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‘I’m giving out 600 cakes instead of leaflets’: An interview with Saskia Marriott

Saskia is running to be Sports Officer 2018/19

As the voting for the SU Officer elections opens, students' campaigns are being suitably ramped up. We spoke to one of the six candidates for the Sports Officer position. Saskia Marriott spoke up about her key policies, women's only gym times and ROAR fancy dress.

For those who don't know you, sum yourself up in a sentence.

Hey everybody, I’m Saskia and I’m a sassy Sabrecat who wants to be your Sports Officer next year!

What inspired you to run for Students' Union Sports Officer?

After watching Flo’s video last year, it made me look more into the elections and roles and opened my eyes to how perfect the position is for me! Ever since I was little, I’ve loved sport, in my teens I was a regional netball player and loved being captain when I could.

Now at uni, I’m the coach of the cheerleading team and love being in a role that not only brings people together but also seeing things come together that I’ve played a part in.

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Voting is now open for the elections, how have you found the campaign process?

The process has been exhausting but amazing. It’s been early mornings, long days and late, late nights. I’ve been giving out cakes instead of leaflets – which seems really clever, but it’s a long process – I’ve made 350 cakes so far and got 250 left to make! But I’ve met some lovely people and don’t regret running at all.

If you had to choose one big change you'd like to make as sports officer at Sheffield, what would it be?

One big change is a really hard question, I’d say that I have one manifesto point no one else does that makes me stand out and a strong candidate, which is my proposal for the women’s only gym.

A women’s only gym is really important, not only for girls with body image reasons and just personal preference, but also there’s a preference for those with religious beliefs too. I’ve spoken to so many different people including sports teams and faith societies and so many have been behind it.

I’m not sure why it’s not already a thing, as we have women’s only swim slots already! After speaking to some societies I’ve had a lot of interest in beginners only gym slots for men and women, and a men’s only swim too.

For the women's only gym slots I’m suggesting 2-4 hours a week, and if there was an uproar I could always look into extending weekend hours so that others aren’t missing out too.

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So, do you think there's some intimidation for girls to use mixed gender gym spaces?

I definitely think there’s some intimidation, maybe not for everyone but for a lot of girls there is. I myself am super confident in myself and how to use the gym – but even I get intimidated when a guy asks how many sets I have left because they always ask me before other guys.

A lot of girls don’t have that confidence to go and use the weights, either because they feel that aren’t good enough and will do it wrong, or because they feel like they can’t. I’ve spoken to faith societies too and they said that they would massively feel a benefit from the women’s only slot for a gym – and also a men’s only swim!

What's your favourite thing about Sheffield?

My favourite thing about Sheffield is the price, it’s so cheap up here. £2 pints and £5 rounds are literally what I live for!

If you could introduce a new piece of varsity merch what would it be?

If I had to create a piece of Varsity merch it would be either a personalised umbrella – because of the gross weather last year – or maybe some varsity socks.

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What's your favourite Varsity event?

My favourite Varsity event is either Men’s Rugby firsts or Men’s Basketball firsts. The rugby is always a busy, rowdy event but the men’s basketball is always so close score-wise and gets so intense at the end – and I get to cheer at half time.

You suggested in your manifesto more society socials, potentially a 'crop top Pop Tarts'. What's the best fancy dress you've worn to ROAR?

The best fancy dress I’ve worn to Roar is either the time I dressed up as a watermelon – we had a social that was “emojis” and my friends and I wanted to be different so went as fruit. Or the time I wore my flashing VK jumper to Uni Xmas Day.

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

The only other thing I’d love to say is that please vote if you’re an eligible student, there are over fifty of us that have dedicated every minute of every day of the past month to this, and we want to represent you so have your say.

I genuinely think I’d be really good at the role because I have relevant, realistic policies that I will push and push until they’re done. I’m confident and a good public speaker and really want to be your representative!