Sam Duda: how we got badminton back on track

Sam has recently graduated from a BA(Hons) Accounting & Finance degree at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been a constant figure driving the Badminton Club forward! Sam has been a fantastic sports volunteer over the past couple of years.

We spoke to Sam about his experiences and what winning this award meant to him!

What volunteering activities have you been involved in since September 2015?
Since September I have been the Chairman, Coach Liaison and Health & Safety Officer of the MMU Badminton Club.

Why did you initially get involved in volunteering at MMU sport? What were your motivations?

At the end of last year, the Badminton Club was under threat of losing the majority of its members. I wanted to prevent that and make a difference for all players. I believed a change of structure and objectives was needed through planning and deliverance in order to meet the needs of all players Sam Duda 1(competitive, semi-competitive and social) and provide them with a lasting experience they could not forget.

I also wanted to get involved with disability sport having previously worked closely with the Young Carers programme and give something back to them.

What have you gained from volunteering at MMU?

My leadership, planning and time management skills have been put under pressure and have developed significantly. Working with different levels of seniority and departments has increase my confidence when approaching individuals for support and guidance as well as pitching my ideas and strategies. This is highlighted the importance of good communication and teamwork.

I have a greater understanding of the level of effort and processes needed to continuously run a Sports club at the University as well as how to make sport more inclusive for everyone by considering their needs.

Has there been a stand-out event / moment from the year?

Since the team and social players were split for performance purposes, one of the objectives this year was to integrate both groups of players on a social basis. In light of this, I organised a social trip to the Yonex All England Badminton Championships in March 2016. After a number of issues occurred, myself and 19 individuals made it to the event, had a great time as well as witnessing world-class badminton and made it back safely. Sam Duda 2
The event proved that although there were some large obstacles and unforeseeable issues before and during the event, I was still able to integrate both team and social players. It was great to see so many happy faces and they were very thankful for the opportunity when we arrived back in Manchester.

What would say to someone who is thinking about volunteering?

Definitely do it! You can learn so much and achieve great things! It broadens your mind-set and opens your eyes to other experiences. You also have ability to give something back to the Community/ University and make a difference!
University can be a scary place for students and your efforts can affect an individual’s experience in a positive manner.

Remember: Employers look for other qualities as well as grades.

What does winning this award mean to you and how will it help you in the future?

Winning this award has shown me that hard work and dedication is noticed and appreciated. I now feel more driven to invest my efforts into future projects within the community and my career – knowing that my commitment is highly valued.

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