My name is Pierre Yimbog, and I’m lucky to say that I’m the first TU Dublin Student’s Union President. I’ll explain how I got here and my advice for anyone considering running for the upcoming elections in March.
I started college in 2014 in DIT Aungier St to study law, and like some students, you intend to get in, do what you need to do to pass and get out. This didn’t turn out to be the case at all as from the moment of Fresher week I got involved and stuck into college social life including societies, clubs and students’ union.
My first foray in student politics was the Class Rep elections. I’m not normally a person to put myself forward for leadership positions but I nonetheless I mustered the courage to raise my hand along with four others in my class. However, this was my last and only time running for class rep as I was unsuccessful.
In that second semester of first year I got involved in the Student’s Union Elections and supporting the then candidate for Aungier St College Officer and close friend; Boni Odoemene. The election days were intense but also a fun experience if you weren’t the candidate!
I’ll fast forward to when I decided to run for College Officer of Aungier St in the 2015 elections. I didn’t initially consider running but was convinced by others that I should do so, especially as there were very few potential candidates. I ended up running against one other candidate (and R.O.N) and the whole experience really put me out of my comfort zone. I had to work on my public speaking and class addresses, graphic skills and leading and inspiring a team of volunteers to support my campaign.
It was a huge relief in the end that the many hours put in by everyone and practicing with my campaign manager all paid of when I won. From there, I then went unto run for Vice President for Education, then President of DIT Students’ Union who would lead the colleges and Unions in the merger and technological university status, and finally elected across the three campuses to become TU Dublin Students’ Union President.
It was not all plain sailing as many would probably tell you but I don’t regret it at all as it was a great experience to really work out of my comfort and develop myself for the good of the students. For each time I ran, I knew that I could give something to the role but also selfishly get something back from the experience. It’s a unique opportunity being a Students’ Union Officer and I enjoyed every minute of it because I got the chance to see and experience both sides of college life.
The best part of it all is of course being involved in the creation of the first Technological University, including the application stage, international panel visit, the official announcement and all that was involved in bringing the three Students’ Union together to make the first TU Dublin SU which has now gone through another change since last Novembers referendum.
I’m proud of what I was able to achieve during my time in the Students’ Union, though also being aware that I didn’t achieve all that I may have wanted to and promised in my manifesto. Therefore, it’s important to be realistic as the year goes so fast and other factors will impact on what you may be able to achieve. In addition, you may start something that you don’t get to see through and I was lucky to be the President that got to enjoy the work that my predecessors put into the TU process.
Finally, if elected to a full time position, and as I learnt very quickly; it’s more than a full time job and can sometimes consume you if you don’t find a balance and have boundaries. If that’s one advice you can take from this is to find it and maintain it as you need to take care of yourself if you want to represent and help others to the best of your ability.
I wish all the those running in the 2023 elections the very best of luck and remember that a Students’ Union is more than just elected officers.