Welfare: Cody Byrne on CRC, mental health & cross-campus engagement

Cody Byrne is a final year Psychology student. Byrne is the chairperson the Irish division of the largest student led organization in the world, a class rep and a student ambassador. He believes that he has the work ethic one requires for this role.

“I’ve experienced some loss in my own time and even through college I’ve had a couple of ups and downs. Those kind of experiences have made me realise that college can be kind of a dark place sometimes,” Byrne said, “I definitely have that personal experience which ticks it off the list, which is an important component of this role”.

His manifesto discusses establishing an accommodation website on the DCUSU page, creating an online peer support system, the creation of student blogs, more mental and sexual health workshops and Friday NuBar nights.

As a class rep this year, Byrne admitted that he finds Class Rep Council exhausting. “You don’t forward to it. You genuinely dread it,” he said. “The way that it works currently is that you send an apology if you can’t make it. That apology system doesn’t work”. He believes that you need people that are committee and aren’t just running for it for the purpose of a CV. He wants to enhance the importance of the role of class rep to the students before they apply.

On engaging with students on campuses the Welfare Officer will not be based on, Byrne thinks it is important to ensure that there is good communication between all five of the main sabbatical officers, “That’s firstly really important. Secondly, it’s just time management and ensuring that if an event is happening on campus, that it’s also happening on another,” he said.

Byrne feels that the stigma surrounding mental health has been tackled over the last few years. “My idea is that I want to not only tackle stigma but tackle solutions and problem focused ways of managing issues that people are having,” Byrne said, “Not only does it provide solutions that people can relate to but also reduces a stigma as a byproduct.”

Byrne plans on attending counselling, if elected. “Counselling psychologists, and these are professionals can only handle four to six counselling sessions per day,” he said. He told The College View that he won’t limit anyone coming to speak to him but he needs to ensure that he is looking after himself.

With an upcoming referendum for DCU to stay in the Union of Students Ireland over the next couple of years, The College View asked Byrne how he feels about the USI. “I think that we should be a part of a larger student body that’s connected,” he said, “It wouldn’t necessarily be a silly move but I don’t understand why we wouldn’t want to continue affiliation with them.”

When asked how the role of welfare could be improved, Byrne focused his answer on the attributes a welfare officer must have. “You need to be laid back, down to earth, approachable and willing to take on issues but that come across in a friendly way, friendly but serious. It’s complex, it’s so personality based,” he said.
Hayley Halpin

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