It hits you like a tonne of bricks!
IT HITS YOU LIKE A TONNE OF BRICKS… This is my first time blogging so I googled how to write a good blog and it gave me that title to start with. Funnily enough it is a fairly apt title. I committed to writing a blog for the website and I am only getting around to it now, I think that suggests how busy the year has been so far in the Students’ Union.
When I opened the door to the office in July, I knew there was a big year coming up and they were a lot of things we needed to do to improve as a movement and my main aim for the year was to build on the excellent reputation that we have here in IT Sligo Students’ Union at both a local and national level.
It all started in Waterford in July where we attended Student Union Training which was organised by the Union of Students in Ireland. The Union of Students in Ireland is our national body and we want to be seen as a Union that engages with them in a constructive manner. The training provided us (Myself, Stephen and Helen) with some valuable guidance in how to go about our jobs in the best way possible. Starting the role I felt that I have a good deal of experience but was conscious that a new role meant new challenges. All three of us are faced with different trials each day so Student Union Training was a good place to learn what challenges to expect.
One thing set out very clearly to us in Waterford, was the challenges that as a nation we would face in the upcoming budget, and that students would appear to be first on the chopping block. Scary figures were thrown about at the time which suggested that the grants would be cut and more students would not be afforded the opportunity to attend college, as a national Union we undertook a commitment that we would stand up and fight so that wouldn’t happen. Hence we launched the “Fight for Your Future Now” campaign. On September 24th we launched the Student Voter Registration Database Drive, and IT Sligo registered the largest number of students on the database compared with all the other affiliated Colleges and Universities in the country.
In recent years we held large protests in Dublin, but to no avail. This year the decision was taken that we needed a change of tactic and it was decided that a national day of action would take place on October 1st and that regional marches would take place in Dublin, Cork and Sligo. We undertook to host colleges from across the Northwest of Ireland and as a region we hosted the largest march in the Country despite having the smallest student population of any other region, with over a third of the population of IT Sligo turning out that day to show that we would not stand for any more cuts to our education system and our futures.
Our victory as students on budget day may have been small in gains but it means that the majority of students who we currently represented by the Students’ Union would not face any greater difficulty in trying to attend college than they already do. Looking across the board and considering some of the cuts in other areas, I think as students we should all be extremely proud of what was achieved especially here in IT Sligo where we turned out in far greater numbers than any other college. The fact that our march turned out more students than both the other marches combined is a reflection that IT Sligo students are more engaged than ever. The Student Officers from NUIG. GMIT, GMIT Castlebar, AIT, LYIT and our neighbours from St Angela’s College played a huge role in promoting and getting protesters to Sligo and for that they have my thanks.
Each year the Students’ Union prides itself on the fact that IT Sligo has the largest Class Representative system of any college in the country. This is a huge challenge considering that many of the other colleges have much greater numbers than us. I’m pleased to report the process of electing Class Reps is almost complete and we are on track to have the largest number of Class Reps in the last few years. Class Rep training took place on the 23th of October this week. Class Rep training is an opportunity for us to delve into what role Class Reps have in the Students’ Union. Our Class Rep system is one of the most important parts of the Students’ Union, as they are the central link between the Students’ Union Officers and the student body. For some of the Class Reps this day is as much a learning experience for them as it is for us. Others may have been in this roles for a number of years and their experience is invaluable to us in terms of continuity of service for the student body.
YaYa and Kolo Toure appeared to be the big hit of Freshers’ Week, otherwise however we held a very informative Sexual Health Awareness Quiz and the ever glamorous “IT Sligo Day at the Races” with thanks to Sligo Racecourse and Toffs Niteclub. It was great to see so many students looking so well and it gave all students a different experience than your average night out! Some negative publicity may have been received in the local media following Freshers’ Week but we will work to engage with local stakeholders in future in an attempt limit any negative issues occurring.
For me this has been a whirlwind experience so far and indeed we are only at the midpoint to dear I say it Christmas! I am very much looking forward to our first Student Representative Council meeting next week and would ask that you talk with your Class Reps in advance of this in order to make this meeting as informative as possible.
If there EVER is anything you want to know, or if you have an issue resolving a problem contact your Class Rep or simply drop me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help point you into the right direction.