Kevin McStravock, President, October Blog

Cardiff, Course Reps and Campaigns – the last month for me. Hello everyone, hope you’re well and enjoying the semester as we approach the halfway mark. They say time flies when you’re having fun and the past month has been full of fun for me. Highlights would have to be attending the European Student Convention in Cardiff, hosted by NUS Wales and addressing a room full of course reps at four training events.

Coleraine Campus Course Rep Training

We’ll kick off with the event in Wales, the European Student Convention brings together delegates from over 40 member unions and over 30 countries, I was chosen to attend as a delegate of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). The theme of the event was ‘Securing Our Future’ so topics of discussion focused on minority language rights and the topic on everyone’s lips…Brexit.

There was a real sense throughout the week that in spite of the many differences that exist between all the countries present, our core vision and values for higher education can barely be separated. With UUSU having live policy on Brexit and on student mobility, it was a fantastic opportunity for me to amplify these views to a European audience. You can find out more about this trip here.

From tiding the storm of Brexit to tiding Storm Ophelia, mid-October brought extreme weather that resulted in the closure of the university for one day. I was in direct communication with senior management of the university on the Sunday night pressing for a decision to be made and helped ensure that we got the message out to students as quickly as possible. More importantly, I have also passed on your feedback on how best to deal with scenarios like this in the future which the university have taken on board and I will be feeding into the development of a protocol for dealing with critical incidents.

The month also saw the rollout of training for Course Reps on all four campuses. As someone who has ended up in the position I’m currently in through the knowledge gained and confidence built as a course rep, it was a great honour to address the reps at all of these sessions and to help deliver part of the training. Course reps play an integral role in delivering constructive feedback to their lecturers and course director and helping to shape the learning & teaching experience for themselves and their peers.

My thanks also go to the Senior Reps, my fellow student officers and to Avril Honan and Mandy Mulholland for the hard work they all put into ensuring the success of these course rep sessions. On the topic of academic representation, we held staff and student focus groups this month to help in the construction of a Staff-Student Partnership Agreement. The outworkings of these focus groups will be publicized as part of the partnership agreement later in the year – it’s vital that we build a comprehensive agreement that works for both students and staff and that is underpinned by a robust academic representation system.

Finally, a big shout out to Hannah Rooney, Vice President for Campaigns and Communication for designing the first campaign of the year on Drug and Alcohol Awareness. It was great to see so many students getting involved with the campaign and I’m confident that a lot more people ‘know the score’ when it comes to the dangers associated with drug and alcohol abuse.

That’s all from me this month everyone – lots to look forward to in the coming weeks so I’ll see you same time next month to report back on November’s successes!

October 2017 - 37 Student Queries

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