President’s Welcome Speech 2018
Barry Murphy, UCD Students' Union President 2018/2019
Hi guys, how are you?
My name is Barry and I am your Students’ Union President this year. This time 4 years ago, I sat just like yourselves during my President’s welcome. I was wrecked from my first college night out the night before, anxious and excited about starting here in UCD.
I don’t remember what my SU President said in his speech back then. If I could remember, I’m sure it was something like this:
Fair play for getting here, UCD is the largest University in Ireland with a student body of over 27,000. To put it in perspective, it’s the 4th largest town in the country. I remember being daunted by its size, thinking I’d never make friends in such a huge place. Many of you are probably the same. Some of you come from rural Ireland, others only over the road here in Dublin 4 and more of you again come from other countries around the world.
UCD is a mixing bowl of huge diversity. Whether you were the nerdy kid in school or part of the popular gang who were mad into GAA, you’ll find your people here. There’s always going to be someone just like you. College is the place where you make friends that’ll come to your 50th birthday down the line. Many of you will end up marrying someone who’s also in this room. You’re going to meet so many new people, it’s hard to keep track.
You’ve come to UCD to earn a degree but there’s also going to be a whole lot of craic along the way. The best thing to do is just to get involved. With over 80 student societies, 50 sports clubs and your Students’ Union to get involved in, your spoilt for choice.
There’s societies that get together, sit around and just eat good food for fun. There’s dance and music societies, debating, political, languages and much more. I myself got involved in a society called UCD Volunteers Overseas and spent two summers during my time here, teaching computers and English in Tanzania, Africa. It made my college experience and I made friends for life from it.
Our Sports Clubs are some of the most successful in Ireland. 9 girls on the World Cup runner up Irish women’s hockey team played here in UCD. Our senior men’s hurling team won the …..Cup last year. No matter what your level or ability you can join a sport here. Definitely try something new like trampolining or rock climbing, you could find out you’re great at it.
And then there’s your Students’ Union. You are all already members of your Union simply by being a student here in UCD. It’s a huge organisation, with 5 elected Sabbatical Officers, 9 College Officers for each of your faculties and roughly 160 Class Reps. You can find us in the Student Centre in the building before the Clubhouse Bar. The role of UCDSU is to make your college experience as stress free and enjoyable as it can be. We constantly watch out for your Welfare and interests through casework and representation at a University level. We’re that helping hand if you’re lost on campus, missing home or struggling with exams.
We run events that’ll make your college experience. All this week we have Fresh Fest down on the Quad, beside the Student Centre. It’s a mini festival with free food, amusement rides, live music and lots of freebies. Make sure to drop down with your Peer Mentor group. On Wednesday night we also have John Gibbons playing in Tramline in town, tickets at 8 euro on sale online, at SU Reception or Fresh Fest. A night not to be missed. Next week we have your Freshers’ Ball with Kungs and Daithi playing here on campus. Don’t miss this right of passage for all first years. In October we have Bingo Loco and lots more.
We also run campaigns on local and national political issues. Whether you’re passionate about the environment or gender equality, you can get behind what we do.
So how do you get involved? Fill in a nomination form and run for Students’ Union class rep, join a society or sports club during Freshers Week from the 17th. Come along to our events and campaigns. Put yourself out there and you’ll never look back.
So to finish. The next few years of your life will be some of the best ones. You’ve worked hard to get here so you might as well enjoy it. Each and every one of you is in the same boat so don’t be afraid to ask the person beside you, their name where they’re from and what they’re doing. Don’t feel awkward about it, that’s how the friendships start. Remember that UCD is huge but there’ll always be someone to talk to, no matter how good or bad your day is going. It’s a huge advantage to come to a place like this.
Welcome to UCD.
You’re in for the time of your life.
Best of luck with it!