Graduate Officer - End of Year Report
It has been a rewarding year. I have loved every minute of being the Graduate Officer. Having come in through a by election, I was on the go from the minute I started, so much so, I had my first Governing Authority in my 2nd week on the job. That was nerve wrecking, but we all came through it somewhat unscathed. My whole job is about students, it is the beginning, middle and end of what I do, case work is about 70 percent of the job. Case work is not the only way students are at the heart of the role but at every board, committee, or meeting we have tried to ensure that the student voice is heard at them, I hope I did that some justice.
I am in a particularly good position this year because I do not have to say goodbye to a great team, I have been so lucky to work with such great people. I will have to give a shout out to Leighton and Conor though, although you will not be far and always a part of the Union, you both will be sorely missed.
To Keleigh, thank you so much, you have helped me put on every event, every zoom and Eventbrite, you are embarking on a new adventure and I do not know what we will do without you and your excel sheets on a weekly basis, you will be missed but we wish you the very best of luck in the future.
The Council, consisting of College Officers, Ents and Campaign Officers and Class reps, are the backbone of the Union and without the help, support, advice from all of you, we would not be able to do our jobs. Thank you for all the work you do and being willing to stand up and represent, it is not an easy thing to do, and you all did it so well.
A quick year in review!!!!!
One key element to how I worked this year is having set times and days for student office hours, they were able to book time slots with me to have one on one sessions, this enabled the student to easily access their Graduate Officer on a regular basis. I was also key to the new instant messaging service we have operating, this again helped with accessibility to the sabbatical officers.
One part of my role is being a student representative on committees and boards bringing the student perspective and voice to them. Below is a list of all of them that I attend. All boards have at least two meetings a year with some having at least once a month like ACCE and GRB. I only missed 3 boards over the year (I kind of think that is an achievement in itself).
UMTSEG – Student Experience Group
UMTEG- Education Group
ACCE – Academic Council Committee for Exams
AC- Academic Council
REC – Research Ethics Committee
RCRC – Responsible Conduct Research Committee
ACCASP – Academic Council for Awards and Scholarships
UPB – University Programme Board
GRB – Graduate Research Board
GA- Governing Authority
ACQEC – AND SUB COMMITTEE - Academic Council Quality Enhancement Committee
Social Sciences Graduate Forum
Smurfit Business School Graduate Forum
Science Graduate Forum
CHAS – Health and agricultural Sciences
Nursing programme board
Arts and Humanities Graduate Forum
Working groups for orientation
Working group for CPD
Working group for academic advising
Working group education strategy
This year I was able to support my fellow Sabbats in their campaigns such as the payment for nursing student campaign, and the campaigns around misinformation. Below are some of the campaigns I was able to bring forward.
· I was able to get the Student Centre to agree to allow us to have 2 free vending machines in the old student centre for period products
· I got the University to give the 250-euro government stipend to all eligible PhD students
· We got the issue of the non-accredited SNA programme into the government agenda
· We have the University speaking about hourly rates for casualised workers
· We are getting an over arching Parental Policy put in place for students and staff
· Surveyed over 100 students for the SUSI Review and a submission will be made before the 16th of April
· We are fighting the issue of International students and their spouses not being allowed to work when they accompany their partners to Ireland
· We are now ambassadors for Anytime of the Month, this organisation is an educational organisation about periods, we are proud to support them.
· Created a survey for the Postgrad Workers Alliance Group – it has not been distributed yet
Events and Giveaways
ThesisIn3 Competition, the SU supported this by giving four €75 travel funds as prizes, we will be supporting it again this coming June.
Planning for orientation was hard although we were part of the working groups, we decided during the summer that most of our events would be online, so we had to change quickly. Although our events were online the engagement was good. I gave out a desk and chair combo, along with vouchers, power banks, speakers, earphones etc.
Quiz nights are a hit with postgrads, I had master specific ones, Smurfit specific ones and PhD specific ones, who I teamed up with the newly formed PhD Society for. I gave out one for all vouchers, just eat vouchers, Ikea vouchers along with headphones and speakers.
We teamed up with Maturesoc to do a 3-day event for Period Justice and Period poverty Awareness, we raised 750 euro, we gave out moon cups, power banks, vouchers for just eat and Ikea. We had Dr. Caroline West do a menstrual hygiene workshop and we had a fantastic panel discussion with Senator Rebecca Moynihan, Senator Lynn Boylan, Claire Hunt Director Of HPI, Mary Gallagher Cooke Volunteer for HPI and Victory from Plan International.
I have been able to become a project leader on Sarah Michalak and Empower the Family volunteer programme, I run the fundraising stream, the volunteers are UCD Students. This volunteer programme is a first for the SU.
I have been heavily involved with exam supports for students. Before Christmas we had three weeks of giving out food, refill pads, drinks and all those good things. The Spring Trimester is different we have expanded it by 3 weeks and over the course of both exam periods, I will have given out nearly 3,000 pens and pencils.
The PhD Conference Fund
In the whole year the PhD Conference Fund has been one of my biggest achievements being able to give out 35, 100-euro conference funds to students made me immensely happy. It is a great resource for students who really need it as conferences are not cheap and, in some cases, it is essential to their course work. I look forward to being able to provide this again for the upcoming year.