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“I really value the sports and societies on campus,” was the opening line from Ben Francis. A keen runner, there’s no doubting his passion for sport. “I want to give back to Lancaster University and LUSU some of the time that I’ve really enjoyed here.”
Francis’ has experience working as vice president for Bowland’s JCR, in addition to his time on the exec of the athletics club. He puts organisation, leadership and time management top of the valuable skills he’s sharpened.
Ultimately though, it’s his enthusiasm which shines through: “I really love this University and the sports and societies are very important to it,” he explains. He cites the ever-rising tuition fees as a major problem facing students these days, so believes that cheap sports and societies are now more important than ever.
Being a big sports fan, it’s unsurprising to hear that he wants to keep the home Lancaster dominance at Roses going. “It’s the highlight of the calendar for many people. I want to see it well organised and well delivered,” he says. Regarding improvements Francis did not offer any at the time, but placed emphasis on the student media coverage, and the inclusion of the stadium by the sports centre.
In his manifesto, Francis wants to embrace the collegiate structure of Lancaster more. “I’d like to increase publicity of the Carter Shield. I think it’s a great way to get people involved, but not necessarily in a competitive environment,” he says. He alluded to introducing more sports to the tournament, and has suggested in his manifesto that he would expand the variety to non-sports contests.
Whilst his sporting experience is good, this role also includes societies. Francis acknowledges that he would like to take more of an interest in societies as his focus has been around sport. He puts huge emphasis on keeping the sports rolling up to Roses. Questions about how he would support societies are sure to be asked on his campaign trail and during hustings, where questions are open to the floor.
Francis suggests that there needs to be more communication and transparency between LUSU and the societies, and says he feels that the sharing of information is not currently optimal. He would like to increase the amount of drop-in sessions and meetings, something he would be personally keen to do.
Having worked with execs before, Francis knows about teamwork, and said that he’s liaise with the newly elected VP Welfare to create more sportsmanship campaigns. He praised former VP Activities Natalie Sutcliffe’s This Roses Girl Can campaign, saying it was incredibly successful in getting women involved in sport.
Francis clearly values the roles that sports and societies play in university life, and his enthusiasm for these is evident with his experience, as well as in his manifesto and interview.
Trivia: Ben was unsure how societies received funding.