Far right: Robin Williams, Team GB representative in Blind Football.

BUCS conference boasts record numbers

Record numbers of delegates attended the annual British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) conference held at Exeter’s Streatham campus, 10-13 July 2012.

Delegates from 130 institutions along with leaders in industry, national partners and governing bodies of sport arrived in Exeter for a packed three day programme including a broad range of speakers and seminar leaders, recreational activities (including a highly competitive Dodgeball tournament) and the annual BUCS Awards Dinner.

Highlights from the conference included keynote speeches from Karen Rothery, CEO of BUCS and Diana Soltmann, CEO at Flagship Consulting who explored the ways to effectively promote sport within universities. Professor Sir Steve Smith spoke candidly about the challenges and pressures facing Higher Education in what was described by some delegates as ‘the most interesting speech given at a BUCS conference,’  focussing on delivering an outstanding student experience against a backdrop of challenges. Breakout sessions were lively and thought-provoking with topics ranging from employability, internationalisation and sport in European and American universities.

Olympic medallist and BBC Olympic Swimming Correspondent Steve Parry hosted the Awards Dinner on the final evening of the conference, when more than 400 people attended to recognise and celebrate the best of student sport over the past twelve months. Parry was joined on stage by England Rugby legend and World Cup Winner Lewis Moody who presented the awards to the individuals and teams acknowledged for their contribution to the success of higher education sport over the past twelve months.

The University of Exeter’s Men’s Hockey 1st X1 were nominated for BUCS Team of the Year, while Mathematics PhD student Robin Williams, who will represent Team GB in Blind Football at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, was nominated for the BUCS Sportsman of the Year award. In addition, RELAYS, the joint project by eleven universities of the South West including Exeter, won the Diversity in Sport award in recognition of the 1032 sporting events delivered this year to provide playing and volunteering opportunities.

Phil Attwell, Director of Sport and Student Activity at the University of Exeter, commented “We were delighted with how well this year’s BUCS Conference went. The combination of a fantastic conference programme, excellent delivery from the Sport Office team supporting the various events, superb hospitality from the Event Exeter staff and the beautiful surroundings of the campus, meant that delegates left Exeter in high spirits.”

Date: 24 July 2012