DCU Students’ Union has decided to renew its association with listening service Niteline for this academic year, on foot of a reduction in costs and the promise of increased on-campus visibility and promotion.
SU President Aaron Clogher made this announcement at the Class Rep Council meeting held last week, October 29th. The news follows fears that the SU would cut its link with the student support service due to various difficulties it had experienced with it.
SU Welfare Officer, Lorna Finnegan, said it was a difficult process to decide whether or not to re-affiliate. “We had to decide over the summer what we were going to. Previously it cost us €5,000 to fund Niteline and we were worried we wouldn’t be able to provide the same quality service as before due to budget restraints. But we met with the new committee representing Niteline and they gave us a full breakdown of their plans.”
“They were very passionate about what they were doing and we felt it would be the right thing to continue our link with them. Hopefully there will be more communication by both sides than in the past and we can maintain the relationship. Hopefully it all comes together.”
Niteline provides a ‘confidential listening, support and information service for students’. Their volunteers are trained by the Niteline Association in Britain which is based on the Samaritans model. They encourage people to get in touch if they are struggling with issues, either academic and/or personal.
Finnegan spoke highly of the group and their role within Irish universities. “They do admirable work. It is a good service; it’s run by students for students. I think it’s easier for the students to hear a younger voice on the other side; someone their own age. It can be more appealing than going to a counsellor or an adult. It’s a really important service to have.”
Free Niteline tea-towels were delivered to first year students during Freshers’ Week, while Finnegan says “We were happy with their promotion…they gave us a lot of information to hand out to students. There will be another push for Mental Health week and around exam time when students are really under pressure.”