Mario Killmann, GUSA President 2023/24, spoke to The Glasgow Guardian on his intended deliverables committed to disability sport and fan engagement.
After taking over from his predecessor Vivek Pandya on July 1 2023, GUSA President Mario Killmann has set his sights on delivering two key changes to student sport at the University of Glasgow. Along with discussing the importance of volunteering and student sport in elevating his university experience, Mario spoke to The Glasgow Guardian after his first three months in office.
Discussing his personal development since undertaking the responsibility of GUSA President, Mario emphasised the benefits of the role. “I’m growing as a person, 100%,” he said. “In this role, I have so much responsibility and it’s a great first job for a student to have. In my next job, I’ll be at the bottom of the chain. This role is completely different to any other. I have to make a lot of decisions.”
One of his key responsibilities is delivering sought-after change for the sporting student body. Whilst 12 months in the post is a short time to deliver change, Mario has set his sights on changing and developing two areas of student sport: disability sport and fan engagement.
Mario said: “My goal is to make a difference for at least some people. I want to make a change that wasn’t there before. I’m going to try and do that in two ways. The first is to focus on disability sport. I want to get some momentum behind disability sport because we don’t really have that here at the moment. It’s about laying the groundwork which we can build upon.
“The second one is fan engagement: bringing fans into our sports buildings and facilities to support the different GUSA clubs. I want to create a campus culture where any UofG student can come and support GUSA clubs competing in competitions, including BUCS matches. I want the community to go beyond GUSA and reach all of UofG.
“Now that the sports hall is back open and we have seating, we have the capacity for fan support.” With most BUCS matches being free to attend, the financial barrier to Mario’s plans for fan engagement don’t block the path in delivering this goal.
Mario has been heavily involved with the wider student community for the entirety of his university career. He spoke about the importance of volunteering and Glasgow’s sporting culture in shaping the student experience.
“I’m from Belgium and most of my friends from home attend universities in countries like Germany. I talk to them a lot and when I ask them about how they would rate the student experience, they say: ‘around a five or six out of ten’. That’s really low,” Mario commented.
“Because Glasgow has so many opportunities to volunteer, it’s so easy to get involved in the student community. My friends don’t have the same opportunities to get involved with clubs and societies like we do at Glasgow.
“Volunteering has been a major part of my student experience. It really shapes student life. Sport is great to shut off your brain from thinking about your studies all the time, and get rid of your stress. It’s also an incredible way to meet people and socialise.
“Volunteering is a big thing for me. I’ve been part of six clubs. Two of which I have been on committees for. I’ve been on two GUSA sub-committees and on the GUSA Council for two years. It’s incredible how easy it is to get involved.
“There’s nothing like being part of GUSA’s community.”