Last week, the three South Australian University sport organisations, Uni SA Sport, Flinders Sport and Fitness and AU Sport, held its annual University Sport Club Conference which was aimed at providing club administrators with ideas, knowledge and the opportunities to connect with others in similar roles to ensure that their clubs are being well managed.
The Conference was opened by the University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, who spoke fondly of his days as an active student-athlete during his time at University. He also shared his thoughts on the vital role that a healthy sporting culture on campus has on the community - from elite student-athletes to those just playing social sport. He also thanked those in the room for their contributions in the role they play in managing their clubs and highlighted the benefits that they are gaining from it.
The keynote speaker Andrew Fagan, CEO of the Adelaide Crows, encouraged those in the room to have a 'growth mindset' with the courage to be bold, innovative and driven by what you think will work well for your club. Placing the 'right people in the right seats' is a key to taking your club to the next level. AU Cricket Club Secretary, Martin Southern, said "most of the content was very relevant and could be applied to most sports clubs in re-defining a vision, setting expectations, developing strategy and a structure to support it. Other useful aspects were the messages about having the courage to take risks and the internal feedback and communication policies".
Tim White, who presented at the 2017 conference, was back to help educate all about the need for sound financial management. To highlight this need, participants looked at case studies of issues that Tim has seen in his role at the Office for Recreation and Sport. UniSA Rock Climbing Club member, Nathan Cehic, said "especially given my role as club treasurer, this talk really pointed out some areas that I should be more conscious of, as well as directing me towards some good financial management resources from the State Government's Office of Recreation and Sport."
All clubs are screaming out for more volunteers and Kat Ingram, from the Office for Recreation and Sport, discussed the need and how to support them. Clubs also shared their ideas on what they could be doing at their club. "Knowing more about why people volunteer and what may be stopping us from getting new volunteers is invaluable and definitely something that will be useful to our committee," said Brianna Morello from the AU Lacrosse Club.
The final session of the day was presented by Deanna Kennedy, Uni SA Sport Club and Participation Officer, where she asked the question "What next?". It was a great wrap-up to a very informative day that had participants engaged, thinking about what they had discussed during the course of the day and how they would now manage the spread of information they had gathered to pass on to others from their clubs. Many who attended have said that it was a valuable day and that they are now feeling motivated, excited and confident in implementing changes at their clubs.
The Conference was supported by the Office of Recreation, Sport and UniSport Australia and was a great example of a team effort by the three University Sport departments.