How to be an awesome president: university snowsports edition

We sat down with the outgoing President of the University of Bristol Snowsports Club (UBSC) to discuss her experience and to get some hints and tips for Presidents coming onto the scene…

What are some of your highlights?

I am not sure where to start because the 18/19 season has been another incredible year for UBSC! Somehow we continue to strike a balance between maintaining a good relationship with the Student Union, training as a Performance Sport, creating a deep sense of social community, and promoting the biggest single-University ski trip in the world! Val Thorens 2019, BUDS, and Training Trip (all events I have documented for Line-S) were insane.

Huge credit to Eleanor Bell, the ex-Trips Rep, for her stunning work with our events partners. I am particularly proud of our veterans, Aidan Scannell and Lucy Troman, for tearing-it-up in Les Deux Alpes at Main Event in April. Nonetheless, my highlight has to be UBSC’s ‘Coombe Dingle Ramp Project’ going from dream to reality, with key stakeholders at the University of Bristol agreeing to do whatever it takes to become the first university in the country to have a Jibworx-style facility on campus. I am sure the incoming President, Will Ashley Miller (WAM), will tell Line-S all about it once it has been built.

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How would you describe your role?

You would think the President is snowed-under (excuse the pun) with admin and meetings. However, when I sat down with WAM for his handover, I realised that I didn’t have many jobs to pass on! Instead, the President must have their finger on the pulse at all times and be aware of what’s going on in all parts of the club: trips, socials, finance, training, competitions, beginners, and media. They must empower and motivate the committee to put in hard work and selfless dedication to their individual role. It’s a lot of information to hold in your head!

What do you think makes a good President?

All Presidents are different! I have seen Presidents who are reserved and understated, lavish and extravagant, and everything in between! Yet, whatever their approach, the President should be organised, responsible, and adaptable. Most importantly, a good President needs to recognise what the club needs at that point in time. Is expansion always the right thing to do?

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What is the most rewarding thing about being a President?

A President shares the highs and lows of every Committee member. For example, the UBSC Social Secs organised our annual ‘Snowball’. I played no part in organising this event but I was extremely proud of what they achieved. It is this personal connection to every aspect of your club, even if you have no input, that makes Presidency one of the most rewarding things you can do at University.

What did you find difficult? Did you learn anything?

I have always been a perfectionist, so I found it difficult to accept that things never go to plan! I learned to say “Everything’s going to be OK” or “It’s going to be so fine” more times than I care to admit! However, there are some aspects of the job that cannot be dealt with easily, including the fact that it is one thing to manage a committee but another thing to manage your friends. Here, there is no right answer; it depends on personalities, circumstances, and relationships, so you have to wing it!

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Do you have any advice?

It is very easy to get caught up in the details. For example, UBSC’s last two Trips Reps almost cried over coloured bunting! My advice would be not to sweat the small things and to take pride in what you achieve, even though club members may not realise how much time you have put in behind the scenes. It is also very easy to get carried away with progress.

Every snowsports club wants to bring something unique to the table. Yet, I believe the President should not lose sight of the fact that the club is a sports club at heart. It is this heart that makes all the professionalism, branding, initiatives, and statistics all the more worthwhile. Good luck!

Have you had an awesome experience as part of a university committee? Get in touch and tell us all about it! We want to hear all the juicy details…

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