By Clara Castrillo
Polls are now open for Strath Union’s 2021 Elections, and amongst those in the running for an exec position is Kirsty Bannatyne, running for VP Sports. We caught up with Bannatyne in the final stages of her campaign to ask her a few questions about her manifesto and what we could expect from her as VP Sport.
Currently, Bannatyne holds two committee positions – one as Social Secretary for Strathclyde’s Tennis Club, and another as Sponsorship Officer for the Sports Exec.
“Being the sponsorship officer has been great as I’ve got to meet so many other students out with tennis and I love meeting new people,” Bannatyne said: “We’ve really focused on trying out and showcasing different sports across the Sports Union as a committee, and that is definitely something I want to continue if elected.
Bannatyne went on to talk about other initiatives, started by previous Sport VP Eilidh Sneddon, which she plans to continue and develop. Referring to Sneddon, she said: “She has done a lot for student well-being this year, and continuing that work is going to be so essential when moving out of lockdown and transitioning back to campus. I also really liked the idea of the committee buddy system, which I have put in my manifesto to continue. I want to expand it slightly and include the exec committee in this, by also pairing each club with a designated exec member who can be their first point of contact, and really just to allow everyone to collaborate as much as possible.”
In her manifesto, Bannatyne talks a lot about student well-being, and how she plans to make Stath Union a welcoming space for all Strathclyde students. “Student mental health has been a huge concern of mine this year,” Bannatyne explained: “I made it a priority to make Strath Tennis members aware that they could contact me about any issue that they had at any point. I know I’ve really struggled to find a good work life balance as a fourth-year this year and sometimes I just needed reminding that I don’t need to spend all day doing university work just because we are trapped at home.
“I would also love to do Sports Union wellness events such as yoga sessions, or something as simple as a coffee morning to let people talk and show students that they aren’t alone in this pandemic.”
“I think also having key conversations about disability and inclusion and encouraging Sports Union members to attend webinars such as those hosted by Scottish Student Sport or the Stonewall LGBTQ+ training session, will be vital in terms of making us more inclusive”.
Bannatyne has a lot of ideas in her manifesto, including creating a calendar of events, but the idea most pressing for her is a Strath Sport App. She said: “I think the app will be difficult to make happen, but I also believe we are at the point where something like this is needed to make us more effective in communicating with students and improving the student experience as a whole. Other universities have managed to produce their own version of a sporting app, so why can’t Strathclyde?”
Outside of her manifesto though, Bannatyne is also planning to “mark the centenary of the Sports Union with a really big event – depending on restrictions”, as well as a potential alumni sports ball that could allow semi-recent Strathclyde alumni back to reunite with each other.
On a finale note, Bannatyne said she can’t wait for COVID and government restrictions to ease up so she can get back to meeting other students, socialising with everyone, and her Wednesday night ritual: “A quick pint in the Union and then getting dressed up in some crazy outfit to head out to Rumor with Strath Tennis, you just can’t beat it,” she added.
Voting for all the Strath Union roles is ongoing, and you can vote by visiting the Strath Union page. Get voting!