Your Students’ Union: An entity for real change

Student's Union event. Image Credit: Darragh Culhane

With DCU Student Union Elections right around the corner it only seemed fitting to take a look back on what changes this year’s and last year’s SU made to enhance student life.

Last year Student Union President Kim Sweeney addressed a bullying problem within DCU campus generated by the app Yik Yak, Sweeney issued an email to the student body urging students to use the app responsibly or otherwise face academic reprimands.

Under the watchful eye of the SU and other faculties, DCU became Europe’s first Autism friendly campus, with the SU educating the student body on autism by issuing regular emails.

The introduction of a postgraduate officer was seen for the first time on DCU’s Class Rep Council (CRC), after a motion put forward by Education Officer, James Donoghue passed.

On the down side Clubs’ Officer Thomas O’Gorman resigned from his position within the Student Union, after withdrawing from his course which caused disruption within the SU leaving them with no choice but to re-open the position.

The 2015/2016 SU also received criticism by academic staff member[AL1]  Helen Sheehan after they refused to allow her to send an email to students, regarding a left-wing seminar on Greece. The SU citing the seminar ‘it wasn’t relevant to all 12,300 DCU students.’

This year it’s safe to say DCU SU made significant changes that have benefited students across the board.

The most recent change saw DCU add a Jobbio feature to their website which will allow thousands of students to access potential employers through the Student Union.

This feature was part of DCU SU President, Dylan Kehoe’s manifesto as he wanted to use his contacts within Jobbio to benefit students who are seeking employment.  The new Jobbio feature will be a ‘huge improvement’ in contrast to the job listing from the newsletter sent out by DCU careers’ section according to Kehoe.

Another a key difference Kehoe made to the student body was the introduction of a student microwave allowing commuting students to heat up their lunch rather than having to buy food on campus.

As well as this Cody Byrne, DCU’s Vice President for Welfare and Equality has been a busy bee this academic year.

In light of the Strike4Repeal campaign that took place on March 8th, Byrne organised a peaceful picketing session outside both Glasnevin and St. Patrick’s campus, a walk-out of class that saw hundreds of students march around DCU Glasnevin campus, showing solidarity to repeal the 8th amendment.

As part of Byrne’s manifesto he wanted to incorporate an alternative counselling service for DCU Students and he succeeded by initiating the DCU student personal support line that operates after hours for students seeking counselling services on a Tuesday and Thursday evening.

As well as ensuring the standard STI checks were in place, Byrne also contributed to reducing Hazelwood’s weekly rent by €15 bringing it down from €175 a week to €160.

 However, one of the not so finer moments of this year’s Student Union was the rental of the marquee to facilitate student events, which ended up costing the SU €25,000 to rent for a four week period, taking a significant chunk out of the SU’s budget.

Amy Lawlor