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Salient. The Newspaper of Victoria University College. Vol. 20, No. 1. March 22, 1956

An Open Letter from Bill Landreth

An Open Letter from Bill Landreth

From time to time Salient has accorded me the opportunity of speaking to its readers through this column. I welcome this opportunity of saying: a few words to the freshers of 1956 in particular, and also to the many students who have made use of and enjoyed the facilities provided by the Physical Education Department in past years.

Most first year students will be familiar with the handbook "An Introduction to Victoria University College," in which a brief description is given of the provisions made by the college for the promotion of student health.

Since my appointment as Physical Education Officer in 1951 there has been a slow but steady increase in the number of students who have recognized that good health is a valuable asset and have taken steps to prevent the success of their studies from being nullified by poor or indifferent health.

Practically every British university and university college now has staff and facilities for physical education as a vital part of student welfare services.

Emotional Stress

In all these colleges it has been recognized that whereas physical ill-health among students is no greater than among any other comparable section of the community there is a greater incidence of emotional stress. It is generally agreed too. that this threat to the mental health of students can be dissipated by ensuring a better balance in the interests and the demands that face them in their life at college.

Recreation is not the complete answer, but rest assured that your stay at Victoria will be much more valuable to yourself and to your future occupation if your physical education has kept pace with your mental development.

Some of the factors which have contributed to the anxiety states noted among university students are lack of adequate recreation, insufficient social contact among students, overloaded syllabus, frustration and absence of tangible rewards.

Inadequate Facilities

At Victoria a beginning has been made to counteract the effects produced by lack of adequate recreation. Facilities restrict our efforts, but the future looks brighter in this respect and shortly there will be accommodation for student extra-curricular activities that should contribute much towards the general welfare.

Until the time arrives when we have adequate buildings we must make the best of the facilities that have been provided. Standards of performance in various recreational activities might suffer through lack of suitable equipment but there remains much that is worthwhile if it is the result of student effort and enthusiasm.

There are many recreational activities conducted within the college. Some are sponsored and run by students themselves and many student clubs, somewhat arbitrarily divided under the headings "Cultural" and "Sporting," have had a long and distinguished (even notorious) past. Their history reflects the efforts and achievements of past students and in many cases can be viewed with some pride. Each year, however, their existence is for a short time threatened as new students decide where their interests lie.

When large numbers of freshers give their support to none of the clubs, then the quality of our University life is weakened. The Physical Education Department has given assistance to a number of the student clubs but it is concerned with the welfare of all students and makes some attempt to meet the recreational needs of any student or group of students who seek help or advice.

500 Show Interest

This year over 500 students have indicated that they wish to attend classes conducted by this department, Many of these and probably several hundred more have joined clubs affiliated to the Students Association—but over 1000 students have no part in university life other than attendance at lectures.

To the 500 students who have enrolled in classes, may I take this opportunity of asking you to facilitate the organization of a programme by attending the first meetings of the various activities.

If you are unable to attend classes would you please let me know and every effort will be made to include another more convenient time. Watch the department's notice board (opposite the club's notice board) for information concerning classes and new activities. Come to the Gymnasium and arrange your participation. Remember, the choice is wide the classes are voluntary and it is all free,

W. H. Landreth,

Physical Education Officer.