People approaching the transition between student life and working life tend to worry about having to live for the weekend because they won’t be able to go out as much as when they were “writing their dissertation”/posting meme’s on facebook.
Chris Millar, president elect of Glasgow University Sports Association, is looking forward to working through his: “At the weekends I want to be going to meet with clubs and teams and seeing how they’re getting on, or meeting with people and sorting out issues.
“I think on paper it’s a 35 hour a week job, but it could be a lot more. But that’s fantastic, bring it on.”
Chris won the GUSA elections last week, and already has a big event to look forward to in the Glasgow Cup, the city’s showpiece varsity event, although he has a small hurdle to overcome beforehand: “Dissertation hand in at twelve, five past twelve I’ll be there.”
He’s confident that Glasgow uni can retain the title they won in 2011: “We’re putting up some brave talk I’m reading in the press releases so yeah I’d love to see the Glasgow Cup return to Glasgow University, its rightful owners.”
Unlike his fellow final year psychologists, who will no doubt indulge in a small amount of celebrating when their dissertations are done, 22-year-old Chris is already thinking about the next project – learning the ropes from outgoing president Leo Howes.
Although the handover is scheduled for the summer Chris is keen to start working alongside Howes as soon as possible so he can hit the ground running: “First of June is when the official handover period begins but I’m sure we’ll be working closely with Leo up until then.
“I know we’ve got a meeting this Thursday, then Tuesday, then Thursday as a bare minimum, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of the current council and the previous council in between. So the handover period begins from day one, right now, getting involved in the on-goings so come June it is going to be a smooth transition.”
He’s also very excited about the student’s who will make up his 2012/13 GUSA council: “They came across really well. I know some of them personally, some better than others, I think it has all the makings for a fantastic year. They’re a brilliant bunch, and they all bring something different to the table.”
Few GUSA presidents can have come to the role with such pressing issues to tackle. The closure of Kelvin Hall and its possible consequences, including the loss of recreational sport, Glasgow School of Art students being unable to join GUSA, and the loss of the Glasgow University Union nightclub the Hive, are issues on the radar of the national press, let alone the students.
But Chris is confident that through an open and collaborative process between all concerned parties resolutions to the looming problems can be found: “Obviously it’s concerning to a lot of people, let alone the 12 clubs who are going to be directly affected, but it’s going to affect everyone.
“We should keep on letting them know exactly what the status is. Then there’s going to be a real search for external facility space, and making sure that no clubs fold, or recreation sport isn’t scrapped as a result of it; none of any of a number of horrendous situations.”
Keeping students informed, and consulting students on the way forward, is a point that Chris campaigned on, and in his proposed president’s drop-in’s students will be able to bring their problems directly to him: “We don’t know how the format’s going to work at the moment but it will be time available to whoever, a member of sport and recreation at any level, to come and meet direct with the president and bring what it is concerning them.”
Because of his emphasis on sharing ideas, it makes sense that Chris is able to appreciate good suggestions made by others. Steph Collins, Chris’ opponent in the presidential election, proposed in her manifesto to establish links between GUSA and the university’s sports science department to provide clubs with advice on training, nutrition and psychological strategies.
Chris was impressed with the plan: “I’ve not had a chance to speak to Steph about it yet, but I think it’s a great idea and I’d love to ask her about it and see what we can do.”
He’s also very grateful to, and proud of, his campaign team: “They were unbelievable. Everyone just brought different skills to the table.
“Whether it was just help visiting clubs, or help online, or help writing speeches, help with video making skills, creativity building things, printing things, thinking outside the box, it was phenomenal. Everyone just had a wee different thing they could bring. “
Whilst such an egalitarian approach is not perhaps what you would expect from a boxer, it makes sense given the context of Chris’ extra-curricular work. For three years Chris worked as a residential child care worker for Care Visions, who work in social care and fostering services for children and young people, elderly, physically disabled and other vulnerable groups.
Having dealt with the tension, then “huge release” of the election campaign, Chris is now looking to a bright future for sport at Glasgow University: “It’s a hugely exciting time. To possibly have athletes from your university taking part in the Commonwealth Games, on your doorstep: sensational.”
And despite the controversy surrounding it, Chris is looking forward to GUSA having a brand new gym: “As long as every party is happy with the decisions that are finally made I think it would be so attractive for anyone to come to Glasgow when they see what’s on offer at such a reasonable price.”