The current SUSURF President was already waiting when I got to the SUSU reception. Sion Roberts is a third year Oceanographer who is passionate about Sport but whose easygoing and friendly conversation put me so at ease that I might have forgotten to turn on the dictaphone (rookie error.) Sion tells the Scene about surfing, successful fundraisers and why he wants to be the next VP Sports Development.
Why have you decided to run for this position?
I have been involved in the AU for the past 3 years, holding positions such as Watersports Rep and Club Development Officer. Also as President of SUSURF I have had a lot of experience working with and within the AU. The fact that I also play Hockey for the University’s 3rd team means that not only have I competed for the University but I know of some of the challenges that clubs are facing and would like to be the one to provide support and suggestions.
Why is this position important to you, personally?
Having competed for the Uni’s Hockey (3rd) team I know the pride that people can get from representing this University and this is something that I would like to extend throughout the AU, the different clubs, media etc. Sport is already a huge part of many students’ lives here at Southampton but I want to make it into something that instils that same pride in everyone involved.
What can you give to this position that other nominees can’t?
My involvement with the University’s watersports has given me a lot of ideas regarding fundraisers and acquiring sponsorship. Watersports are like a big family, when one club holds a fundraiser the other clubs join in.
One night in SoBar can earn a lot of money especially if you send a group ahead of the main crowd.
People are more likely to come and join in if the club looks busy, themes also work really well. (Last Tuesday SUSURF had a Pancake Day themed night out.) It’s all about working out how to attract people. In terms of sponsorship, we have a lot to learn from snowsports who are very good at gaining good sponsors. I think that the financial side of the AU could be better organised, I’d like to assist clubs in raising money and also securing external sponsorship by talking to local businesses and generally cater to their individual needs.
How will you build on the work already done by Jonny?
I’m really excited about the prospect of there being a gym at Wide Lane, so I would like to encourage people to use it.
I’d also like to provide storage facilities at Wide Lane, to be honest I don’t know why they aren’t there already.
There’s an online booking form being developed but I really think that this will help immensely so it’s something I’m going to see through. I’ve already talked about the fact that the financial side of the AU could be better organised so I’ll work on that.
What is your main election strategy?
Just to get out there and talk to everyone that I can, I want to hear what people have to say about the AU and any suggestions they have.
Have you any previous experience working or volunteering for SUSU run organisations?
I have been involved in SUSURF since I was a fresher and am now the President. Within the AU, I have been Watersports Rep and Club Development Officer, two roles which involve sitting on AU Committee, therefore I have an insight into the current situation.
What do you feel this position will bring to your future career prospects?
To be honest, I am not going for this role to assist me in my future career because I would like to do something related to my course, Oceanography. I’m going to be taking a year out of my four year course to do this, so I still have one more year of study regardless. This job is more about the enjoyment for me, SUSURF has been a fantastic club to have been involved with and I know how to run successful fundraisers and secure sponsorship which is something that I’d really like to help other clubs with.
If you could hold office for one day, what would you do?
I would line everyone who is involved in sport up along a wall and ask every single one of them to either ask me a question or give me a suggestion.
I am determined to make the AU something which everyone who is involved with it is proud of, regardless of what that involvement is.