UPSU has recognised that the historic event of its annual mass AU ‘Sports Tour’, and the inherent promotion of ‘lad culture’ behaviour, irresponsible drinking and degrading initiation-based activities, directly conflicts with the principles and ethos of our Sport Strategy agenda and directly breaches the terms of our Student Code of Conduct.
Mass sports tours in its current format, due to the above emphasis, poses a significant reputational risk to both UPSU, and the University of Portsmouth, as well as a health and wellbeing risk to our touring students. As a result, UPSU have made the decision to longer support, endorse or facilitate the organisation of mass sports tours.
UPSU have therefore created a set of touring guidelines for student groups, to define what we mean by a ‘sports tour’ and ensure those who wish to organise and/or participate in one that relates to their group activity, are supported appropriately by the Union.
What Constitutes a Union Supported Tour?
UPSU will allow groups to tour under their Union group name and branding if it directly relates to their group activity. For example, sports groups must be playing or training in their group sport. For other kinds of groups, the activity on tour must be connected to their group’s constitutional aims. The Law Society may organise a trip to The Hague and European Parliament and this would be an acceptable tour activity.
UPSU will affiliate with tour providers that conduct themselves in a professional, safe and well-organised manner and where sports are concerned, they must be within the ethos and spirit of the sport in question – see RFU guidelines on the ethos of the game for example.
UPSU will provide support and guidance to student groups who choose to organise trips or tours that fit within their group activity; be this through facilitating payment, allowing use of branding on kit or equipment, or providing guidance on preferred suppliers for example.
UPSU will support the facilitation of tours that fall outside of the academic terms. There will be no support from the Union if students wish to attend a tour that falls within the University term times. It is recommended that students arrange tours within the Easter or Summer break.
Groups choosing to organise a ‘social tour’, that does not primarily involve playing their sport or club activity, will be not allowed to;
- Promote their trip in any way under their group name and via an official group social media forums. This includes verbally identifying themselves as the 'University of Portsmouth Floristry Club' or using any abbreviations such as 'UPFC' for example, before, during and after the trip has taken place.
- Use the UPSU or University brand or logos when promoting the trip, travelling to and from the destination and throughout the duration of the holiday, including any branded kit, clothing or equipment
- Advertise their tour as an official group event.
- Use their UPSU bank accounts (A or B) and union staff resources to facilitate and arrange payments for the trip.
Choosing Your Tour Provider
Choose the right tour company by checking their reputation. Ensure that if you have not used them before, you get feedback from other users before confirming the trip. You should also request copies of all risk assessments and required insurances prior to confirming any booking with a provider. If they are not willing to do this, do not pursue their services.
Make sure that you do shop around and not just go with the first option. See exactly what you get for your money and what other companies can provide you for the same or cheaper. Ensure there are no loopholes or hidden extras that you have not been charged as part of a package for. All agreements should be made in writing and that you have a service agreement and contract finalised before allowing any money to be exchanged. Again, if they are not willing to do this, do not pursue their services.
If your tour fits within the Union affiliation criteria, then you will need to ensure that UPSU have all the relevant information of your Tour provider, prior to confirming the booking; as well as the full itinerary for the trip, full attendee list and emergency contact details of the company and group representative.
Travelling Outside of the UK
If your group is travelling outside of the UK, you will need to make sure that all of your party has the relevant information and documentation to do so.
Things you need to remember are:
- Insurance: You are covered by Union insurance if you travel outside of the UK – but you will need to ensure that all members have the appropriate level of travel cover for the trip and the trip’s activity. UPSU will always be available to advise on any queries regarding travelling abroad and insurance cover for members.
- EHIC Cards: Within the European Union, you can use a European Health Insurance Card to gain medical treatment if needed. The card is free but you will need to apply for it online at www.ehic.org – remember to do this in plenty of time for your trip! If you already have a card, remember to ensure that it is valid for the entirety of your trip.
- Passports: You will need to ensure that your members all have a valid passport to travel. To travel abroad you need more than 6 months remaining on your passport from when you leave the country. Remember there is a significant turnaround time for passports to be renewed – ensure you check the date of expiry!
- Visas: Although many tours will take place in Europe, if you have international students attending your tour, they may need a visa for the trip – these need to be applied for as far in advance as possible by the individual. (Many reputable tour providers will provide this service as part of the package they offer – make sure you enquire as to this prior to confirming your booking).
The Union will endorse and support Tours that have fulfilled the above criteria. If a group participates in a UPSU affiliated tour then the UPSU Code of Conduct applies to all members for the duration of the trip. Any members found to be in breach of the code of conduct will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary measures detailed within on their return.
Groups are also expected to adhere to the laws and customs of their destination country as well as any rules or regulations that the tour provider enforces on their trips.
Kit and Branding
UPSU reserves the right to maintain control over the use of our brand by student groups. The reputational risk that comes with students having free use of our logo is too high and thus touring branding guidelines have been included within this policy.
Students will be permitted to use UPSU branding on tour playing kit, social clothing or equipment or travel under their club name if UPSU have approved the trip as a sanctioned activity-based tour and UPSU will actively support where needed on the ordering of this and the payments required for this. Tours organised that do not fit within UPSU affiliated tour guidelines will unfortunately not be permitted to use any of the above. Please see the clothing guidelines in the Equipment, Kit and Facilities section of the committee hub.
If a student group are found to have used the UPSU logo, brand, or have identified themselves as a UPSU group, on a trip that has not been authorised, then the appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken in accordance with this policy and the Union’s code of conduct and disciplinary policy. Please consult the UPSU activities team with any queries surrounding kit and branding.