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October 08, 2005

Warwick Sport

I did promise myself I wouldn't use this blog to winge, but I want to see what people think about this brand new shiny warwick sport. I couldn't seem to find any recent discussion of it on the blogs.

I run the gliding club this year and did so last year. We are technically a sports club and so fall under the control of the Sports Federation and now Warwick Sport. Despite this we are not a typical sports club, i.e I don't think we've ever been to score and most of our members come on our trips only once or twice through the year.

The thing about Warwick Sport that most people outside of sports seem to be complaining about is the membership fee which is now £30 rather than the old Sports Federation's £15. The increase is supposedly to pay for the sports centre facilities and to go to the club's budgets which were apparently being underfunded in previous years. It's true, our budget has gone up by 50% on last year and we are using this to subsidise the flying of our members so the saving is passed on.

On the other hand, we don't use the sports centre. We dont need a gym, sports health support or anything like that. We especially don't need the swimming pool for gliding, unless we wanted to attempt a water landing or something I guess. So I not sure why we are paying for this.

Personally I can cope with the student membership fee increase to £30, but I have slightly more problem with the associate membership fee, which has risen from around £45 or something last year to £130. Their argument for this goes along the lines of 'we want all the funding to benefit students only and not pay for people who arn't part of the university'. This is a fair argument in theory, until you look at clubs like us (I'd guess that it applies to quite a few others aswell).

It takes quite a few years to get into gliding. Flying is not like playing football or swimming which most people can do, at least vaguely, when they start uni. So all of our more enthusiastic members are usually in their last year. These are people who run the trips, are on the exec and organise everything. It's not exactly simple running trips to the airfield, its quite a hazerdous place with lots going on and no amount of union risk assesments, impact courses or other assorted paperwork will stand in for a trip leader who knows what they are doing. This year all these sort of people have graduated, leaving me to run the club by myself. Being nice people, they are willing to drive all the way from wherever they are in the country, run trips for the club and help out organising things. So now, we repay their dedication to helping the new student members by trying to charge them £130 for the privelidge of helping run things. Does this seem wrong to anyone else?

To be fair, Zain, the new sports officer has been trying to find a way around this because he agrees I can't run the club by myself and the student members will suffer from the charge. He seems to be taking quite a long time to sort this out though and in theory, he is the head of the Sports Federation. He is a sabatical officer and should have a lot of control over the students union sports organisations. I don't know this for sure, but I just get the feeling that he doesn't actually have the same power now that Warwick Sport is under joint control of the university and the student's union. Have we sold off our sports federation?

Another more minor annoyance is that Lisa, the sports administrator and all the sports clubs admin is now in the sports centre, but yet the union computer systems, club pigeon holes and Zain, the sports officer are still in Union North. I have spent much of the past few weeks walking between the two buildings.

I have heard from a few people that the overall memberships are significantly down from previous years. Our's is a little less than normal but then it always tends to grow steadily throughout the year.

I'd like to hear what other clubs think about the new Warwick Sport to see what the general feeling is, especially if any other clubs have the problem with associate memberships that we do.


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