Hosting An Online AGM: Blog Takeover with UBWRFC Captain, Frankie

COVID-19 can be seen everywhere in the news today, in fact it’s almost impossible to open up social media without seeing an article about it. However, at UBWRFC (Women’s Rugby), we didn’t let the fact our members are all hundreds of miles apart get in the way of everyone’s highlight of the year – the AGM.

The aim of our AGM was to make the best out of a bad situation and to ensure newly elected committee don’t miss out on the experience of this important event in our club calendar.

I hope to share with you some tips to ensure every club is able to host a successful, fair but most importantly inclusive, virtual, AGM for their whole club.

Our AGM

  • 65+ members voting
  • 70+ people watching along
  • 11 newly elected committee members
  • Accessible to both members and coaches

Our Tips

Choose an appropriate media platform!

As silly as it sounds, the choice of platform you decide to host your AGM on can really detract or enhance everyone’s experience. An application such as house party is in accessible to a lot of members and quite frankly rather messy-especially for a group of rugby girls. Our solution was to use Facebook live stream as we were able to broadcast the event to everyone without having to make a new group, ensuring everyone was included…coaches too!

Keep it as true to a real AGM as possible

Admittedly this years’ AGM aren’t exactly going to be the same as normal, however by making it as realistic as possible makes the night seem as if it is no different. In our AGM we included speech videos to watch together and live facetime calls to record the newly elected committees’ reaction of the best moment of their life. Additional to this, we had a committee stick man drawing in the background, so that as people were elected their paper faces were moved up, gradually forming the committee as the meeting went along-this even made a new committee picture possible. Play about with this, plus it makes the night more memorable.

Keep everyone involved

As well as live facetimes on the night, club members were also able to comment along and express their thoughts and feelings throughout the night making sure everyone was included.

Be prepared

Even on a regular AGM night, there is bound to be an unexpected curve ball that needs to be dealt with. In our case, a vacant committee position was opened up on the night and people put themselves forward for the position. Ensure you have the ability to deal with situations like this, i.e. be able to make a voting medium quickly to cater for these changes.

Let’s just say these alternative, virtual AGM events will be remembered by club members for years to come but remembered as an event that continued to unify the club even during the craziest time of our lives!

Student Spotlight: Astrid Blee (Bristol Uni Run Leader)

At Bristol Uni Sport we’re expanding our community of student and staff Run Leaders! Whether you’re a cross-country superstar, or total beginner, it doesn’t matter – we’re simply looking for enthusiastic, community-minded individuals to get involved and support your peers in keeping active this year.

Astrid, Bristol Uni PG: Run Club leader


Astrid Blee is a third-year PhD student in the School of Physics, but in her spare time she also is a Bristol Uni Run Leader. We spoke to Astrid about her experiences as a Bristol Uni Run Leader over the past 12-months, and why she thinks that you should get involved this year!

Astrid’s Run Leader journey started out when she discovered how running with other people can make the experience more enjoyable.

“I’ve always run by myself, but after trying a couple of runs with a friend of mine, I discovered that running with other people is actually good fun!”

The comradery that came with running as part of a group inspired Astrid to set up her own running group.  She thought setting up a running group would be a good way to meet new people and have fun being active together. 

“I was delighted to find out that at the same time, the university was offering the LIRF (Leadership in running Fitness) training.”

The Leadership in Running Fitness (LIRF) training is an official qualification led by England Athletics and is designed to prepare you to provide a safe and enjoyable running experience for young people over 12 years of age and adults of any ability, size or shape. Astrid applied for a place on the LIRF course, offered to prospective Bristol Uni Run Leaders for FREE by Bristol Uni Sport.  

Astrid has now been leading PG: Run Club for almost a year, and told us that the LIRF training offered by Bristol Uni Sport was really beneficial and a huge help in getting her group ‘up and running’! 

“[The LIRF training] was really good fun, and very informative – I felt really reassured.  …it’s definitely helped me with planning PG: Run Club

Astrid also takes PG: Run to Parkrun some weeks too!

And, whilst Astrid was running fairly regularly before she signed up to become a Bristol Uni Run Leader, we’re encouraging everyone from the runner-bean to running-novice to get involved with this opportunity to give something back to the #WeAreBristol community! Astrid agrees; “Some awareness of the difficulties of long distance running/training is pretty useful, [but] you definitely don’t need to be an advanced to runner to be a running leader”.

Becoming a Run Leader is a unique way to get active, get social and give back to the #WeAreBristol community. Astrid highlighted how rewarding the Run Leader role can be both personally, and as being part of a community that you have helped to build;

“I have loved getting to know people I’d have absolutely no interaction with otherwise – I’ve met lots of post-grads and definitely made new friends!

It’s really satisfying to see other people’s progress as well as your own. The beginners group that I’ve been leading for about a month now have already made great steps towards running a continuous 5K (our soft goal!), which I’m really proud of.

The Run Leader role is open to staff and students, with Run Leader training taking place in December 2019 at the Coombe Dingle Sports Complex.

Astrid’s top tip before you sign-up? Don’t fret: it’s really easy to build up your own skills as well as helping others to develop. 

Click here to express your interest in joining the Run Leader team!  

If you’re a post-grad looking for a group of friendly faces to stay active with, why not join Astrid on their next run? Visit their Facebook page for all the details.

For more information about the role, email john.wilford@bristol.ac.uk.

