Get to know… Dan Sayer

Published on 25 August 2021

Dan Sayer, Sports Union President for 2020-21 and recent Urban Planning graduate shares with us his experience as President and the impact of sports on his University journey.

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Student life

Why Dundee?

I am originally from Derby, but I chose the University of Dundee because I loved the campus when I visited. Everything is so close, including the accommodation on campus. My dad also lives across the river in Tayport which also made the decision easy for me.

How would you describe your University experience?

Amazing! To be honest, my first semester was a little tough, and I struggled to settle down. But my dad encouraged me to look forward to something new to enjoy every week. This usually included the ski club which kept me going as I was meeting new people. The ski club was a supportive community for me which added to my positive University experience. I found University fun after that and the University has provided me with so many amazing experiences I never thought I'd have.  I've travelled with the ski club across Europe, and I did study abroad in China which was great. I love the community feel in Dundee and how friendly everyone is.

What is your favourite place in Dundee?

My favourite place in the whole world is Tinsmith’s – a bar just off-campus. For me it holds a lot of good memories. It is where ski club socials were held. I also studied there a lot!

Sports clubs

What sports did you play?

I was involved in skiing, snowboarding and shinty a little bit. This year covid restrictions meant we couldn't drive to any dryslopes, so to stay active I joined the tennis club.  My favourite sport is still snowboarding though.

How did the Sports Union impact your University experience?

For me the Sport Union highlighted the importance of being outside of my comfort zone. I think being in a sports club committee is one of the best experiences at University as it helps develop a lot of skills and helps you learn lots of things. Being involved in sports clubs helped me build a community of support which positively impacted my University experience.

Dan Sayer in sports union robes stands in the Geddes Quadrangle


What inspired you to become Sports Union President?

For me it felt like a natural progression from already being the President of the ski club at the time. I loved my time on the Ski Club Committee and I saw lots of similarities between my Club President role and the Sports Union Presidency role. The Sports Union Presidency allowed me to apply all the experience and interest I had with the ski club to all sports, which is what I wanted.

What was your role as the Sports Union president?

My role was to be the face of the Sports Union at external sports bodies. I was an advocate for representing students views, needs, wants and opinions when it came to sports.

How did you find your role during the pandemic?

It was challenging because I started my presidency in July 2020 when there was a big question mark around sport and what students could do during lockdown restrictions and the pandemic. Since a number of things couldn’t go ahead in person, the traditional way of doing things went out the window and we had to create new plans completely from scratch.

For me the key was to support students and provide outlets for mental health through physical activity. Three key words that I focused on were: ‘innovation’, ‘resilience’, and ‘positivity’. We had to think outside the box and keep a positive mindset throughout the year. Through the challenges we still managed to have over 1200 sport sessions which highlights our resilience. We also used technology much more than in previous years, we developed our online presence and delivered traditional in person events such as Sports Fair online. The developments from this year enable the Sports Union to do more things like this in the future to engage with more members of the university community.

What did you enjoy about your role?

I enjoyed engaging with club committees, and hearing positive feedback made it worthwhile.  I also enjoyed ‘Campus Sport’ as it was a highlight during the pandemic when many of us were remaining in our houses. Playing rounders on Friday night and making friends was great for my mental health and wellbeing as well.

How do you think your presidency has made a difference for students?

Through the pandemic, the Sports Union has provided activities to help students with staying active and staying mentally healthy in a covid safe environment. Our clubs have provided activity that has made a difference to students as well as the wider Dundee community. For future students, new resources have been developed online to make meetings, promotions, and feedback more efficient which will be used going forward. Our clubs also ran countless charity fundraisers online which were a great success. In total they raised over £28,000 for charity and donated blood 281 times. I'm sure that these will continue to happen in the future.

The future

How do you envision the Sports Union in the future?

I think through the recent challenges, the Sports Union in future will develop its recreational side more for those who want to engage in sport non - competitively. This will encourage more students to join sports on campus.

Will sports continue to be a part of your life?

Absolutely. I would love to be involved in sports in my life.  I’m currently going on to do my Master’s in Real Estate at the University of Glasgow and hope to join a few sports clubs once I'm there. I’ll stay connected to the University of Dundee as an alumnus as well.

What advice will you give to other students?

I encourage students to get involved in sports and get outside their comfort zone. It really adds to the University experience of changing and getting to know yourself. Find what you’re passionate about and pursue it because there’s a lot of support available.

What’s one thing we don’t know about you?

I support Derby County, come on you Rams!

Get in touch

Were you a Sports Union President or Sports Club committee member and would like to share your experience or have fond memories playing sport at Dundee? We would love to hear from you.


Craig Reoch

Careers Adviser

+44 (0)1382 384741

Story category Alumni