We spoke to WITSU President Michael Murphy on this upcoming academic year.
Freshers nationwide are making their way, nervously, to their first lectures and tutorials, unsure of what to expect. Starting college can be a daunting time, as those who have been through it can attest to. But luckily, there are people to help you. Every college has their own Student's Union, ready to help students with whatever they need. We spoke to SU President in WIT, Michael Murphy, about his manifesto for this upcoming year:
1. What is your manifesto for the upcoming year? What do you hope to achieve over the next year?
Student Engagement on campus, WITSU Pop-Up stands and to secure a new WITSU Social Space and Office which is fit for our purposes whilst lobbying the Government with USI to fight off income contingent loans schemes and to secure publicly funded education.
2. What do you feel your team’s strong points are?
We are extremely diverse which means at an executive level decisions are made with a wide variety of students being represented in regards to differing views and opinions. It gives us the ability to appeal to many different students in regards to seeking advise and with a broad sense of opinion comes a very strong voice when it comes to representing students within the college.
3. For freshers and students interested in getting involved in college life and societies, what advice would you give to them?
Sign up to everything you have an interest in, run for class rep or join the welfare crew or the ents and media crew! If there is not a club, society or crew that suits you then set up one that you would have an interest in.
4. How important is it, in your opinion, for students to be involved in their SU?
Vitally important, you make so many new friends and the SU due to its diversity can broaden your horizons in so many ways whilst providing once ion a life time opportunities in so many different ways.
5. What do you think are the biggest struggles of Irish students today? How can we fight them?
Funding, the Irish Education system is seriously under funded which leaves students struggling in so many different ways. Accommodation being a huge one! Not having money left for rent and food after paying fees etc. Financial struggles on students in Ireland are a serious burden and for many are a barrier to education.
6. What is your opinion on the state of the student accommodation crisis today? Does your college offer any facilities or services that will help students who are having trouble finding sufficient accommodation?
Student accommodation got even worse this year. Even here in Waterford we had a serious shortage with prices increasing again by roughly 10 percent. We engaged with USI and the local media to push the Homes.usi,ie campaign which encourages homeowners to rent a room to a student in their house and this was a serious success and alleviated many of the issues.
7. In your opinion, what is the best approach to creating a united student voice in order to ensure our concerns aren’t ignored by the politicians?
You need to firstly make champions out of your students and prove to them that there voice matters and after that you need to give ownership of that student voice to the student on the ground. At all times be full of encouragement and make sure that the students knows there opinion is appreciated and cherished because here in WITSU it genuinely is.
8. What are your opening hours? & What is the easiest way for students to contact you?
9-5 Monday- Friday and all of our details are on WITSU.ie. I can be directly contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 086-7854420.
You can find out more about the SU here.
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