Get Active To Reduce Stress (Plus 7 More Top Tips)

Monday 4 – Friday 8 November 2019 is #InternationalStressAwarenessWeek. Stress is something that gets talked about a lot day-to-day but is commonly misunderstood. It’s normal to hear friends, peers and colleagues tell you that they are “feeling a bit stressed, but it’s okay”. Stress has become normalised in society and has both negative and positive impacts on the human experience. It is important for us all to understand the impact of stress in our own lives, and also how we can better manage any negative consequences that may arise.

One step that we can all take to reduce negative stress is to factor daily movement into our everyday lives. It is by far one of the most under-utilised stress-busting tools and we have lots of ways to help you stay active on campus this year! For more information about how Bristol Uni Sport can help, visit our website to see all the opportunities available.


What is stress?

Stress is the feeling we experience when: “Demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilise.” (Stress Management Society)

In other words, when lots of tasks pile up, or we perceive there to be a high level of expectation upon us that we are unable to cope with, we feel stressed.

It can be argued that a small amount of short-term stress can be a good thing. Short-term stress is sometimes referred to as the ‘Fight or Flight’ response which, bad in the day, would have ensured we escaped or fought off predators. However, these ‘predators’ now take the shape of deadlines or exams. Whilst in the short-term a small amount of stress might help you meet that looming deadline, to be in a state of stress for long periods of time can be detrimental to our overall physical and mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.


How to tell if you’re stressed

Signs and symptoms of stress can be physical, emotional, psychological, or behavioural. Only you will know how you are truly feeling, but you may find others who are close to you making comments that you seem ‘not yourself’ and these could be indicators that you are suffering from stress.

Examples of symptoms include; lack of concentration, excessive worrying, reduced confidence in your abilities, irritability, tearfulness or anger, weight-loss or weight-gain, aches and pains, greater susceptibility to illnesses like colds and the flu, increased intake of alcohol, and insomnia (Stress Management Society).


The Stress Bucket analogy
The Stress Bucket

Sometimes it is difficult to identify what is causing you to feel stressed on any given day, particularly if there you don’t feel there are any ‘big problems’ causing you to feel the way you do. The analogy of the stress bucket can help yo explain these unexpected feeling of stress and being overwhelmed.

Imagine all of the tasks, priorities, commitments and expectations you have to deal with day-to-day are pebbles being put into a bucket. Some are bigger than others and take up more space, for example maintaining healthy relationships with your friends and family whilst you’re busy. Some might be smaller, such as remembering to pack lunch for the next day.

If your stress bucket gets too full, it only takes one of these small pebbles (maybe you burned your toast at breakfast) to make the bucket spill over. This leads to you feeling overwhelmed and stressed, even though on another day you may have handled the same situation perfectly well.


Tips for Managing Stress

Stress management tools are habits or practices that you can implement in your every-day life to help drain your stress bucket, and stop it from getting too full. Our top tips are below, but there are lots more that you can discover for yourself.

  1. Get Active
    Exercise and physical movement released endorphins, or ‘happy hormones’ into your body! But it doesn’t have to be a hard-core gym session or tough sport – a 10 minute walk can be enough to boost your energy, clear your head and lift your mood (Active 10).
  2. Rest and Recovery
    Are you getting enough sleep? The average adult needs 7-9 hours per night to function optimally (Sleep Council). It may mean making some short-term sacrifices to your evening social plans, but concentrating on getting some decent shut-eye will benefit you hugely in the long-run.
  3. Nutrition
    Making sure you are eating a balanced diet can have a hugely positive impact on your overall wellbeing. Small things you can focus on are: getting a minimum of 5 fruits and veggie per day, drinking 2L of water, ensuring a mix of carbs, fats and proteins are included in every meal and cutting back on caffeine in the afternoons.
  4. Work/Life Balance
    Too much time at the pub and not enough time in the library can of course cause us to feel stressed about the amount of work that can pile up. But spending too much time in the library and not enough time with friends can be just as impactful. Find the balance that works for you to make sure you’re giving enough time to both.
  5. Practice Mindfulness
    Mindfulness doesn’t have to mean ‘meditation’ – we know that’s not for everyone. Mindfulness can be an activity that means you’re focused on the ‘here and now’ rather than past, present or future worries. Have a cup of tea, go for a walk or a run, or write a to-do list – it will all help.
  6. Digital Detox
    We’re all guilty of falling into a ‘scroll-hole’ when we should actually be focusing on work. Studies show even having your phone in the same room whilst you work can lower your problem-solving IQ (University of Texas)! Try 30 minutes of phone-free studying to get some focus back.
  7. Build Resilience
    Resilience isn’t just “toughen up and carry on”. Resilience is our ability to ‘bounce back’ from tough times and implement strategies based on past experience. It’s a skill that can be learned and developed – Off The Record have an online ‘Resilience Lab’ that can help you.
  8. Open Up
    Don’t suffer in silence, talk to someone. There are lots of places you can turn for support whilst at University, from friends, family, flatmates and course-mates, to more professional spaces such as Student Wellbeing Services.
Resources

International Stress Management Association: https://isma.org.uk/nsad-free-downloads
Student Wellbeing Service: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/
Off The Record Resilience Lab: https://www.otrbristol.org.uk/the-resilience-lab/
Stress Management Society – Understanding Stress: https://www.stress.org.uk/how-stress-affects-your-body/
The Sleep Council: https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/how-much-sleep-do-we-need/
University of Austin, Texas: “The Mere Presence of Your Smartphone Reduces Brain Power”: https://news.utexas.edu/2017/06/26/the-mere-presence-of-your-smartphone-reduces-brain-power/
It’s Time To Log Off: https://www.itstimetologoff.com/