Label interviewed Lauren Gough, and learnt more about her sporting experience and plans for the VP Sport role.
Why are you running for this position?
Since my first year I’ve been really involved in sport here on all different levels. Sport is so unique at Loughborough so I wanted to be involved as much as I could. As I’ve gotten further through uni I’ve taken on so many different and more responsible positions that I can see so much I want to do with sport here in terms of changing things and helping things grow. It is a natural progression for me and I don’t want to not try and give it a shot!
What makes you more suited than other candidates?
I have experience in all sectors of sport and knowledge. I was sports sec in my first year and I was female sports sec of the year too coming first out of 34 girls meaning I’ve got so much knowledge about the IMS programme and how it runs. I work with the My Lifestyle chair at the moment so I get a lot of insight from her, as well as being part of an AU club, being on an AU club committee and AU exec as Stefan’s vice chair equivalent, so I think I’ve got a bit more of an advantage with all the insight into different areas. I have experience with the coach and volunteering side, as well as friends that are part of performance so I feel like my broad knowledge gives me that extra advantage. Also being a girl in sport too makes me really suited; we are a minority so I can represent all sportsmen and women.
Tell us about your campaign theme?
My theme is ‘Small but Mighty Gough’. It ties into the position and the university because Loughborough is so strong in Sport and that is what we are known for. It also gives the message of despite me being a girl don’t count me out or overlook me as there’s a lot to me and I’ve got a lot of strength. I have a few tricks up my sleeve too – there are going to be some flash mobs as I am part of AU Dance so I’ve got all the dance and cheerleaders involved in that. My t-shirts will have a muscle man from the circus printed onto them and I’ve got some big weights and a moustache to wear each day so everything will revolve around the ‘Small but Mighty’ theme.
What would you say is the most important aspect of your manifesto?
The long-term development aspect; as a sabbatical officer you’re only there for one year. It’s quite easy for people to go in and just have this one year vision, whereas I’m going in to the role thinking about what I can put in place which will carry on five years down the line and make progress and developments. I’ll also look back at previous VP Sport exec members to see what I can carry on from them as you can’t do a lot in one year. To make it sustainable you need to build on the past people’s work, as well as putting things in place which other people can carry on.
In one sentence why should people vote for you?
It’s going to be really tough to find somebody else who knows more, cares more, and would be a fairer representative of all areas of sport – so vote for Small but Mighty Gough!
What are you most looking forward to about campaigning?
Meeting people! I already feel like there’s quite a broad range of people I know on campus, but getting to meet even more people and talking to them and hearing about their experiences is something I’m really looking forward to. Finding out what actually goes on for each individual’s experiences is important as it is such a big bubble it is easy to live in your own little one. I just can’t wait to get out and meet as many people as I can and hear about their Loughborough time.
What are you least looking forward to?
Results night. There are rumours that there are four people running for my position which is the most competitive it has ever been. If you don’t get it you don’t get it but I would hate to come last! I’m treating the campaigning and the results as two separate things. I’ll concentrate on giving my all in these 10 days and having a really fun time so that whatever happens on results night I’ve had a great 10 days. Being in front of everybody on results night whilst having something you care about so much put on the line is a bit daunting!
What do you think will be the most challenging part?
Trying not to get psyched out and keeping up with everything. There will be really long days, especially with sport as you want to go and meet as many clubs as you can. I’m planning on getting up really early every day to go to training sessions, go to evening sessions, get round all the games that are on the Wednesday and the weekend too. Doing all of this and seeing your competitors too it will be hard to keep that energy and momentum up but I’ve got a really good team around me so I trust that they will keep me going with it all.
What part of campaigning are you going to focus on most?
I think it’s easy to get caught up on one in particular so I’d like to try and split it. Social media shouldn’t be overlooked because so many people live in town – most the votes do come from halls but it is important to reach out to people who are off campus and not leave them out of campaigning.
What have you spent your budget on?
Something I’ve bought so far which is quite unique is paper wristbands which you can get for a social and queue jump on nights out. They will have my campaign title and logo on so people will wake up after FND and look at their wristbands and remember me. I’ve spent money on small props such as photobooth style things for people to hold which makes you a bit different to someone just standing there with a camera. The £100 budget just disappears really quickly!
What made you want to run for this position?
When Jenny Cooper won in my first year, I was part of her campaign team as a fresher. I had no clue really what I was doing and I just kept thinking “yeah I’ll go out!”, but then when I was in VIP on results night and she came back after she’d won I just thought I really want to do this. I’d seen her go from IMS chair to that positon. Despite IMS chair not working out for me I do think it was fate because I then came into the secretary position and it really became a reality that I could actually do this and become VP Sport and do a really good job. I always had the idea from seeing Jenny win, but since getting this extra experience I’d say that from October time it became a tangible idea and I thought I can do this so let’s go for it!
What do you like about the way the role has been carried out this year?
Steffan’s got a clear goal. When he was running I was involved in his campaign and he had is key 3 things he wanted to achieve. As I work so closely with him I’ve been able to see his thought processes and how he goes about things. At the forefront of everything he is doing he has his goals and you can really see them paying off. He’s been really productive and I really like the way he has gone about his role. He’s recently written a paper to present to the university to defend the reasons why AU and the Union side of sport should receive more funding – this is one of my main manifesto points with trying to get more funding and resources for the Athletic Union. He has put the first foundations of this down by writing this paper and having the meetings. It is something I feel really strongly about and want to fight for so I would continue with all these talks and hopefully get some real progress next year.
What new ideas will you be bringing?
I really want to try and unite the AU. I’d like to do this by getting links between clubs – whilst they’ve got the VP Sport and AU Exec to support them they can also have links to other clubs. Racket sports already do this and they are really united, so I want to create partnerships between clubs to get them together on socials and matches. For example, you could link watersports together, and dance with cheerleading and gymnastics. You won’t have separate clubs trying to compete for the limelight and instead there will be more morale and support. This is something I really think can be done.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
My funny fact is that I broke my nose twice in first year and I was sober both times. The first time I thought it was hilarious as I just walked into a door frame! But what a lot of people don’t know about me is that despite coming across quite extravert, loud and chatty, I do have a really sensitive side. I’m quite a soft person despite putting myself out there a lot, so don’t get put off by the keenness and outgoingness as I am also really gentle.
What three characteristics do you have that make you well suited to this role?
I’m empathetic which is great in a leader, I’ve got a lot of experience in leadership skills and I’m really organised so I can manage all the things going on at once and do them all really well.
This interview was conducted by Sophie Brennan, Label News Editor and Liz Tyler, Label Sports Editor.
To find out more about Lauren’s manifesto, click here.