Credit: Glasgow Guardian / Glasgow University Sports Association

GUSA Spring Hustings 2021

By Jamie Byrne and Claire Thomson

The GUSA 2021 Spring Elections open at 9am on Wednesday 3 March and close at 5pm on Thursday 4 March. Here’s what went down at the GUSA hustings, as well as the links you need to find candidate manifestos.

Last night, Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) held their now online spring council election hustings, with current and potential council members having the opportunity to show their manifesto to the open Zoom meeting, with questions from the curious audience. The GUSA council consists of 12 different positions, with just the three of these positions contested after such a peculiar year. All candidate’s manifestos are available online, as well as the three opposed candidates’ short pitches now available on the GUSA Facebook page. 

Alumni Convenor 

Ewan Galbraith

Ewan is a third year English Literature student, who is delighted to be returning for his second year in GUSA Council as he currently holds the position of welfare convenor. 2021 marks 140 years of GUSA, therefore Ewan wants to celebrate the history of the Union as well as the return to sport as the pandemic comes to an end. He aims to encourage clubs to engage in celebrations surrounding this occasion and intends to create a series of best practice guides to aid this. These will include the easiest and most successful ways to establish alumni networks, ways to book events and how to encourage members to continue in constructing a community after graduation. Ewan also intends to continue enhancing the Alumni Sport Trial and strengthen the foundations of Alumni platforms. He concluded by saying that he believes “the secret to GUSA’s future is firmly founded in its past.”

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Travel Convenor 

Ciaran McMonagle

Ciaran will be serving the role of travel convenor for the second year in a row, with having a great understanding of the importance of clubs being able to find people that are able to drive GUSA buses to and from training and matches, explaining, that the delays for getting people are mostly due to the number of driving tests that must be given before they are allowed to drive the bus. When asked about sustainability, Ciaran explained the Universities initiative on hoping that in the future to have GUSA buses be electric and better for the environment. This is extremely important to Ciaran, as he believes that forms of travel are GUSA’s largest negative contribution to our environment.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Fundraising and Outreach Convenor 

Michael Rafferty

Michael is a second year Business and Management student and a member of the volleyball club. In the new academic year, Michael wants to get students as involved and engaged as possible and bring GUSA closer together as a community and focus on giving this year’s first years a true sense of what GUSA is about.

Michael is aiming to get students involved and engaged as much as possible with the plan to take advantage of hopefully lighter restrictions and organise fun events that everyone would love to take part in. He wants to continue the annual GUSA Quiz, as this has been a large success for GUSA in previous years. In terms of the charity of the year, Michael is looking for a Glasgow based charity that is committed to providing sporting equipment to young people who do not have access to it, as he strongly believes that sport should never be disadvantaged due to the cost of equipment and facilities. Furthermore, Michael plans on creating a permanent link between GUSA and Disability Sport Scotland and GUSA and GU Disability Services, with a dedicated member of staff as a point of contact for clubs to find out more information and increase participation for all. Finally, he intends to continue to encourage outreach programmes into the community and wants to develop a framework that aids GUSA clubs to do this.

When questioned on how he would adapt his aims if the COVID situation took a turn for the worst, he commented that his most important goal would be to ensure that students were still getting involved and being active, whilst creating a community through the likes of Strava.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Finance Convenor 

Samuel Horsch

Samuel is a fourth-year Maths and Physics student, who loves being involved with GUSA and wants to help everyone make the most out of their GUSA experience. When asked about what his relevant experience for the role was, Samuel stated his experience from being the former treasurer of the boxing club, regularly dealing with the GUSA finance convenor at the time, as well as being a Freshers’ volunteer and the alumni convenor for the muay thai club. Samuel aims to introduce an office hour for treasurers, with the idea that he will be the main point of contact for all club treasurers. As well as taking tight control of the Chancellors Fund, when allocated correctly, will allow sports clubs fantastic opportunities.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Publicity Convenor

