Raising the level of general student physical activity is a key element of the new Strategic Plan to 2020 launched yesterday by Student Sport Ireland.
The new plan builds on the significant development undertaken by the organisation in recent years and the recommendations of the Student Activity and Sports Study Ireland research carried out in 2016.
This was the largest all Ireland research project on third level student participation and physical activity. It surveyed 9,000 students and revealed that while 64 per cent considered themselves to be highly active, only one in seven were members of a sports club.
The top 5 participation sports in and out of college are Exercise (i.e. cardio classes, weight training, circuit training and exercise to music), Gaelic Football, Soccer, Running and Walking.
The document published yesterday sets out four pillars by which progress will be measured. These include High Performance, Sports Clubs and Areas of Finance and Governance and each is broken down into manageable and measurable objectives.
Within the area of partnership, one of those is to “Consider, identify and secure sustainable partnership opportunities which will deliver 10 per cent per annum over the life of the strategy in additional funding to ensure growth and development of the organisation in setting out its ambition to increase student participation.”
“In developing the new strategic plan, SSI recognises the changing landscape of student sport to include alongside the highly successful intercollegiate and international dimension initiatives to increase physical activity participation amongst the student population as a priority for our organisation,” said Student Sport Ireland Chairperson Carmel Lynch.
“Aligning our strategy with Healthy Ireland – Get Ireland Active 2016 and Sport Northern Ireland’s Sport Matters strategic objectives, and working in partnership with key stakeholders will be the main principle which will guide SSI during the lifetime of the strategic plan.”
“With the support of the Governing Bodies SSI is committed to working with individual colleges in supporting an all- encompassing holistic approach to increased physical activity initiatives across the third level sector”.
“We have already seen significant progression over the course of the previous strategic period and I have no doubt that Student Sport Ireland, with the hard work and support of its members, will go from strength to strength over the life cycle of this strategy,” said John Treacy, CEO of Sport Ireland.
“I particularly endorse the increased prominence that has been given to women and girls within the Strategy and appreciate the commitment of Student Sport Ireland to increase opportunities for women and girls in third level education,” added Sport Northern Ireland Policy, Planning and Research Manager Dr Paul Donnelly.
“In setting about its work the group responsible for this plan consulted extensively both internally with its own members and also colleagues across the sport and physical activity sector within Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and the national governing bodies of sport,” said UCD Director of Health Promotion Brian Mullins.
“This initial piece of work subsequently guided the group in its deliberations and framed the drafting of the new plan. SSI has a proven track record in the delivery of programmes that provides students the opportunity to compete at intercollegiate and international competitions. The central focus of the new strategic plan is that SSI is now committed to aligning its aims and objectives with those of its partner organisations ‘To get more people more active more often’.”
Trinity College, UCD, Ulster University, Griffith College Dublin, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Sport Ireland are among the more than 220 organisations that play an active part of the Sport for Business community.