Candidate interview: Ben Holden

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Ben Holden
Pendle

Use contacts to get big acts for Freshers’ Fair
Encourage big sports competitions
Combine college sports leagues to increase participation

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Though Ben Holden has more of a sporting background – being Pendle JCR Sports Rep, Captain of their Pool B team, and Captain of Men’s Squash 1st team – he also has experience as former Chair on Pendle JCR Exec, and wishes to turn around the popularity of societies.

As a member of the Politics Society, he feels he has an understanding of their needs and feels “there is always room and scope to improve and build on what we have – make them better known for example”. His main ideas involve a printed guide to societies being produced for new and returning students, as well as a possible societies section in SCAN.

Holden also felt there needed to be more advertisement of Freshers’ Fair: “Other universities that I’ve visited, they get a big act in, a big DJ or something like that… I know Lancaster’s not renowned for getting the biggest bands in the world in, but there’s contacts out there, there’s stuff that can be made better.”

He continued: “[You could] put a big article in SCAN, put big posters up, get South West campus involved, because chatting to people down in Cartmel and Lonsdale, they didn’t really know that it was happening. It was just on main campus that they thought that it was going on.”

Other notable ideas include utilising space created by the new sports facilities on campus. “I would want to utilise the brand new sports facilities to attract some bigger names and look at holding some competitions […] for example a Lancashire Open for badminton or squash, or some national swimming event.”

He went on: “I’ve got a few names in the pipeline to come down if I possibly get elected, who can come and play squash… I’m quite contacted in. There’s also the possibility of utilising the old sports centre for societies space; have the sports hall as a dance area for LUDanS.”

Naturally Holden felt that Roses would be his biggest challenge if he were to be elected, but he feels he could put his own mark on the event. “The biggest challenge will be Roses, because that’s one of the biggest events at the University, the biggest varsity event in Europe. The idea of that is to try and tie not just the sports in, but the societies – get everyone involved and motivated about it and just try and make it the biggest and the best it has been.”

A more controversial idea came from his desire to improve participation in the Carter Shield.

“One of my ideas, was to try and combine all the college leagues, so you still compete for your George Wyatt, your Carter Shield, but there’s also a collegiate trophy, almost like a campus based Roses, at the end of the year. That, hopefully, all being well, will increase participation in the Carter Shield, because it is a good event and it needs to keep going.”

He did not seem concerned about trends in the past, when the leagues were combined, which resulted in one college running away with the trophy. “Every college has a selection of such amazing, talented individuals, and if they manage to get hold of them, get them all down, get them all playing in these sports, then I think the college sports on campus could really accelerate in the next few years.”

This role of Vice President (Activities) is newly created this year, and though Holden admits that he could be more involved with societies than he is currently, he is positive about being able to reflect both sides of the role if elected: “I think that the idea of combining sports and societies was never going to be completely accepted across the board. But it’s what we’ve got, and it’s what we’ve got to work with”.

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