Isla McClung

Isla has been a member of GUSA throughout her student career and is the current captain of the Muay Thai club. Isla recognises the importance of a strong online presence and has previous experience in a similar role as the publicity convenor of the muay thai club in 2018/19. She wants to carry forward the projects from previous years, including the initiative of GUSA TV as a way of promoting and celebrating sport. She is aiming to form a group of keen photographers to capture moments from different sports before working with GUST to compile these in a monthly round-up. Additionally, Isla intends to use the online platforms to their full advantage by highlighting the efforts of the clubs in supporting their members both physically and mentally, and consequently inspiring others to get involved. When questioned on how she is going to target freshers in particular, Isla commented on the fact that often less is more on social media and she has training on optimising algorithms, therefore intends to keep the information important and relevant. Finally, Isla wants to form stronger connections between the clubs, societies and unions to increase participation in sport.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Club Sport Convenor

Vivek Pandya

Vivek is a fourth year History student, who has been involved in GUSA throughout his entire student career. Vivek has previously held two positions for the squash club as treasurer and captain, winning the GUSA Club of the Year and Scottish Squash Club of the Year during his time as captain. He is currently an active member of the GUSA Welfare Team and plans on implementing some of his knowledge gained through this into the role.

Vivek aims to have good communications across all GUSA affiliated clubs in order to support their needs to return to sport next semester as there is a transition back to normality. He wants to strengthen the links between clubs with an emphasis on introducing different initiatives, in particular fundraising and outreach programs. Vivek focused heavily on encouraging clubs to exchange ideas and tips and come together more as a unit to ensure that all clubs have the same opportunities and benefits. Furthermore, he plans to continue promoting the initiatives that have been developed this year, such as GUSA TV and Club of the Week, as well as sharing the events and successes of each club. Finally, Vivek intends to expand the experience of the Freshers’ Fayre by establishing a welfare stall and allowing different clubs to give larger demonstrations of their sport, obviously taking into account government guidelines.

Both candidates were questioned on how they were going to ensure that all clubs feel included under the GUSA banner. Vivek answered that he wants to speak to all clubs individually before the return in September to establish what they require to be the best they can be.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Mark Alvares

Mark Alvares has been a keen member of the GUSA family for the entirety of his university career and has also made contributions towards the European Youth Parliament. A keen fencer, Mark is a firm believer that GUSA is the heart and soul of university sport and wants to incorporate all of GUSA’s good work into clubs all of all nature, by continuing the great work they have also achieved from this difficult year. Mark aims to increase communication and cooperation between sports clubs, which will be channelled through specific roundtables and discussions for club committees. The idea of a club captains/presidents’ network on top of this, in the hope of bringing clubs much closer than they have been before, highlights Mark’s idea of better communication and cooperation between sports clubs. When asked how he plans to improve inter-club networking, Mark discussed being involved with a smaller GUSA club that found it difficult to find out information and feel truly connected to the organisation, believing that meetings were his and his clubs only source of information, emphasising the importance of work in-between regular meetings and how captains should be encouraged to ask questions to himself and other club captains in the aim of improving their own club and others. So that no club feels lesser, or alone whilst trying to support their own.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Health & Fitness Convenor 

James Patterson

James is a fourth-year Aero-Engineering student, who is very excited for what he can bring to the GUSA team. Elected as the fundraising and outreach convenor last year, James hopes to use his experience in a positive way in this new role. His main focus being on performance sport and to create more of a “sporting excellence” culture at the university. As well as focusing on fitness adaptability, with the unfortunate recognition that gym’s and indoor group exercise may not be an immediate possibility at first. Finally, his recognition of injury prevention was made clear and how he wants to create more awareness surrounding it. When asked about how he aims to expand performance sport, he was proud to make people aware of the agreement put in place with Hampden Sports Clinic, that would mean bursars could use these facilities at discounted rates.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Events Convenor 

Eirini Karavasili

Eirini is a second year Human Biology student, who is currently the treasurer of the volleyball club, a member of this year’s events team, and was vice-captain of Grampian house in the intramural league last semester.

