How are you going to ensure the new Sports building will be student orientated?
Sam Asfahani: In terms of past, present, and future I have always kept the student population in mind. Having been on the board right from the beginning I’ve been aware of any changes and decisions that need to be made and have managed to ensure the building is focused towards students. In the present I am in consultation with clubs (such as) the swimming club responding to their comments and needs. In the future I’d like to see a wider consultation process, especially for those sports which are seen as inaccessible, and use YUSU to reach a campus-wide agreement.
Ben McGladdery: There are many issues with this; I’ve spoken with David Duncan and John Greenwood about these. Part of the way in which I will ensure that students get the right deal for them, because they should get what they deserve, is by lobbying the council through sitting in the right meetings. I’ll make sure students get what they want, which involves speaking to presidents, captains, and creating forums for discussion on a regular basis.
How will you encourage greater participation in specific sports at college level?
SA: I really feel like college sport has been left behind, and it is something that is currently being reviewed although that is something that will take a year to come through and react to. I think we really need to boil college sport back down to the basics, encouraging more people to join through free sessions which would be subsidised by York Sport. Something I have discussed would be a Collegium with Durham University, which has fantastic college participation, and would be a great event playing college against college drawing in a wider, more involved, college participation.
BM: My own experience, and the reason I want to become Sports President, is I never came here as a sporting individual. But I now play for the university badminton team, so I have had that growth from someone who doesn’t have a sport background to someone to whom sport has become the main part of my life. I want to work together with the JCRC Chairs, and the sports Reps, and really push them to make their job as large a part of college life as possible. I would push the STYCs forward and really make sure they are encouraging their freshers, and explain to them how sport is a huge part of what we do.
How are you going to fund York Sport and make money whilst membership funding (York Sport Membership) is being cut?
SA: This is something that has plagued my last term, mainly because I feel there has been a lot of confusion over the funding. Playing rugby and football and never using the building, despite paying for membership, was not great and I support any change to this. Obviously though, students will still be paying for their membership but it will be through the raised tuition fees, rather than a direct fee to commercial services. This will raise the amount of money we have coming in for a start, and Sport finances are in a better shape than ever before, with more sponsorship coming in than in the last four years.
BM: I would obviously support any changes that benefit students, because with fees rising I feel that students should see definite improvements in their university experience and 2012 is the ideal time to make these improvements. I have spoken to David Duncan and Jane Grenville about removing the Sports Membership and funding it through tuition fees already charged.
Name one good thing and one bad thing that your predecessor did during their term?
SA: I have played across every single level, from playing for my country to playing for my college, as well as coaching. This really allows me a unique insight, which can only benefit the university.
For myself I would say I am not a short-term strategist which can work against me as many of the third years will not benefit from the changes I’ve introduced and that can work against me.
BM: I really do not want to get involved in a negative campaign, but one thing I would say is that Sam’s a great guy and a great friend, but on a bad thing I guess he can seem unapproachable.