It’s been a busy two months for the WITSU team, between multiple successful campaigns and events as well as taking part in a huge national demonstration march in Dublin, September and October have been all go.
Fresher’s week was a big success for the WITSU team with International acts selling out and tonnes of events throughout all WIT campuses. The team also met over 1,000 new students and registered 700 new voters. An International party was held to help welcome all of WIT’s International and Erasmus students to the college. The Buddy Scheme for International students continued this year with training being given to new “Buddies” by Caitriona from the International Office at WIT and Celine the Welfare Officer of the SU.
Once Fresher’s week was over the WITSU team got busy visiting nearly all of the new first year course groups and informing them what WITSU does to help them through their college time and facilitating the election of class reps so each class has their voice heard throughout the year. Nearly 200 reps were elected and a training day was held in the WIT Arena. The first class rep council was also held this week with Cathy Pembroke being approved as Class Rep Chair for the year, the chair presides over all Class Rep Council meetings and ensures that everything is running accordingly and in line with the WITSU constitution while Dr. Paul O’ Leary was elected the returning officer, he is responsible for the running of all referenda and elections conducted by the Union. Paul O’ Dwyer was elected as the first ever WITSU Post Grad Officer, which means Paul will act as liaison for postgraduate students and reps with the Students’ Union and help WITSU to represent all of the student population in WIT as a result.
Class Reps were also informed of the charities who had asked to be included in a nomination form for the proceeds of this year’s events. 3 charities will be successful and this year’s class reps also voted to include a college project to receive some of the funds. At the end of the academic year the successful charities and college project will be presented with a cheque by the WITSU team. It was also voted that WITSU’s capital reserve would be released to fund the building of a new WITSU office and student social space, this will help solidify the confidentiality WITSU wants students to feel when they visit any member of the team and also give students a safe and relaxing space to hang out and feel comfortable in.
Michael Murphy, President of the SU for the coming academic year has put a lot of effort and time into getting this approved for the students of WIT and was delighted with the outcome of the class rep vote “It has been a long standing aim for WITSU to create a new facility for our students so that one, our offices can be fit for purpose and two, that our students can have a common social area that can enable social development. We are absolutely delighted to announce that this vision is now becoming a reality. We will be giving you more info in the coming weeks on the exact plans and timelines. “
Celine Casey, our 2017/2018 Welfare Officer held her first campaign of the academic year, Live Safe Work Together Week, where she looked an enhancing student welfare and safety, including moving out of home, sexual health and consent, mental health, as well as alcohol and drugs awareness, “Live Safe, Work Together was a great success. It was my very first campaign as Welfare Officer. There was fantastic engagement and feedback from students, especially in relation to Echo the Elephant and the RSA Shuttle bus and roll over simulator.” Celine has also been busy organising SafeTALK training to take place on campus for any students interested in being trained in suicide alertness “SafeTALK training is one of the best short training sessions I have ever attended. It is extremely worthwhile as after this training you could actually save a life. I would encourage as many people as possible to attend SafeTALK training and once this training is complete you can then go on to ASIST training which is a two day intensive suicide training course.”
Over 400 students were brought up to Dublin by the SU for a National Demonstration to protest alongside the Union of Students Ireland as well as other universities and institutions against the government introducing income contingent loan schemes. Marie Sheedy, Education Officer for the 2017/2018 year was delighted with the turnout “We need the students of Ireland to feel valued by their Government, and we made it pretty clear that WIT students do not support an income contingent loan scheme.”
WITSU also held its first ever Student Race Day in conjunction with Tramore Race Course which was a huge success and all of the proceeds will be going towards the Raise and Give week fund for the nominated charities. As well as this the SU team were busy organising their “What’s a WITSU?” campaign which aimed to broaden the understanding of the students of WIT as to what their Union does for them and how can they help. This was done through various activities and games with the officers as well as promotional and information stands throughout both campuses.