Ellie Whittaker

Image: YUSU

Image: YUSU

Third Year

Why did you decide to run for York Sport President?
Being involved in sport at York has been the best part of my university experience! Since I’ve been President of the Women’s Football Club (UYWAFC), we’ve more than doubled in size, we’re one of the best performing clubs in the York Sport Union, and we’ve been selected to host the national BUCS Women’s Football Festival next month in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. I’d love the chance to develop the Sport Union in the same way that I’ve developed UYWAFC, and I believe I could make a real difference if elected.

Sum up your main policies.
– Excellence through development: I would make a commitment to every single club and college sport to meet with them once a term in order to come up with a development plan that is tailored to suit their needs. This will help to better establish the smaller and newer clubs, and will allow the established clubs to be able to develop further, in order to continue the York Sport Union’s push towards the top 35 of BUCS. I will support this further by extending the alumni mentoring scheme, so all presidents have access to a pool of York’s outstanding sporting alumni.

– Recognition: BUCS have shown that students who are involved at sport and sports leadership at university earn on average 18 per cent more in their later careers, and it’s unfair that this isn’t better recognised. I will lobby the York Award to be more sport-friendly, better reflecting the time and effort that goes into being a president or captain of a sports club, and I will work to extend the Student Ambassador scheme so that prospective students are better aware of the value of university sport. York’s student media is the best in the UK, and do a fantastic job at covering the mainstream sports. By increasing the communication between the Sport Union and student media, I want clubs and college sports to be celebrated more equally.

– Inclusivity: Sport is as much about the spectators and non-participants as it is about the athletes, and I think more needs to be done to create one union! In order to drum up more support in the build up to Roses 2016, I will make a RAG event the first official event, in order to engage a wider demographic of the student body with the biggest inter-university varsity in Europe. I will boost communication between clubs by grouping club presidents by sports of similar size and stature, so they will be able to bounce ideas off each other more easily.

Describe yourself in three words.
Sport crazy northerner.

What makes you different to the other candidates?
The other candidates are from mainstream clubs, who are considered traditional sports, but I’m from a club where there is still unfortunately a lot of stigma against women playing football. The way in which I’ve been able to develop a small club into one of the best performing and rapidly expanding clubs in the York Sport Union sets me apart from the others!

Since I was elected President of UYWAFC, the club has more than doubled in size, our beginners’ session has trebled in size, and we’ve been selected to host the national BUCS Women’s Football Festival in March, where paralympians and other highly esteemed people will be keynote speakers! I’ve worked extremely hard to put UYWAFC on the map, and I would love the chance to do the same for the York Sport Union!

What experience do you have that will be good for the role?
Having served as a captain of two university firsts teams, two college teams, and now as a club president of one of the most rapidly developing clubs on campus, I understand how challenging it can be to juggle sport with a degree! This wide range of experience means I understand what members of the Sport Union want and need in order to progress.

Since I’ve been at York, I’ve secured two promotions, with a third hopefully just around the corner, so I understand what the performance clubs need. My club also has a thriving participation setup too – so I’m aware of potential participation barriers and how we can increase participation at all levels. Also, not many people can say their club’s been chosen to host a national festival, which mine has!

What will you do differently to Cass Brown, the current York Sport President?
I want to make sure that every club is given the support they need by YUSU to develop and realise their goals, whether that simply be staying ratified or challenging for national titles. Club presidents have great ideas and by developing better presidential networks this will help these ideas to be shared between clubs, which I hope will also drive club development across the board.

I would also like to see more integration of RAG with the York Sport Union, especially around Roses time, where I’ll push for a RAG event to serve as the first official event of Roses, in order to engage sport and non-sport people and help take a huge following to Roses 2016!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
Despite being terrified of heights, I got to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro but have absolutely no recollection of getting there!

What do you think about the other candidates?
The calibre of the candidates goes to show how strong sport is at York this year, and it’s going to be a great battle!

What do you think the biggest challenge you’ll face during elections will be?
Probably being able to keep my voice intact and facing the media in the Full Time Officers Debate on Tuesday, but I’m really looking forward to the whole elections process and I can’t wait to get started!

/What’s your campaign strategy?
I am going to cover campus in cardboard wELLIEs, having a daily ‘Where’s wELLIE?’ game, and I’d love to talk to as many people as I can to show them how much I’d love to be your next York Sport President!

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