Eirini plans on improving existing projects within GUSA Events, for example GUSA Quiz and Superteams, as well as introducing and developing new initiatives and events, which she reiterated in the GUSA hustings. Following on from this year’s success, Eirini wants to continue to develop the intramural league so that more people can get involved in a wider variety of sports and plans to organise captains and teams in the summer, in order to waste no time when the new semester commences. Eirini commented on expanding the rounders match that occurred this year into a tournament-like event that would take place over the course of one semester and give non-GUSA members the chance to have fun and compete. She would also like to establish a GUSA dodgeball tournament and a bi-annual GU Sports Day, two ideas that were proposed last year but never actually came to fruition. Eirini believes that this will encourage more people to be involved in sport and build a stronger connection between clubs. Finally, Eirini echoed the importance of inclusion and involvement of all 51 GUSA clubs at these events. She wants to build an Events Best Practice Guide to help individual clubs to organise their own events and build relationships between the GUSA clubs.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Sarah Hedley

Sarah is a second-year Accountancy student, who is an active member in the women’s hockey team and is incredibly sport orientated with passions in multiple different sports. Sarah believes in the importance of the social aspect of sport, how it is a perfect opportunity to meet people and eventually make new friends. Her experience of achieving a SCQF Sports Leadership Level 4 and 5 awards, worked as a multi-sport coach at Excel Sports camps during summer holidays for three consecutive years, being captain of the Scotland U18 girls touch ruby squad, implementing- and running- a touch rugby club at school, and even volunteering to assist in organising and running a sports day for a special education school in 2019, highlights her vast experience which will aid her in this role.

Sarah has many ideas prepared for this role, in a year in which we all hope will resemble some sort of normality. She aims to continue the recently introduced and popular Intramural League adding new sports as we hopefully move away from social distancing and potentially even introducing some sports that are not already a part of GUSA. Introducing a Martial Arts showcase in the Union during Freshers’ Week, and to introduce the sparkling idea of “GUSA’s Got Talent”, with the potential to be held online (COVID dependent), encouraging clubs to come forward and perform their talents out-with sport, with prizes for the winners. The main idea being the introduction of the Freshers’ Sports Day, which will be a keyway of integrating new students back into the sports community within the University. When asked if she would consider allowing second years join the Fresher’s Sports Day due to the complicated first year of university, she was very open to this and completely agreed.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Welfare Convenor 

Milly Leggett

Milly is third year Geography student and the current welfare convenor for the women’s hockey club. She plans to continue to promote the successful welfare initiatives already present within GUSA as well as create additional campaigns. In the GUSA hustings, Milly reiterated three key areas for development: increasing education, promoting awareness, and supporting all GUSA athletes. Milly wants to form close connections between club welfare convenors and GUSA and provide clubs with training and different initiatives that have been used previously. She plans to teach a basic understanding of physical and mental health and share a wide range of resources across campus. Furthermore, Milly wants to implement #WelfareWednesdays, a campaign to celebrate GUSA successes, acknowledge individuals and clubs who are promoting strong welfare practices, and raise awareness of GUSA charity work. Finally, Milly is a strong believer in the fact that every student should have the opportunity to participate in sport. She wants to ensure that GUSA clubs can accommodate disability in sport and are aware of the opportunities in the wider community. Milly attends to create goals and projects for the clubs to accomplish annually and assign weekly drop-in sessions to build up better club relations and assist in any issues.

When questioned, Milly commented on the fact that there are a lot of good resources from previous welfare convenors’ that she would like to use and promote.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Vera Maria

Vera Maria is planning to expand on the existing welfare framework and initiate new pre-emptive support strategies to cater a strong welfare system to all GUSA students and athletes. She hopes to encourage mental health and wellness by launching a new “Peer Well-Being Support Program” which will be run by trained student led listeners who will offer support to all GUSA club members. Also, there will be a focus on tackling isolation and building community, which will be seen through the introduction of “Welfare Wednesday’s” which is a campaign that intends to share weekly welfare ideas and support. Finally, she advocates for supporting and strengthening the welfare system and convenors, by organising monthly welfare clubs, which in turn should help bring everyone just that bit closer together.

