Credit: UofG Sport via Facebook

UofG Sport and GUSA launch initiatives in fight for inclusion and support

By Claire Thomson

University of Glasgow Sport and Glasgow University Sports Association introduce campaigns and initiatives to make members feel more comfortable when participating in sport and exercise.

The battle for equality and inclusion in sport and exercise is still ongoing at all levels, with the University of Glasgow Sport and Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) actively introducing initiatives to make members feel more comfortable when participating in sport and exercise. 

Following complaints from users in its facilities, UofG Sport issued a statement of concern about the safety and welfare of users, stating that unwanted attention and inappropriate behaviour “cannot and will not be tolerated”. An anonymous poll on Instagram found that 30% of respondents claimed to feel uncomfortable or unsafe in the facilities, with an anonymous quote saying: “They deliberately walk around the gym to stare at people, moving up and down between Pulse and Powerplay – without actually doing any exercise.”  

Another anonymous participant said: “Maybe their behaviour doesn’t sound bad. But it’s such a horrible feeling you’re already in quite a vulnerable position in the gym – having someone actively and consistently making you uncomfortable.” With a third: “They hover their phone in a way that makes it look like they’re filming other people or taking photos of us in the gym.”

Consequently, the Ask for Angela campaign has been launched to outline a clear pathway for support and to combat unwelcome behaviour. The campaign offers support and intervention by providing members with a platform to report any issues in a way that suits them by either “asking for Angela” in the building or completing an online survey, to which staff will respond to.

To further help increase inclusion across university sport and provide a welcoming environment for all, GUSA has created a video to highlight the diversity of opportunities available to female students at the University of Glasgow. The video aims to empower women and emphasises the significance of sport on the student experience. UofG Sport shared GUSA’s video on Instagram, stating that they “fully endorse the values of ambition, empowerment, collaboration and inclusivity.” With a variety of both individual and team sports available to female students and athletes across the university, UofG also noted the work of BUCS, the national governing body of university sport in the United Kingdom, in bringing attention to the benefits of physical activity in improving cognition and students’ learning abilities. 

In addition, the university’s sporting association has introduced a female, non-binary and transgender hour to encourage higher participation levels in physical exercise among minority groups. The aim of this is to target those who feel uncomfortable or unable to exercise and provide a safe space, with the support of a trainer and no judgement or unwanted attention. The benefits of sport and exercise are immense and can have a large impact on people’s mental and physical health and livelihood. It encourages commitment and perseverance, as well as providing a community and social environment. 

The overarching message of the initiatives is clear. Sport at UofG is open and available to all, regardless of age, ability, gender, or sexuality. Whether one wants to compete and balance elite or professional sport with studies or simply enjoy the community and social aspects of sport, there is the chance to find a belonging and a safe space in sport.


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