Getting into sports isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s too costly, other times you might just not feel like participating with people who seem to know a lot about what they’re doing. Fear not, for that’s where Active Students comes in: a sports program designed with these people in mind. Want to attend tennis one day, but can’t make it to the other? No problem. Want to try some football, but realise you’re a bit strapped for cash? No problem, either! Active Students is a brilliant program designed to help encourage non-sporty or semi-sporty students to participate in some good old exercise, with no commitment, no costs and no signing up; just attend as and when needed.
To learn a little bit more about this The Trident spoke to Alice Horton, the Senior Sports Development Officer at Active Students, who gave us some insight into what the program has to offer.
What’s your role with Active Students?
My name’s Alice, and I oversee the Active Students program, in terms of operations and overseeing our ‘Activators’, and trying to engage more students in engaging in sports activities.
Is Active Students a university-led project?
Yes, it’s run by the Hertfordshire Sports Village, and funded by the University of Hertfordshire, and the Vice Chancellor’s Executive Group; they allocate money to us at the beginning of the year to help engage non-sporty and semi-sporty students, so we run about 75 hours a week of physical activities.
What is Active Students?
Our slogan is ‘No sign-up, no commitment, no cost’, and does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s all completely free, and we run a variety of physical activities from your traditional football, netball and rugby all the way to self-defense, Tai Chi, rollerskating, yoga, and everything in between. It’s not competitive, and we base it on being social and having fun; it’s for all levels, especially beginners.
How do students typically respond to it?
Very well. The fact that it’s free help, but it’s really accessible as we run sessions seven days a week, in the evenings, lunchtimes, afternoons across both campuses, so there’s usually a time to suit everyone. A lot of our sessions happen at the Oval Flexible Space, the Oval 3G pitches, and the Oval multi-use games area, and lots of things happen at the Sports Village. Some sessions happen in classrooms, too.
What was the incentive to create Active Students?
It’s been running for six years, and the aim was to try and engage with non-sporty and semi-sporty students and provide them an opportunity to try sports and take a break from studies, de-stress; especially, as a lot of research shows that participating in sport helps mental health, physical wellbeing. We remove barriers like cost, to really try and improve the student experience at our university.
How can students go about signing up for Active Student sessions?
There’s no need to physically sign up, just Like us on Facebook to get plenty of information there, but all you need to do is go to our website which will show you the timetable. You might go on in the morning and see there’s a badminton session at 11 am, and you can just turn up to the facility, making sure you’ve brought your student ID card and you can turn up to what you want whenever you want.
What’s your personal favourite activity that Active Student offers?
Rollerskating is a good one, and I’ve been to a couple of the boxing sessions which are a lot of fun. Students are often drawn to football, but our palate and yoga sessions are really popular.
If I’m apprehensive about coming along, maybe I’m not that sporty or maybe I’m not really into social gatherings, what do you recommend?
Great question. First of all, you don’t need to worry about it: you can email or send a message to our Activators on Facebook, students that are employed with us, who are at every session. If you let them know of your apprehension, you can ask them any questions you want, and maybe meet with you before you attend a session so we can remove any worries.
Active Students will run events from time to time, including its upcoming Christmas Bash and Rollerdisco, two events that’ll surely get you into the festive spirit with mince pies, mulled wine and all equipment provided. The Rollerdisco will cost £3 a ticket, but that will include free food!