The past year may not have been exactly how Silje Meese saw her Master’s studies at GIS going, but that hasn’t stopped her from going out and landing an exciting job at international non-profit Right To Play. The MSc Football Business student has joined the organisation as a partnerships volunteer to work on their Side by Side project in conjunction with the LFC Foundation – the charitable arm of Liverpool FC. Here, Silje tells us more about the role…

Tell us about your role at Right To Play and the Side by Side project with LFC Foundation?

I am a Partnerships Volunteer at Right To Play, with special focus on the Side by Side project that Right to Play have with the LFC Foundation. We are a small team working closely with the Foundation to create fundraising campaigns and strategies to support our activities in Liverpool and several communities in Bangkok. For me, this includes helping with coordination between all parties, scheduling on social media, working with ambassadors, planning campaign content and much more.

What does the partnership between all the parties provide for youngsters, and how do you hope to be a part of that?

Right to Play is harnessing sport and play to protect, educate and empower children, and this is also the case for this partnership. Through fundraising, Right To Play and the LFC Foundation are able to provide safe facilities, equipment and learning to children through fun and varied activities. I have followed Right to Play’s work for years and share many of the same values. I’m so happy to be a part of this and I hope that my passion and genuine interest contributes to further positive initiatives.

Is social mobility via sport something which you are passionate about?

Yes, definitely. I believe it’s important to view sport as a tool to create positive impact for people and societies, and it’s almost naive to think otherwise. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in sport is what I want to focus on, and I’m using my Master’s dissertation to highlight the importance of social impact reporting in the industry.

What aspects of your MSc Football Business programme have you been able to take into the role?

I have been focused on bringing my interest in CSR and sustainability into my coursework so far, and I think the combination of interest and industry knowledge has been beneficial. Everything from operations and governance to communication and marketing gives a greater understanding of any organisation. When I tell people I study football business, they assume that it’s not applicable to other industries, but it most certainly is.

Having previously covered football and sport in your media position in Norway, what do you think you can take from those experiences and place into this role with Side by Side?

Fundraising campaigns can to some extent be compared to marketing campaigns – it is about creating the right message for the target audience. I think the combination of my previous degree in marketing and my experience with journalism and reporting gives a solid foundation to bring ideas to life and catch people’s eyes. My experience also provides me with confidence to voice my opinions.

It’s been a very strange year for all of us. How have you found your time at GIS so far?

It has been very strange. Of course, I would have liked to spend more time at our amazing campus in Wembley, but I know that online lectures have given me the flexibility I needed to work at Right To Play four days a week. Even though I have spent most of the time home in Norway, the lectures and additional staff have provided support and help at any time.