For the 2017/2018 season, the year of hard work had started early, even before the end of summer. A fresh-faced committee were voted in and with a lot of new members taking up the roles of responsibility, there was a massive learning curve needed for it to be successful. However the huge enthusiasm shown by each member made it clear from the very beginning that this year would be our most successful yet. From the get-go, this new committee found a common goal; to ensure the previous years of effort from countless dedicated Alumni, were all worthwhile through establishing DUBC as one of, if not the best, sports club in Dundee.
When September landed, we had our returning members back to training through Warm Up Week, which was followed by our 'Give-it-a-Go' sessions, with record numbers of new members turning up to see what rowing at Dundee could offer them. We recruited freshers who, although we didn’t know it yet, would go on to shape our season and become central figureheads in the club. This is evident both in how integrated they became within our family, and in their competitive results over the year. Not only have our freshers seen impressive results in all levels of competition, our senior squad has seen results that are possibly the best the club has ever seen in its twenty-seven-year history. They are by far the complete opposite to when I joined the club a few years ago. It has transformed from a club that was surviving, to a club that is thriving. This is due in no small part to the work of our coaches, captains and committees. Their commitment, knowledge and passion has led to a surge in success for us. A huge thanks goes to everyone of them, and a special mention goes to the force that is Eleanor Brinkhoff, our Club Captain, who was justly awarded the Student Coach of the Year within the Dundee University Sports Union, for her work this year in leading this team, and the club, to victory.
As well as a push for competitive success, there was also a push this year to gain crucial funds for the club, and build up our external image, to widen our reach both for recruiting further members and to make ourselves known within our community. Amongst other efforts, our inaugural Fundraising Ceilidh was masterminded by Hannah Campbell, our Fresher Convenor at the time and our new Club Captain for the upcoming year. All in all, we managed to raise a whopping £1500 for the club and created a night to remember, which is sure to be repeated in 2019. Hannah was not just the drive behind this though, she personally researched, applied for and was successful in gaining the club £4000 in grant funding, from the generous Lethendy Trust and the charitable DC Thomson Trust. These desperately needed funds in being spent on crucial equipment, have helped to ensure the club's sustainability in the years to come.
Prior to this year our external image and social media presence was already at a very high standard, however this was taken to the next level by Matt Simpson, our Social Convenor at the time and new Sponsorship & PR Convenor next year. Matt’s pinnacle was his BUCS photos of each of our crews attending the Head Race this year. He managed to promote each person and crew in turn to all our followers, whilst creating an even closer bond within the club who all felt proud to be on his post and a member of DUBC. This, along with his other posts throughout the year, such as his tribute to the women in the club that hold us together, on International Women's Day, makes it clear that we are in good hands for things to come next season.
All these things together took our club to new heights, with the club succeeding in its goal of winning the Sports Union Club of the Year. It’s something we wanted since day one, and winning this was a testament to the effort of not just each committee member, but each individual member of the club. I feel such pride to have been part of this amazing team that was so deserving in this recognition. Everything this year has been better than the last, and we want this high standard to continue. Moving forward, I know our new committee feel the pressure in matching this past year, but equally I have every confidence that they will actually raise the bar and create even more success. Whilst being more challenging than I could have ever expected, I have thoroughly enjoyed serving this club as it's leader, and wish our new President Eleanor Pandya all the best as she steps up to lead the club into the new season.