INTERVIEW: VP Sports Development Candidates

As part of our Elections 2014 coverage, the Soton Tab has been catching up with all the sabbatical candidates and hitting them with our own brand of questioning. With zero hour approaching, […]

elections 2014 vp sports

As part of our Elections 2014 coverage, the Soton Tab has been catching up with all the sabbatical candidates and hitting them with our own brand of questioning. With zero hour approaching, we at the Soton Tab thought we’d give you a little extra help when it comes to deciding who YOU want your VP Sports Development  to be! Or at least that was the plan…. Due to a recent withdrawal there is now only one candidate running for the position this year. So instead, see this as an opportunity to learn more about your (potentially) new VP Sports Development, Katie Lightowler!


VP Sports Development Katie Lightowler

Why is sport important to students and the University?

Katie Lightowler: In my view it is for people’s own wellbeing, fitness, and health. The competitive side in me is also saying to win! We are a really good university, with great facilities and teams. Think about how involved everyone was during the Olympics with Team GB. It would be great to have that same proud feeling around campus for Team Soton– it will get people more inclined to participate, to exercise and be healthy – whether in AU, Intramural or just recreationally!

How do you propose to increase our ability to compete with the best BUCS league universities in terms of investment in performance?

Katie: Currently, we are limited by two major factors. Travel and time-tabling for lectures. If elected, I would focus on re-aligning our fixtures with BUCS to make them cheaper to get to and more sociable as teams can go together. I would also work to get timetabling sorted – more lectures put online and less compulsory modules on Wednesdays. Our students shouldn’t have to choose between their sport and their course.


Intra mural sport has improved considerably this year, how do you intend to build on this?

 Katie: Making it more student-led (this will be helped by the established committee). This will resolve some of the issues that come about because more than one party is involved. I would also like to raise the profile and encourage a link with AU. It would be great to see a separate style of bun-fight for Intra-mural clubs during Fresher’s week to notify people of intramural existence immediately and get larger participating numbers as a result!


Which area do you think the University could improve on most when it comes to sport?

Katie: Prioritizing it. All you need to do is go onto campus and you can see the amount of people in gym gear, sports clothing, club clothing or AU kit! It needs to be prioritized so that more funding can be given and we can become a university of sporting excellence where EVERYONE can enjoy sport J at the moment, there is no proper University strategy – it is not recognised as important.


In terms of a percentage split, how much time, money and effort would you put into participation and performance respectively?

Katie: 60% performance, 40% participation – however these two do overlap so it is hard to tell – for example with changes to the gym. Often increasing participation is for the purpose of improving performance! And vice-versa.


If you were to sum up your campaign in three words, what would they be?

 Katie: #Lightitup – does that count as one or three? Who knows. If it’s one then the other two would be “Lightowler Lightbulbs” – look out for them on campus!


Jesters or Sobar?

 Katie: Jesters!

Was Southampton your first choice?

Katie: Yes!


Favourite sports team (any discipline)?

Katie: I could say Saracens rugby but I probably don’t have enough commitment! I will say though that I am an avid fan TeamGB. Whenever the Olympics or any world championship is on, I am completely glued to the telly: I will willingly scream and shout in support despite knowing there is no way they are going to possibly hear me!


If there was any Sabb you’d compare yourself to, whom would it be and why?

 Katie: Probably Beckie Thomas – we are in fact good friends and have a very similar mindset and approach to life! Both of us love trying new things and meeting new people. We also bicker quite a bit!


Why are you best for VP Sports?

Katie: I have a strong AU background and completely understand many of the issues that are faced by AU clubs as I have experienced them myself. However, this does not mean that I am ignorant of intra-mural issues, gym issues, Winchester, medics who are limited in playing University sport, internationals. My main aim is to get sport PRIORITISED at the University so that these issues can be properly tackled!