This year's Sports Officer is off to a racing start. photo: Zoe Buckland

Sports Officer: “there’s so much in store”

After a brilliant year for Warwick Sport in 2012-13, including a 70-20 annihilation of Coventry in the Varsity series, Zoe Buckland steps into Natasha Cabral’s shoes as the new Sports Officer.

Warwick Sport is improving like never before. The Squash team were awarded BUCS team of the year this summer, while one of the Warwick Sport members coached a GB football team to a silver-medal finish (watch this space – we will be talking to him very soon).

So it’s not too surprising that Zoe is champing at the bit to get going and oversee yet more success in 2013-14.

I decided to have a chat to her and see how she was feeling about her new role.

Q: How excited are you to be this year’s Sports Officer? 

A: If you were to ask any of my friends, you’d soon learn that I am one of the most enthusiastic people around, so I’m sure you’ll appreciate that my excitement levels are dangerously high as we enter this brand new academic year!

Preparation throughout the summer has been fantastic fun, particularly meeting all the other Sports Officers in the country and sharing ideas. There’s so much in store for the upcoming year and I can’t wait for it to begin!

Q: What are you looking to achieve specifically in the role? 

A: A big focus for me this year is Hall Sports (where accommodation blocks compete against each other). I’m really excited about being part of the team to really get it off the ground and make it a super successful addition to our sporting provision here at Warwick.

I’m also keen on improving Exec handover by introducing a training day at the end of term three to equip the enthusiastic new Execs with the skills and tools to get started with their preparation for the coming year over the summer.

You may remember me promising online booking systems and a more user-friendly website – well I am thrilled to reveal that they are on their way! I’ll be working with the systems and marketing staff throughout the next few months to deliver these to you as soon as possible!

And finally, a common theme throughout the manifestos of this year’s officers is recorded lectures – we’re all really keen to push this with the University, so that’ll undoubtedly be a focus as well.

I’ll certainly be working hard to achieve all of the above, but above all my aim is to get more people on campus active and participating in sport than ever before. I want to improve the coverage and promotion of sport on campus, so everyone knows what’s going on and also what successes our teams are having.

Warwick enables both complete beginners to learn from scratch and experienced athletes to compete at international level. It really is up to you – be it at top competitions, occasional keep-fit sessions, adrenaline-fuelled weekend trips or just a kick-about with your flatmates on a sunny day – there’s something for everyone!

Q: What has training for the role over the summer been like? 

A: Training has been very thorough and beneficial. My first week was spent at BUCS Conference, which was extremely useful – primarily in meeting all the other Sports Officers across the UK and sharing ideas. The conference was just two weeks after my exams finished and it really reignited that excitement I’d felt during elections week!

The most valuable part of training, for me, was being introduced to various members of staff here at both Warwick SU and the University, and understanding their roles.

It sounds simple, but sometimes the hardest part of the job is knowing who to ask!

All the permanent staff have been exceptionally helpful during my first few weeks in helping me find my feet. Training has definitely made me feel as prepared as I ever could for the onslaught of Freshers’ Week!
Q: For all the first-years joining us, what part can sport play in your university experience?

A: I think the great thing about sport at Warwick is that the opportunities to get involved are so vast and diverse.

Warwick enables both complete beginners to learn from scratch and experienced athletes to compete at international level. It really is up to you – be it at top competitions, occasional keep-fit sessions, adrenaline-fuelled weekend trips or just a kick-about with your flatmates on a sunny day – there’s something for everyone!

And our clubs are not just about playing sport – each club has its own character and active social scene where you’ll really feel part of a friendly community.

So sport really can have a huge impact on your time at Warwick. For me, sport has really shaped my time here and made my university experience incredible. I’ve been involved in both the playing and the organisation of sport for the last three years – and I’ve loved every second.

Q: What sports have you most enjoyed in your time at Warwick? 

A: That’s a tricky question – I genuinely love all sports! I have actually tended to opt for the more unusual ones, which are harder to get involved in outside of university.

In my first year, I joined Warwick Rowing and learnt to cox, which I absolutely loved. We raced most weekends in the second term, which was awesome. Then in my second year, I got into martial arts and became a keen member of ZSK Chinese Kickboxing, going on to be President.

Martial arts are great fun and I’d really recommend them to everyone – especially in term 3, there’s nothing better to relieve exam stress than punching things!

In addition to the clubs I’ve been a part of, I really enjoy booking a squash court and having a knock around, or popping to the pool for a swim of an afternoon and it’s this casual participation that we’ve started to do really well here at Warwick.

Q: What would you say to any Freshers thinking about getting involved in sport at Warwick?

A: I really hope I’ve already convinced you! There really is a remarkably wide range of opportunities to get involved in.

Of course, sport is a great way to keep fit and healthy, but it’s not just about that – it’s a chance to meet so many new and diverse people, an opportunity to undertake roles of responsibility that you’d never get a chance to do outside of this and it’s a welcome break from studying!

Make sure you don’t miss Sports Fair on Tuesday 1st October from 10:30-17:30 in the Sports Centre – it’s the perfect way to find out about the range of sports on offer and chat to the Warwick Sport staff and club members. I’m so excited about the year to come; it’s going to be an awesome one!

Zoe Buckland is your new Sports Officer for 2013/2014. She can be contacted at


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