In the run up to the 2016 SUSU elections, the Wessex Scene team have been interviewing the candidates running for sabbatical positions. Here, I interview Jamie Wilson about his time in office as VP Sports.
Varsity is fast approaching. You have mentioned the importance of developing Team Southampton as a brand. What measures have you taken and do you feel like these will have a positive influence on the tournament come March?
Part of it was putting out videos that show that basically everyone is part of Team Southampton. We have got another one coming which is a bit more sport orientated. The other part – I’ve been working behind the scenes to sort out kit in the shop, trying to work out a better a way of supplying that so that people can buy it. We’re still in talks about that but it looks like we’ve got something that may come out of that which is really good. As well as that we’ve been looking at making sure that all of the teams results will be advertised on the team Southampton page. Links have gone up on the page so that lots of people are more included in Team Southampton, know what’s going on, and know when Varsity is happening. So hopefully it’ll lead to more supporters and therefore a positive influence on the tournament.
Intra-mural sport was also high on the agenda. In another season plagued with poor weather and cancellations, do you feel like there has been an improvement on last year?
In some areas yes there has, in other areas maybe not so much. I think that we’ve worked hard with Sport and Wellbeing to try and push the need for drainage so that should be going through over the summer which is really good. The exact details are soon to come out but we have got something coming for future years. We’ve also got sports and wellbeing to get matches played on the rubber crumb so that if matches are cancelled we can still get some going ahead. Obviously this depends on the AU matches because sports such as Lacrosse have to play on the rubber crumb so it has to fit around those. So when we are able to we move the matches onto there. It’s getting better in some ways. Obviously the weather never helps and it has been a particularly bad year so it’s seemed a lot worse in terms of cancellations. It’s just unfortunate, that’s the way the weather falls. All we can do is pray for good weather every year at the minute.
Arguably the cornerstone of your manifesto was the tiered membership, which is a great idea on paper. You mentioned before how it was a long process and that it was happening in the background. Has there been any progress?
Yes there is. Hopefully something will be announced soon. It’s coming. That’s all I can say at the minute but there is a plan on the table, there is some areas of it that I would like to change but it obviously has to work with Sports and Wellbeing which is part of the reason why it has taken such a long time. So hopefully some changes will come from what I’ve seen so far and we’ll go from there. As soon as anything is ready to announced it will be.
Back in October I asked you what you were most proud of out of the things you had achieved so far at that point, to which you replied that you hadn’t had much time to do your own individual work. Four months down the line, how would you now respond to that question?
I’d say that getting the drainage has been a big plus. While I would obviously like more than what might go in we can still see what’s going in. That’s one area where I’m still in talks to make sure that as many pitches as possible do get the drainage. As well as that I met the Vice Chancellor this morning and he seemed really keen to push forward on the Joint Sport Strategy. So the next step is getting that written up and work out how we can work with the University to improve Sport, from making sure that teams are properly funded through to improving facilities. So drainage is likely to just be the first part of this.
At the beginning of your tenure you emphasised the importance of leaving ‘a mark on sport’ here at Southampton through initiatives such as the joint strategy. At this point how far would you say that you have achieved this?
Like I said, I met the VC this morning. The strategy is quite in its infancy. Katy started last year at getting a joint vision so its now working on that and taking it forward. Up to this point its been quite hard to take it any further because I booked a meeting with the VC a while back and he’s a very busy man. He’s basically only just been able to meet me after asking for a meeting before Christmas. I’ve got a meeting called Sport Experience Board in a few weeks where hopefully we’ll be able to formulate a few more of the ideas that we want to put in the strategy and start getting these written. It’s on its way in. I’m just starting work on it which is really good.