As a Sports Rep and Assistant Coach, Issy Smith has also held a number of positions in sports club committees and is a former Project Active Events Assistant. We’re not sure how she finds the time to study for her part-time masters! 

Issy on being a Sports Rep...

I’ve always been very invested in the sports provision at UCL. Over the years I’ve held lots of positions in sports club committees (social sec, volunteering sec, captain, coach) and combined with starting my role as a TeamUCL Sports Assistant in November 2020, I’ve become ever more involved with TeamUCL. I wanted to make sure that my knowledge and experience could be utilised to benefit all those who partake in sport at UCL.

I chose to be Sports Rep as I believe that having someone who is both a student and a staff member is essential to improving communication between student level activity and the Students’ Union.

It also allowed me to provide insight to my fellow sports reps, give direct feedback and apply my knowledge of both sports clubs, the Union, and TeamUCL to ensure that we are successful in our aims.  

What do you love about the role?

One of the best things I've got out of this role (which was unexpected) was getting to know and work with my fellow sports reps. I’ve met so many lovely, inspirational people who lead our clubs and are driven to ensure the best experience is provided across the board.  

Sometimes when you join a sports club there is a tendency to stick with those people, not branch out and there is a lack of knowledge of what other clubs and committees are achieving. Being a sports rep has opened my eyes further, not only giving me and my fellow sports rep a platform to enact change, but also introducing me to wonderful people who I look forward to working with again next year (I will be going for sports rep again!).  

And your standout moment?

Definitely my work on postgraduate sporting provision. Due to my role with Project Active, I've been able to really push postgraduate sporting provision. We've endeavoured to have monthly one-off postgraduate sessions in collaboration with TeamUCL Sports Clubs. We have so far held Project Active Postgraduate: American Football, Tennis, Dodgeball, Table Tennis, Climbing, amongst others. This is in addition to continuing our weekly Postgraduate Project Active classes and one-off events such as darts (at Flight Club).  

I also wanted to make sure that there is sporting provision in Term 3 and summer – a period of time which is often neglected. As a result, I created the name 'Postgraduate Summer' for this project. You can start to view upcoming events now. It’s not just limited to sports as we realise that across-the-board postgrads can be neglected across all Union departments. This project will not only include weekly sports classes, sports clubs’ tasters, and social leagues, but also talks and events from across UCL in a range of areas. I can only hope this is something we can build on in future years but for me who entered with a goal to improve postgrad provision and inclusion, I feel like this is a fantastic start. 

Issy on being an Assistant Coach...

I was lucky enough to be sponsored for a coaching course by TeamUCL in my second year (2018-19) and when I returned from a year abroad (19-20) I became Men’s Coach for UCL Dodgeball in 2020-21. This was difficult as we were still in the height of COVID and we could not hold many sessions. In term 3 we started to ramp up activity. I helped organise the TeamUCL Dodgeball League which was very successful, and I was able to promote our own sessions through this. From Term 3 of 2021 I started the hard job of building our club again, having had most of our competitive (and social) members wiped out over the COVID break, hosting a series of one-off sessions, alumni games, and friendly varsity against Imperial. As a result, I went for Women’s Coach for 2021-22 to continue building our club – especially the women’s side.  

I entered this year with relatively low expectations as we were starting with less than 5 active returning competitive members (only one of which was male). But our social sessions became extremely popular and maintained this popularity throughout the year with around 100 students joining our social tasters in the Welcome period and a consistent 40-50 students returning for regular social sessions.  

Our competitive sessions were much quieter, but it allowed me to focus on individuals and to ensure that each member was getting the coaching and commitment they needed. We started the year with Freshers’ Champs where we competed against dodgeball clubs across the nation with newbie teams. We took two teams and for the first time in our history, we achieved a medal position (3rd). Dodgeball also joined BUCS for the first time this year. I'm so utterly proud of my teams, and as a result, we have an incredible foundation to build upon our successes next year.  

Coaching was hard work, and I spent a lot of time each week ensuring my members were getting the best experience possible, but I would not change a thing. I have never felt so proud of something I have created, nor felt so proud of a team.

I am head coach next year and will be leading both the Men’s and Women’s teams hopefully to victory once more – I cannot wait.  

Issy on her Sports Assistant role...

I started my Sports Assistant role in November 2020 and I have had my fingers in so many pies I could not begin to list them! To name a few...

I helped organise the TeamUCL Lockdown Leagues in 2020-21 and the TeamUCL Dodgeball League - I secured the venue, wrote the rules, and created a league plan. I also refereed. By the end of the league I was organising the weekly fixtures, the teams, the finals, the results, graphics, and doing the in-person management on the day.  

This year I assumed management of the TeamUCL Leagues at the end of November to help lighten the load on senior staff. organising the weekly admin for all of our leagues: Football, Netball, Badminton, Volleyball, and 3v3 Basketball. I also organised the TeamUCL Finals event on the 29th of April for Netball, Volleyball and 3v3 Basketball. I sorted event plan, arranged matches and secured referees.

I’ve also been involved with everything from BUCS travel fixture reclaim to Sports Ball, to Union Awards to Varsity to Welcome Fair. There’s always something to do in TeamUCL!  

I have honestly loved my role as a sports assistant for TeamUCL. I have learnt so much and the team has been so supportive. I have also developed a huge appreciation for everything the SU staff do. TeamUCL work their hardest to ensure students are having the best experience and it is a joy to be a part of that. I am looking forward to another year of getting stuck into the world of TeamUCL. 

Issy on Project Active...

Project Active is so important because it allows students who maybe aren’t big on sport or don’t have the time to join a sports club to keep active and healthy across a range of activities. The project is also brilliant for students to socialise, and everything is such a low cost as we want it to be accessible to all.

I’m particularly proud of our postgrad and women’s only provision, as well as the establishment of social leagues this year such as table tennis and dodgeball. Every university should have a social sport programme as there are so many people it can reach and encourage to get active.

Above all I want to express how brilliant TeamUCL (including Project Active) is. I have grown so much from these roles, learnt so much from the team, gained so much from being a part of sport at UCL. I owe it a lot.