wanted someone to go to classes with her. We advertise this using social media – it is on the website. There is no deadline for it, it is available all the time. Usually, people will want to do it just for a semester, or a set period. This also gives them access to the gym for a trial period.”

Jonni Marsh, The Glasgow Guardian’s GUSA correspondent, was particularly interested in the free trial, and asked Kelly to clarify that point once more.

Just a few weeks into the semester, Kelly talked a little about how the teams are getting on. “So this is the third week of BUCS fixtures,” she said. “And seasons have only just started. There has been a lot of good results so far. I took a screenshot on my phone a couple of weeks ago when we were sitting above Loughborough in the [BUCS] table- the one and only time we will be above them, the kings of university sport. We are actually second in Scotland, so we aren’t doing so bad!”

She talked about the Club’s performances: “People are doing really well. It is always a slow start until people get settled into teams. With the transient nature of university sport; new people leave, new people come in. and each year teams take a while to settle in. Obviously there is a number within the 51 clubs which are just recreational, or instructional clubs. Things like Muay Thai as the go-to example, is just so busy, which is great but just difficult for spaces.”

We move on to talk about the plans for the new and improved gym. With membership cost having increased significantly, members have high expectations. Kelly assures us that they will be exceeded. “So we’re opening on Wednesday [this week], and once we’re open there is a lot more to offer. It is, in a way more of the same. It’s just so big in there! We have been going in to sort things, and when you go from the current cardio room to the [one in the extension], you feel like you are in a tiny box when you have to go back, it’s so claustrophobic. The new space is a lot more open-planned. A lot of time went into the equipment and to planning the layout- we want it to be really user friendly. All of the cardio machines can be hooked up to any sort of app you have on your smartphone, like MyFitness Pal, so it is more interactive. You see that you are getting a lot more for your money. We do realise that it is just bigger and better. There is nothing brand new, as such. ”

“When the extension opens on Wednesday, we can begin thinking about the new spin studio which will be opening in January. Users have been asking for this. There will also be yoga classes available up by the squash courts, and a new Martial Arts studio. The weights room and the cardio suite are being turned into more studios, so there will be more space for classes. It all looks really good! Well I hope so, or I’ll have a mental break down.”

What advice would Kelly give to people who would like to get involved with GUSA? “I think there’s always that perception that it is difficult to get involved if you haven’t gotten involved straight away, and people think that they have missed the boat. But most clubs will welcome new members at any point throughout the year. My door is always open, and anyone can come in and ask any of the council about how to get more involved. And again, if someone is a bit nervous about going to a club for the first time, someone is always there to go along with them. But all the information is on the website as well, explaining how to go about getting in contact with all of the different clubs and captains.”

“My advice would be just to do it whenever. Whenever you have an inclination to get involved in sport, just go for it because i don’t think anyone would have any regrets about it.’