Sport has a special significance for the University through the performance of sporting clubs, teams and high profile athletes that enhance the reputation of the University. The vision for sport is that the University of Melbourne is the leading Australian university in sporting performance, participation and quality of facilities.
MU Sport provides professional management of the fitness, sports and recreation facilities, programmes and activities of the University and works closely with all stakeholders and external strategic partners in delivering sport and physical recreation opportunities for the University community in accordance with strategic and operational plans.
MU Sport is responsible for:
- The Sport Capital Improvement Plan for the development of campus and off-campus facilities and manages all University sporting facilities in particular the University Recreation Reserve, the Ski Lodge at Mt Buller and the Boat House on the Yarra River.
- Provision of fitness and recreation services and programmes including fitness assessments, personal training, group fitness, physiotherapy and sports massage, support for instructional and recreational club activity, short courses and trips and tours.
- Provision of sporting opportunities including supporting teams and individual students to compete in regional, national and international student competitions including the Varsity Challenge and Uni Nationals, the strategic development and operations of the competitive sporting clubs, professional management and promotion of lunchtime and college sport competitions and support for elite level student athletes with the High Performance Sport Program and the provision of sporting scholarships.
- Ensuring the marketing and branding of sport to support student recruitment activity and support the engagement of the alumni with University sport programmes and advancement activity.
- Representing the University on matters pertaining to sport and physical recreation to local, state and federal government, UniSport Australia, sporting bodies and related professional organisations.
MU Sport Responds to Strategy 2030
Following conclusion of the Growing Esteem strategic phase, the University has begun development of the next organisational-wide strategy – Strategy 2030. In early September, the discussion paper was distributed internally which proposed a new strategic framework focused on the key themes: Students and Education, Basic Research and its Translation, Global Leadership, Place and People, Diversity and Inclusion.
MU Sport has engaged in the consultation process and provided Strategy, Planning and Performance feedback on how our organisation currently engages with the key themes raised in the paper. This includes through our work to enhance the co-curricular student experience through sport and offer the largest single co-curricular activity at the University, with over 18,000 students utilising our programs and facilities annually.
We have also recently made great strides in engaging many of the most vulnerable and isolated students through a range of initiatives such as the Water Safety program, Strong Women program, the Indigenous Sport program and the Pride and Diversity program. As part of this, we are embedding inclusive practices across the organisation with the introduction of our Indigenous Engagement Framework and LBGTQIA+ Inclusion policy.
We will periodically update Sport stakeholders on the University’s strategy development process. It is anticipated that the final strategy paper will be released in December of this year.
University Develops Estates Plan for Future Facility Development
The University has developed an Estates Plan that will guide the decision making on campus development and building projects into the future. MU Sport has been engaged in the consultation process to address the urgent requirement for new and upgraded facilities and securing longer-term access to local community facilities.
Pleasingly the Estates Plan contains a comprehensive overview of sporting facilities and future opportunities at the university largely drawn from the Strategic Plan for Sport and the earlier Sport Capital Improvement Plan. The Estates Plan has not been released broadly but the Guiding our Estate has listed MU Sport as one of eleven themes which then informed the development of eight Campus Experience Standards that include sport, recreation and leisure options that support health and wellbeing. The Estates Plan Implementation Team is currently undertaking benchmarking of comparable university-based sports facilities and were recently taken on a tour of the University sport facilities, including external facilities at Princes and Royal Park and the State Netball and Hockey Centre, by MU Sport staff.
At this stage we are unsure if the Estate Plan will ultimately impact positively on future sport development but are heartened that the process has provided an opportunity to state the case for sport. We will provide regularly updates on relevant issues from the Estates Planning Group and consult with all stakeholders on the development of a new Sport Capital Plan and to ensure that there are a range of shovel ready projects for future consideration.
Student Services and Amenities Fee
Melbourne University Sport (MU Sport) provides a range of fitness, sports and recreation facilities and programs, and supports the sporting clubs, teams and student athletes through partial Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) funding. The SSAF fee is currently $286 for a full-time student, and the funds ($12M total) are distributed to a range of student organisations and University departments, including MU Sport, to provide a variety of services and facilities.
MU Sport receives approximately 19% of the total SSAF funds collected (see note on allocation below), with the student participation fees and external income making up the majority of funds required to provide sporting programs and services. Although participant fees for sport activities and access to facilities for students has been reduced since the introduction of the SSAF, they have not been eliminated entirely. Sport remains one of the few services that students are still required to pay an additional fee to access. Overall student participation in Sport at the University continues to increase, but unfortunately the additional cost for international students and other groups and individuals remains a significant hurdle.
It is important that the current level of funding is maintained. More importantly, an increase to SSAF or other University financial support would enable fees to be reduced, which would provide access for more students, add support for sporting clubs, teams and athletes, and provide further improvements in the range and quality of programs and sporting facilities. For specific details on how Sport has utilised the SSAF click here.
Click here for more information about the SSAF.