I’m personally a huge sports fan – I’m a season ticket holder at Fulham and a regular visitor to Lords Cricket Ground. I know the incredible buzz sports can bring. As someone who always had two left feet and could never really catch a ball I’ve not really been the playing type. However, I am always amazed by the shear hard work and dedication put in by sports men and women on a daily basis. 

Sports clubs are one of the most used activities across the country, but when was the last time we discussed them on a National level and gave them some well-deserved recognition? Instead, as ever, we are busy re-organizing ourselves, and forgetting the amazing amount of good sports clubs can bring to our Campuses.

If elected I want to look at three key elements to enhancing sports in our Student Unions. This would see NUS looking properly at helping to guide performance enhancement programs, championing liberation in sports and getting a new generation of people participating in both competitive and non-competitive sport.

Firstly we need to build a stronger relationship with British Universities & Colleges Sport and other associated sporting bodies, so we can work together to empower Unions to give sports club more opportunities. This could range from helping them find the funds for a new sports kit to the more complicated ideas of placing entire team on performance enhancement programs.

Our Activities and Sports Officer across the country are often left behind or ignored. This is so wrong when in fact they are the exact people who have engaged and inspired students to be involved in Student Unions. The more people are involved, the stronger our movement is. We should be working more with those who have the track record of encouraging students to get involved.

Finally I want to see us doing more to promote campaigning such as “Out in Sport”. Sexuality, age, race, gender or background should not be a barrier to participating and showing talent. We need to work with sports teams – not against them. We also need to do more to inspire people into participating in sports. Since the Olympics I have tried my hand at Squash (inspired by Brunel VP Student Activities, Gary O’Brien), I’ve thrown a Shot Putt, and pretended to be a synchronised swimmer in my bath. I think NUS and Student Unions should be doing all they can to enhance and promote the concept of “Give it a Go” - getting out there, not only within the student body, but also in our local communities.

Too often there have been negative stigmas around our sports clubs, and that needs to end. They are champions and leaders in our movement and with me as President I will work with other Officers to see we place them back at the heart of our great movement.


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    Peter Smallwood

    Candidate for NUS President. Its time we built an NUS students are proud to belong to. #BacktoBasics


    February 2013