From 2-8 July the first edition of the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy takes place in Kazan, Russia. Over 100 students, representing 91 countries, participate in a full program of panel discussions, workshops and presentations, to learn about how to be a leader in volunteer management in a sport environment.
Kazan, July 6 2017 – On day four of the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy delegates learned about volunteer management at global events. The day’s events started with a guest lecture from International Olympic Committee (IOC) expert Jenny Mann.
Now Head of Sport Partnerships and Coordination at the IOC, Mann discussed her own volunteering past, as well as the practicalities of making an event successful.
“Even as an elite junior athlete, I wasn’t just interested in athletics,” the former Australian triple jump champion said. “I was hoping to compete at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, but I got injured. I wanted to be part of the Games in my home country, so I paid my own way and volunteered in Sydney for ten weeks.”
“You can sit in an office and write every event need and have the best plan, but none of that matters unless you have the right people on the ground”, she said. “When I worked at the World Duathlon Championships, I would tell everyone the day before the event to put down the technical manuals and just know how you deal with the issues that arise, and who you would escalate them to. It’s more about the network of people than the actual run sheets.”
Hearing Mann’s remarks resonated with Jenny. She looks forward to taking what she learned in Kazan and bringing it back to the Netherlands.
‘‘It’s a great opportunity to speak to some successful people, like Jenny Mann and hear about their own experiences during their carreer in sport events. Just like me and the rest of us, most of them have done lots of volunteering, so we can learn a lot from them.’’
Mann also emphasised the importance of recognising volunteers and their talents, as well providing opportunities for development.
“We need to demonstrate the benefits of volunteering and maximise these for those that contribute. Volunteers are getting training and getting experience and this is great for the organising committee, but it must also be beneficial for the volunteers as well.”
Later in the day, a separate session on the management of volunteers at major events was co-led by Nataša Janković, a member of the Serbian Olympic Committee, and Tatiana Nikulina, who is part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee in Russia.
For Jenny this insight will be helpful with her function as a member of the national university sports association in the Netherlands, where basically all people she works with are volunteers, just like her.
‘‘We have a lot of (ideas for) projects within our organization, but it’s mostly a challenge to find motivated people who want to contribute to these projects. Learning about the management of volunteers at major sport events is a good inspiration. A lot of the knowledge we learned today we can use within our national organization’’
The first FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy 2017 international forum is hosted by the Volga State Academy of Sport and Tourism and will conclude on July 8.
More information about FISU
The International University Sports Federation – FISU
Founded in 1949, FISU stands for Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (International University Sports Federation). FISU was formed within university institutions in order to promote sports values and encourage sports practice in harmony with and complementary to the university spirit. Promoting sports values means encouraging friendship, fraternity, fair-play, perseverance, integrity and cooperation amongst students, who one day may have responsibilities and even key positions in politics, the economy, culture and industry.
Open to student-athletes aged between 17 and 25 (for events in 2016 and 2017 the upper age is still 28), FISU’s events consist of Summer and Winter Universiades and the World University Championships. Universiades are multisport events staged in odd-numbered years, while the World University Championships are single-sport events, staged in even-numbered years. Besides its sporting events, FISU stages educational events, such as the FISU Forum on University Sport, the FISU World Conference on Development through Sport, the FISU World Conference on Innovation - Education - Sport, the FISU Sport Education Summit and the FISU Seminars.
With FISU’s motto being “Excellence in Mind and Body”, all events include educational and cultural aspects, bringing together sport and academia from all over the world to celebrate in a true spirit of friendship and sportsmanship. FISU cooperates in developing its events and programmes with all major international sports and educational organisations. As major outcomes of those collaborations, in 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed the International Day of University Sport to be celebrated on 20 September, and the Anti-Doping Textbook and teaching materials were developed with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
FISU is composed of 170 Member Associations (National University Sports Federations). The FISU General Assembly elects the members of the FISU Executive Committee, its board of directors. Fourteen permanent committees advise the Executive Committee in their specialised areas. For the daily administration of FISU, the FISU Executive Committee relies on the Secretary General, who is assisted by the FISU staff. FISU’s headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland.
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