Georgie Milner Day is a third year Human Sciences student at St Hugh’s College and this year's Inclusion Officer within the University's Sports Council. In this Student Spotlight, Georgie talks about her enthusiasm for sport, and how she is working to ensure no one is excluded from opportunities to take part.
The journey so far
My name is Georgie Milner Day (she/her), and I am a third year Human Sciences student at St Hugh’s College. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Oxford so far and I am looking forward to what will hopefully be a less disrupted final year.
Sport has always been an important part of my life. Indeed, when I was less than six-months-old my mum enrolled us in the parent and baby swimming class, and I have not stopped swimming since.
I have swum all year round in water temperatures as low as 2°C – yes, I am one of those people you may have seen swimming in Port Meadow in the depths of winter! Whilst studying at Oxford, I have been a member of both the Triathlon club (OUTriC) and the Swimming club (OUSC).
Improving inclusion for all
In Trinity 2021, I joined the OUSC committee as the Open Water Captain and, on account of my enthusiasm to improve inclusivity within the club, the President suggested I apply for the role of Inclusion Officer within the Sports Council.
I feel so grateful to have been accepted for this role, and for the opportunity to carry out meaningful work at the intersection of two of my passions: sport and advocating for improved inclusivity and representation. Being involved in sport at Oxford has been a great opportunity to meet friends, push myself physically and maintain my mental wellbeing. Therefore, it is really important to me that others are not excluded from this opportunity.
As part of my role as Inclusion Officer I have set out three goals that I will focus on over the coming year.
1. Oxford Against Sexual Violence
My first goal is to work alongside the Welfare Officer (Sarah Chapman) and Atlanta’s Society on the ‘Oxford Against Sexual Violence’ campaign. In particular, I will aim to create a consistent system of reporting across sports clubs, so that everyone is able to access high-quality support and to facilitate increased accountability.
In addition, I will encourage committees to make changes to their constitutions to include a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy of discrimination, promote participation in consent and bystander workshops, and ensure there is up-to-date signage in sport facilities and changing areas highlighting acceptable behaviour and advertising access to support.
2. LGBTQ+ community engagement
My second goal is to improve LGBTQ+ inclusivity and representation by facilitating networking between LGBTQ+ members of sports clubs and reducing barriers to the participation of trans, non-binary and gender-diverse athletes in clubs and competitions.
3. Improving disabled access
I also hope to improve disabled access to sports clubs, by introducing channels through which disabled students can make clubs aware of barriers to their participation and establishing an effective means of inter-club communication to ensure these barriers are known and tackled across sports clubs.
Alongside these goals, the Inclusion and Access Network will provide a great platform for hearing and acting on the suggestions of other students who are interested in improving the inclusivity and accessibility of Oxford sport.
Getting through the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted both my studies and my mental wellbeing.
The friendships I had established prior to the pandemic, including those I made through my involvement in sport, have been hugely important during this time.
In addition, I feel incredibly grateful and privileged that, when I am not in Oxford, I live with my family in Greater Manchester, on the edge of the Peak District; having the opportunity to wild swim in the reservoir nearby and run in the hills made studying from home during the pandemic and not being able to see friends in person much more manageable.
While opportunities to compete have been limited by COVID restrictions, this summer I travelled up to Scotland to take part in the Loch Lomond SwimRun – it was so amazing to experience the thrill of a mass race start again, and to compete in such a beautiful location!
Looking to the future
If anyone is keen to join the network, or has any advice on how to make sport spaces more inclusive, please send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!
If you would like to join the Inclusion & Access Sport Network, please complete this form to sign up.
To share your own experience of student life at Oxford, email firstname.lastname@example.org