Student Orienteering Off To A Good Start In 2022
It has been an exciting few weeks for the University Orienteering Clubs as the academic year begins. The academic year kicks off with freshers week and each institution hosts a freshers fair for clubs and societies to gain new members. Freshers week provides students the opportunity to find their feet and try out new sports and activities before the grind of the semester begins. This is a fantastic opportunity to engage people in orienteering.
We currently have four Scottish University Clubs; Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling. This is a particularly exciting time as both Glasgow and Stirling clubs are relaunching for the first time since the pandemic. Lets see what our University Clubs have been up to.
Edinburgh is the largest University Orienteering Club in the UK and are the reigning 2022 BUCS (British University and Colleges Sport) Champions. They also won British Orienteering Club and University Club of the Year 2021. Edinburgh University definitely hold a history of high performance but are also welcoming to new members.
Edinburgh University held two taster sessions, a social and a hill race in collaboration with the Hares and Hounds University Running Club. The taster sessions consisted of a map walk for beginners and a maze course on the Meadows in Central Edinburgh. This was attended by students who had never orienteered before. Many of these students continued attending training sessions after freshers week.
Edinburgh received a lot of engagement over Facebook and Instagram during freshers week. This interest has translated into members with 8 newcomers signing up for their first weekend away. Edinburgh were well organised with plans to attend the SOL at Anagach as a first University outing.
Aberdeen is a small (but growing!) University Club which was re-established in 2011. Since then the club has consistently been active even during the pandemic. They have a well established connection with GRAMP which helps them with technical development and allows them to attend regular local events. A partnership which has proved very helpful to sustaining the club.
The club hosted a ‘give-it-a-go’ session in Seton Park next to the University Hall. Newcomers and more experienced orienteers could try out a variety of courses. This was well attended.
Aberdeen held an EGM at the start of the semester as they had space on their committee for a coach. This role was filled by an experienced fresher, alongside the new role of Social and Wellbeing Officer. In the past Aberdeen didn’t have the capacity to hold technical sessions but with more experienced orienteers in the club they are now able to have technical training sessions each week.
Glasgow has relaunched with a bang this semester! Glasgow have been hosting taster sessions over a two week period including orienteering and hill running sessions. These have been very successful.
Glasgow have been making the club as accessible and inclusive as possible. This approach appears to have worked recruiting 25 members in the first 2 weeks. This is fantastic, particularly for such a new club. Glasgow have also gained a strong social media following and are very active on Instagram.
Glasgow have a busy upcoming semester and are currently planning a weekend away up North alongside Aberdeen to attend the Loch Vaa (INT) and Creag Dhubh (BASOC) events. Good luck to all the GUOC students at these events.
Stirling University Orienteering Club are also relaunching this semester for the first time since the pandemic with a fresh committee made up of first and second year students.
At the freshers fair there were lots of students interested in coming along to the ‘give-it-a-go’ sessions later in the week. These sessions included 2 taster orienteering sessions on campus and going along to Forth Valleys Orienteering Clubs Urban Sprint event in Hallglen. These were well attended.
To become an official sports club at Stirling University a sports club needs to recruit ten members. As a committee of four the club needed to recruit six new members. Stirling successfully managed to recruit the six members they needed and are now an affiliated club at the University.
Stirling are our reigning Scottish Student Champions and will attend the Scottish Student Championships again this year in November in a bid to defend their title.
The Oncoming Academic Year
Our University Clubs are currently in a good place going into the oncoming academic year. The two biggest events in the Scottish student calendar are the Scottish Student Championships and BUCS. The Scottish Student Championships was previously known as the Scottish University Championships. The event is now open to college students to compete for their institution. The SOA are working in partnership with Scottish Student Sport to affiliate as a recognised sport and event with a long term view to increase the presence of orienteering within Scottish student sport. We have even secured a new sponsor for the Scottish Student Orienteering Championships but more on that later!
Scottish Orienteering are very keen to help support and grow interest in the sport within Higher and Further Education. We have seen first hand the impact that University clubs can bring to providing an entry route into our sport, making new friends and enjoying orienteering. By supporting University clubs we hold that door open wider. Over the next few years we hope to help develop the clubs we presently have and support new clubs in establishing.
If you are interested in starting a orienteering club at your University or College please contact email@example.com