When asked what her aims are over summer to get these plans in place, she referred to the idea of making sure that there is a strong foundation set in place first, so that these ideas are able to properly flourish and make a positive impact. She plans on continuing the  search of guest speakers  and providing constant activity on social media to hit the ground running, if the time comes.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto


Jayny Saunders

Jayny is a third year Technological Education student, who currently serves as the GUSA club convenor and secretary of the women’s football club. With added background experience in roles such as GUSA Freshers’ helper and events team, Jayny believes she has the required skill and experience to provide the role of secretary successfully within the GUSA family. Firstly, overseeing and organising the Blues and Colours Committee is a huge task that Jayny is looking forward to tackling, as she hopes it will be a night for everyone to remember. She also hopes to facilitate a Club Committee Seminar to ensure a smooth committee handover, which is admittedly much more important this year due to the turbulent year beforehand. And will also focus and oversee the vital administration of Freshers Week, as the aim of getting students back into sport grows.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto

Vice President 

Anna Woodcock

Anna is a third year Geography student, who is a member of the women’s hockey club and currently publicity convenor in the GUSA Council. Her manifesto contains four main points: GUSA Ball, Sustainability, Cross-Campus Relationships, and GUSA TV.

Following the cancellation of the 2021 GUSA Ball, Anna is aiming for the 2022 GUSA Ball to be bigger and better than before, in a larger venue so more people can attend and with a higher quality of sound system so that the attendees can hear the speeches and awards more clearly. She also wants to implement some new awards, in particular surrounding fundraising and outreach. Anna wants more clubs to get involved with promoting sustainability and raising environmental awareness. She emphasised that she wants to look into the idea of creating a Sustainability Team similar to the Welfare Team. Furthermore, Anna intends to strengthen the relationships between GUSA and the other student unions across campus, to further encourage participation in challenges and campaigns such as the one surrounding sustainability, as well as to act as co-host to various events throughout the year. Anna also wants to continue enhancing and developing the GUSA TV initiative, following on from her introduction of it last year. She plans on collaborating with the next publicity convenor to make this a regular piece of promotion. Finally, Anna is looking forward to working with and supporting the incoming president and secretary with various duties this year, as well as assisting the other GUSA Council members with their projects.  

In GUSA hustings, Anna mentioned the possibility of the SECC being the venue for GUSA Ball. When questioned she commented that this was the ultimate goal, however would be more of a two year plan due to unprecedented COVID restrictions. 

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto


Jessica Woodcock

Jessica is a fourth-year Russian and Classics student, who is currently serving the role as GUSA secretary and has previously worked as the travel convenor for the GUSA family. With the sporting background of lacrosse, surfing, skiing, snowboarding, sailing, and hockey, it is safe to say that Jessica knows her sport. Jessica is a firm believer in the importance of communication and recognises a strong way of improving this would be to create a stronger online presence for GUSA, creating an official GUSA website and strengthening all GUSA related social media channels. When asked if GUSA have the money to create an official website, Jessica stated that she hopes there will be due to the lack of spending on sport this year due to government restrictions and the severe absence of sport. Jessica also believed in the inter-club support network, which would mean all sports can help support one another.

Welfare is also incredibly important to Jessica, as she continues to push the Peer Wellbeing Support & GUSA Welfare Convenor Training, which will benefit a huge amount of people that are involved within the GUSA family. Representation will also be an area which herself and her team will focus on, which includes improvements to accessibility and representation for non-club sport members in the wider university community, allowing other committees to have an influence on decision making processes that influence others. Sustainability is the final area that Jessica focused on, as she went on to explain the GUSA Carbon Offset Pledge, and how she hopes to make conscious steps towards the upgrading of the GUSA bus fleet to electric vehicles with the support of the University, this which will in turn help us to become more carbon neutral as an association.

Jessica made it abundantly clear that she hopes for a safe, flexible and effective return to sport. But is under no illusions of the difficult task ahead, as we prepare to integrate ourselves back into normality.

You can view the candidate’s manifesto here: Manifesto


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