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- Interview with VP Sports Candidate: Casie Osbourne
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Wessex Scene were able to interview Casie Osbourne about their campaign to be the next VP Sports.
Casie elected to answer these questions during an interview.
Why did you apply for this role?
Right now I am IM Officer so I see quite a bit that happens, and working on reception I also see a lot of the sports bursary stuff. It allows me to see lots of really important stuff and I get to do admin on that, so it’s actually really fun to see behind the scenes. I also see holes in SUSU that need to be filled – basically it’s a shambles. I don’t want to @ them, but it’s really shabby. I’m the person for it, I’m hardworking. I’ll do it all.
What would be your top three areas of focus?
My main one would be inclusivity, because if you look at sports right now it’s not very diverse. Even Chinese [Lunar?] New Year that just passed, sports didn’t do anything – you see other societies doing different events for different people and them trying to pull different people in, but that’s not really happening in sports. With inclusivity, money is also a big issue, and the sports bursary can make a big difference so we need to make sure that happens all year and not just in one semester. With the sports bursary, it only includes society costs, so if we can increase that to include kit and equipment that would be really good because you see one cost and there are so many other hidden costs that you don’t see.
Secondly, the facilities right now are very lacking. You know we have the expansion of Jubilee Sports Hall coming up, that’s going to be a lot of meetings and communication with the uni so we need to work on that. Prices are high, uni will try and get more money from us to try to pay for that, and that’s not going to happen! Money is a big thing stopping people getting into sports so currently IM sports are free but if they want to make money they may raise that, so it’s something to look out for. The facilities haven’t got much going on – at Wide Lane things always get cancelled because it’s flooded, the storage facilities are awful and there is no transport. With Jubilee, it’s quite small so nothing really happens there. At Inner Sports Centre, half of the pitch couldn’t be used because of a leak, before that the air vent was broken – health and safety hazard! Everything is falling apart and leading that to make sure student’s concerns are raised.
Lastly, the website and media – sports clubs don’t get the recognition they need and you don’t really know when the fixtures are, so we need a separate page for that so people can see what’s happening. Once people know what’s happening that might increase interest and boost participation.
What’s something that SUSU provides that you like, and what’s something you’d like to change or alter?
Shoutout to Matt, Matt’s done such a good job! I think right now they’re pushing welfare at SUSU which is great, and they’re also providing lots of opportunities for students to take leadership in the roles so you can see in the voluntary roles trying to motivate students to use their power in a good way and have a voice is really positive.
Something I’d like to change – this is really hard! They’re good but maybe we need more practical steps in general, as sometimes when people raise things they aren’t always listened to.
How would you ensure that inclusivity and wellbeing concerns are tackled within sports societies?
I would want a welfare sec for every club so that everyone knows they have a point of contact to talk to. Obviously I will be there and I want to work with the Presidents, but just having different people you can talk to so it isn’t just me and one other person you can speak to. Every club having a welfare member, perhaps with medical data where necessary, just so they could be there for them. Secondly, we have the AUC committee but nobody really knows about them and I don’t think we have a welfare person for any specific groups, so that would be something I’d want to push, so there is someone who isn’t just there for the bants but is someone people can actually talk to and is relatable, because for these issues you need people around to be there. You can’t say, “just email me”. Again, with events, we need to celebrate different stories and on the media side it would be really cute to get people telling stories about how they got into sports and any barriers they overcame in doing this. Celebrating stories with high up people – even with big footballers – a lot of them have overcome something from their background to get to where they are, so making sure people know that lots of people have overcome similar issues and they can do the same.
What are you able to offer students who want to get involved in sport but don’t enjoy a competitive focus?
I’m ideal for this – I’m IM Officer which is non-competitive stuff, so I think we need a big push on IM stuff as the media on that is the worst. On the website there’s only bullet points, no point of contact for anyone who does it, you don’t know timings for anything, so that needs to be more out there because lots of people think it’s only competitive but that’s not the case. Sports doesn’t have to be competitive, it’s meant to be fun. As well as IM, we need to have another stream where you can meet people and do sports casually in your own time, so if we have a meeting event where people can meet someone wanting a gym buddy – that would be nice. It wouldn’t be official but it would be nice to have someone who can encourage you in any kind of sports.
One of your key points is increased sports recognition. What does that mean to you?
Everyone here tries so hard. People are really competitive, they have the passion and the spirit, but I don’t think many of them actually get that from outside of their club and friendship group. On the league tables they are doing so much for the university but nobody really gives them recognition, the university moves on quickly, but by celebrating the group, looking at who their members are and what they’ve achieved is something I really want to push. Maybe we could have a man/woman of the match to look at and say well done to, celebrating individuals and individual clubs rather than generally saying well done to Southampton as a whole.
You mentioned that you have worked closely with the current VP Sports. How has that experience strengthened your understanding of what it would take to lead in this position?
Now I know the whole Activities team – Sarah is a very busy lady and she’s the one person in the activities team who does it. How can one person deal with all the clubs – it’s not realistic, is it? I think knowing how that internal structure is, it makes me want to change it a bit – the team needs to expand, like I said the AUC committee is lacking already, with one person heading it up. You have the VP Sports but you still have to go through Sarah Challis, so I want to expand that. Seeing the struggles Matt faces: he wants to do a lot, but it’s very hard at SUSU sometimes because of how it is structurally. You’re a SABB but at the same time you’re not as high up as you think you would be. Right now I’m just IM Officer so I have no say. It’s nice having an insight into how it works so I can be a bit more realistic than other people who haven’t seen that side. Everyone has dreams but it’s not realistic sometimes, sadly.
Wessex Scene attempted to contact Theo Levison but unfortunately were not able to set up an interview.