On Wednesday 21 March, Royal Holloway Sport welcomes the Surrey Stags to campus for this year's Varsity.
We caught up Charlie McDonnell, Communications Officer from Active Lifestyle & Sport, to see how she has found the planning for this year's event, a run through of the events throughout the day and any exciting projects coming up within Active Lifestyle and Sport over the next couple of months.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Communications Officer for Active Lifestyle and Sport?
My name is Charlie McDonnell and I've been in the role of Communications Officer for Active Lifestyle & Sport since the beginning of January, after working as a Sport Communication Intern for just over a year here. My role encompasses all aspects of communicating our events and services to the student body, as well as the wider community, whether that is through email, social media or beautifully designed posters. I also want to ensure that we have two-way conversations with students, getting their feedback so that we can offer better services and facilities in the future.
2. You recently started in your role as Communications Officer, how are you finding the job so far?
It's been really exciting getting stuck into the Active Lifestyle & Sport team on a full-time basis. I love being able to working collaboratively with everyone in the team as well as being able to take on more responsibility for what our communications look like. I have already had the opportunity to work on big projects, such as Varsity, which has been a great challenge and taught me a lot.
3. This year’s Varsity is taking place on Wednesday 21 March, which will see Royal Holloway welcome the Surrey Stags to campus. How have you found the planning for the event?
It's been a lot of hard work but also great fun. I competed in Varsity last year as a student and thoroughly enjoyed the day, so it has been amazing to be a part of the organisation of our first home Varsity, working to ensure that the event is even better than last year's! From coming up with taglines to designing fixture schedules, it's been very busy in the office, but it's always worth it when you see everything come to fruition on the day.
4. Can you give us a run through of the day?
The first fixtures will be starting at 11am at the Sports Centre but there will be plenty of activities going on throughout the day all over campus, from the SU to Stumble Inn. We also have some fixtures taking place off campus at Strodes and Egham Leisure Centre. Check out the Varsity website or keep an eye out for fixture schedules around campus for the full list. Aside from the sports and activities there will be a great atmosphere at the Sports Centre with nearly a thousand representatives from each university coming to compete and support. You can follow all of the action on our social media channels @RHULSPORT.
5. What does a usual working day look like to you?
I'm not sure I have such a thing as a 'usual' working day as every day is different dependent on what's coming up. I have days where I focus on planning our communications for the next few weeks but I also have days where I spend my time designing and editing content. Additionally, communicating with students doesn't simply fall within the hours of 9 to 5; social media operates 24/7 so I'm always trying to monitor our channels and any incoming messages even outside of the office, to ensure we're giving the best experience possible.
6. Outside of work do you have any hobbies or interests?
Outside of work, I'm kept busy studying part time for my Masters and playing a fair amount of basketball.
7. Aside from Varsity, are there any exciting projects coming up within Active Lifestyle and Sport?
Everyone in the team is constantly coming up with great ideas for events or how we can improve our services, so there are always exciting projects on the horizon. Third term is always slightly different than the previous two terms, with less competitive sport and more exams happening on campus. Therefore, it's up to us to make sure that we are supporting students during this time whether that's through the provision of more casual sports sessions or more stress-busting exercise classes. It may sound slightly cliched but I always find it exciting to discover ways of providing a more positive experience for our members, no matter the size of the project.
8. You may have seen our latest recruitment campaign, ‘Find your why’. We are interested to find out what Royal Holloway has helped you to discover about yourself…
Royal Holloway has been part of my life for nearly four years now, both as a student and as an employee. The amount that I have learned about myself in the past four years from my Royal Holloway experience is too much to express in words but ultimately, as cliched and millennial as it may sound, I have discovered that I have a passion for people and that if I can, I would like to use my skills to make the world a slightly better place, even if just for one person.