Welcome back everyone, I hope you’ve had a great Christmas break and exams weren’t too terrible. With the first week of the semester already underway, the fourth Student Council meeting took place on the 26th of January. Kicking us right off was Kieron from the Electoral Commission, coming back to rally troops. As of right now, only two people are involved with the EC and they need more than that. If you don’t know what the EC is by now, its main job is to make sure elections run smoothly, decide how it should be run and so on. It’s quite a rare opportunity to be a part of because many other colleges do not have this open for student participation. With elections coming up, it’s very important that they have more than two people part of the EC so if you’re a council member and you want to be involved, you’re urged to do so.
Societies gave a quick update; during the X-Mas appeal 9500€ was raised in twelve days. If you’re someone who donated then look at the wonderful result your contribution brought! Also there are fourteen new societies in the North side, which is great as many are currently based in the South side. Now those of us on the North side can have better involvement with societies. Refresher’s week will be taking place next week and they are planning to have a big event like the Big Day Out that took place at the beginning of the year. There is also a radio station on the way, coming to Aungier Street soon and students, of course, will be able to be involved so keep your eyes peels for updates around that. If you like volunteering, a new Student Volunteering website is on its way, which means you’ll be able to log the hours you work and get a certificate to prove it. Wouldn’t that be something nice on your CV?
USI came along to the meeting, as they have all the others this year, and gave their usual list of updates. Highlights included:
- partnership with SIPTU
- women leads event
- quality assurance
- Horizon 22 funding
- safe talk training for next year’s class reps
In regards to safe talk training, a council member brought up a very good point; should we not be focused on putting more money towards counselling rather than training class reps to help. USI’s response was that they see Safe Talk as more of an intervention tool, to be able to tell students where they need to go and to make sure they get the help they need. They said they are doing this based off of what their research showed them, which is that more students would go to a lecturer or a fellow student first, than talk to a counselor.
The next important item on the agenda was TU for D (Technological University for Dublin). It is a new thing which has not yet launched. TU for D will be a students’ union work group, consisting of DIT, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght. Through this work group, the students’ unions will share resources through a database. Sabbaticals see this as a positive step in working together, and in April-May, there will be a lobby to push this build forward. Note that this does not be all three student unions are merging together and becoming one, the sabbaticals will simply be working together more and sharing resources. This is a point that came up among the council members and may have crossed your mind as you’re reading this too.
Officers gave their reports and here are the ones of most note:
- Our VP of Events has been working hard to bring TedEx DIT into motion however three applications were made and all three have been rejected, one of which was because there is already a TedEx DIT from Germany and they cannot have the same name. The RAG charity has raised over 10,500. There is more money that has been raised but not yet handed in.
- VP of Welfare Tara gave an update around the counselling situation. In 2008 there were eight full time counsellors. Now, in 2017, there are only four. Two of these are trainees. Each counsellor can only take four students at once and that is why they are always booked up. As evident, the service is diminishing and it is not enough to cater for everybody. According to the student charter, students should not have to wait more than ten days for an appointment; at the moment the waiting time is twenty-four days. Tara is constantly working to improve the situation, and has said that we will take radical action if something is not done.
Once again, it came to the part of the meeting that involved motions however this time it was slightly different than previously. If you don’t know, a USI Congress meeting is coming up (all of the sabbaticals from colleges around Ireland gather, imagine that) and each college can put forward five motions at Congress. The aim tonight was to agree on the five motions that should be submitted. So, five motions were proposed and discussed. Of course it was also possible for council members to bring forward entirely new motions (although this did not happen);
- Constitution amendment for Dublin Region Officer. The current person is also member of welfare of USI and taking on two important roles is too much for one person. It was proposed to separate it into two roles.
- Counselling Services. Put more pressure on the government in regards to all issues around mental health. This is something which affects everyone, not just DIT.
- Make drug testing kits more available. Give people more information and help people in making more informed decisions. These should be given to the officers.
- Safe Campaign during Fresher’s week. This should be a nationwide campaign as it also affects everybody. People need to be aware, especially those not from Ireland, that it is not a safe place at night and they need to be careful.
- Stim room for ASD Students. This would help autistic students during exams.
All of these motions were agreed on and will be put forward at Congress.
The last very important item on the agenda was in regards to the USI Affiliation Referendum. USI has been strongly tied with DITSU; by paying an annual fee, they offer their services and aid to our student union. However as with all things, there are certain cons to all of this. The referendum would determine whether or not DITSU would stay with USI or not. It concerns the future of our student union, it’s extremely important and council was asked of their opinion. The discussion was very varied, with lots of council members (and sabbaticals) pushing towards leaving. The vote to leave-or-not-leave is left until the next student council meeting, for now it was brought up purely to be brought into discussion, and to let council members think. If DITSU was to leave, the next referendum takes place in 2019 therefore there is the chance to rejoin then.
As you can see, this student council meeting was quite heavily packed with information. Remember that if you want to be part of it, you’re always welcome to sit in during meetings (you just can’t vote on motions). Until next time!