The Athletics Club is struggling for its survival as reluctance from First and Second Year members to take on the commitments required by the club has resulted in a number of committee positions remaining unfilled.
The response from this and last year’s ‘fresher’s fair’ had promised much, with membership virtually doubling since the club’s founding in 2004 to over one hundred members. Despite this, elections for positions as important as those of ‘President’, ‘Vice-President’, ‘Team Captain’ and ‘Treasurer’ have had to be delayed due to a lack of interest from members.
The problem is exacerbated by the club’s policy of ensuring that no President stands for more than one year and that no committee members come from their final year. The current committee are predominantly Second Year students, and as such are permitted to hold their positions for this year. However, if the problem arises again next year, current President Jonathan Lingham stresses the club will simply “cease to exist. Some of these Freshers just don’t understand that if positions aren’t filled, the club will have to close.”
Lingham accounts much of the problem to the nature of the sport. Training sessions take place every day, but due to the fact that athletics comprises so many different individual events, members “rarely train together”, and so seldom get the chance to meet. To Lingham, this has resulted in a “lack of atmosphere within the club.”
Apathy from students however, is a problem that is in no way unique to the Athletics Club. Clubs both sporting and non-sporting are regularly kept running by as few as two or three committee members. Furthermore, it seems to be a problem with no obvious solution. The Athletics Union (AU), whilst far from ambivalent to the issue, cannot force people to take on responsibilities. As Lingham makes clear, “there is little they can do”. Attempts have been made to make the posts on the club committees more appealing by organising events and circulating correspondence, but the route of the problem lies not with the desirability of the positions . It is instead the prerogative and responsibility of the members themselves to keep their clubs, alive. Let us therefore hope that these responsibilities are realised before it is too late
By Sam Cartwright SPORTS EDITOR