Continuity is the key to sporting success for Sports President Murray Bushell
Having described his first year as a “learning curve”, Sports President Murray Bushell is convinced that a second term will bring about major changes within Sports Union.
The graduate sports scientist believes that now is the time to benefit from the experience and relationships he has already built.
Bushell told Brig, “From the start, when I came in last year, I thought this could be a two-year project.
“Last year was about learning, gaining experience and building relationships, while next year is about making a real change and difference at Sports Union.”
Facilities have been upgraded over the past year, with the Gym 1, tennis courts and swimming pool benefiting from the refurbishment.
Discussions have started on improving the outdoor facilities and although it is a long-term project, Bushell insists the continuity will allow him to improve the experience for sports union clubs.
He said: “The handover time between the old president and the new one is underestimated. I can come right after the elections and start work this year and get going.”
While relationships have already been established with students and staff, Bushell wishes to continue supporting student athletes to offer further support.
Bushell said: “I don’t understand how students can come to us and feel represented by Sports Union when we’re not watching them and feeling we care.
“I made a big deal earlier this year to watch every Wednesday – it’s my favorite time of the week.
“You can see that they appreciate it and I can say that Sportunion really cares about the students.”
However, the former varsity goalkeeper noted that the support for club members goes beyond encouragement.
As some sports clubs continue to struggle for funding, Bushell’s primary intention is to set up an alumni fund to provide financial support to clubs and enable alumni to take an active interest in sport in Stirling.
“If we can involve our alumni right after graduation, we will benefit from it for years to come.”
When asked about its sustainability, Bushell added: “I’d rather have 1,000 people donate £5 than five people donate £1,000.
“It would start with crowdfunding, so get all the clubs to share it and promote it to their alumni, and if we don’t meet the goals we set, the money goes back to the alumni – we don’t want to waste their money.”
“We need to get clubs to buy in but we need to paint the picture that this is a great opportunity.”
In addition to supporting students, the current President of Sport’s plans focus on ensuring that clubs are adequately promoted and developed.
While teams of scientists “deserve recognition,” Bushell believes he can help specific sports teams attract new athletes and ultimately drive success, culture, engagement and participation.
For Bushell, inclusion remains firmly in his plans to move Sportunion forward. He added: “I want to speak to societies like LGBTQ+ and BAME to see how we can get you into sport.
“We unfortunately can’t see how many transgender athletes we have, but if we’re open about showing our transgender policies, people can see that we’re thinking about it and they can come and join us.”
Ultimately, Bushell hopes a sports union under his leadership will draw attention to the joy of sport in Stirling, while balancing competitiveness and participation.
“It’s not just about winning, it’s also about participation and engagement, but external factors can make people do it.
“If you suddenly have a really good coach, then maybe you have more people in the training and it can be more fun.
“Pleasure is really what it’s about. Winning is important and when I come in on a Thursday I’m happy to see who’s won, but I know that playing sport and being a member of the Sportunion is what defines university for me and for so many other people.”
Credit for selected images: Jonathan Boomer