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Varsity 2017 kicked off with the annual fundraiser Ignit10n yesterday and the SU’s Sport and Student Development Officer John House talks about what makes Varsity one of the best sporting events of the year.

To me, Varsity epitomises everything that is so brilliant about sport at the University of Bristol. Whilst the headline of the series urges our competitors to ‘embrace the rivalry’, Varsity is about so much more than simply proving year on year that we are better than UWE. Varsity is a celebration of sport in Bristol, a chance for our athletes and sporting stars to show the city what they are made of.

On top of this, and probably the main reason I love Varsity so much is the rare opportunity it provides our students to unite as one and feel proud of what we do.Varsity allows literally any student to get involved and feel like part of the community of the University of Bristol.

It doesn’t matter what subject you study, what society you are a part of, your background, political stance, whether you shower in the evening or the morning. What matters is that you go to Bristol University. And in a time when so many things (or leaders of the ‘Free world’) seek to divide us, isn’t that wonderful?

The series was founded in 1995 when a Bristol student challenged UWE to a boat race along the docks (which Bristol promptly won, clearly the challenger knew what he was doing), and since then Varsity has gone from strength to strength in Bristol, now involving 11 standalone events that involve more than 2000 students in over 30 sports.

In 2016, Bristol once again took the Varsity victory by a solid margin, with key wins in the Rugby, the Boat Race, and one of the most stunning victories you could wish to see in Women’s Basketball. I have no doubt that 2017 will be the same and that Bristol will rightfully retain its trophy and the consequently enjoyable bragging rights.

One of the most exciting changes for 2017 is the move of the Rugby and Football to the biggest stadium in the South West – Ashton Gate. The stadium itself was recently renovated and promises to create an awesome atmosphere for what are usually key events in the Varsity series.

So, grab a maroon t-shirt, buy a ticket, invite your friends, get a Bristol foam finger (yep that’s a thing this year) and get set for the best Varsity series to ever grace Bristol!

Cheer on Bristol in this year’s Varsity and get involved by using the hashtag #WeAreBristol and  follow updates of all the events on our social media:

Facebook // Epigram Sport // Twitter

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