UCDSU END OF YEAR REPORT 2019/2020 WELFARE OFFICER
Name (ainm): Úna Carroll
Pronunciation (fuaimniú): ooh-na karul
Pronouns (optional) (forainmneacha) (roghnach): She/Her
Position (post): Welfare Officer
Date (dáta): 06/04/2020
Council Number (uimhir na comhairle): 9
Review of actions/plans advanced since last Council (Athbhreithniú ar ghíomhartha agus ar phleananna a méadaíodh ón gcruinniú deireannach)
Ongoing and emerging plans (Pleannana leanúnach agus ag teacht chun cinn)
Transgender Day of Visibility 2020
Mind, Body, and Soul - Online!
Remote student supports
Transgender Day of Visibility 2020
Action: Planned, prepared, and ran a virtual #TDOV2020 with the ever wonderful Leighton Gray. Due to the recent pandemic our day of events had to be cancelled but information was swiftly moved online.
Aim: To raise awareness of the trans community, to highlight the contributions that trans people make to society and the efforts that we still have to make towards a better world for our trans friends. To see Leighton’s hard work shared and appreciated online.
Achievement: I facilitated an Instagram Live with Noah Halpin, the wonderful trans activist from This Is Me - Ireland and chatted about Trans Day of Visibility & some of our trans icons. I shared some information on trans content creators and organisations that support the trans and wider LGBTQ+ community on the @UCDSU Instagram account for the day.
Mind, Body, and Soul - Online!
Action: Keleigh and I shuffled the plans for Mind, Body, and Soul to run the event online. We gave out some wonderful prizes and had a lot of laughs with your submissions!
Aim: To help guide students with resources about self care at this difficult time. To reassure students that I am still working full time behind a screen and here to support them.
Achievement: The week was a success! Thank you to all participants and supporters.
Action: I’ve begun organising my portion of crossover training with our office manager.
Aim: To ensure that the next sabbatical team are given as much useful and relevant training and support with the beginning of their term and that I can pass on as much knowledge as possible.
Achievement: Work has begun and will continue over the coming weeks and months. Best of luck to all candidates running for Exec elections this term!
Remote Student Supports
Action: Lots of FAQ's and updates on the SU website about what we’re/I’m up to and what information we/UCD have around various supports for students. Being available for Zoom meetings and phone calls with students
Aim: To show that I’m still here and I still care about your issues. Don’t be afraid to reach out for advice or support - from any of us. Inclusion of UCD FAQ's in my email signature is hopefully helping.
Achievement: Less repetitive student queries coming to me, lots of clear communication being sent to students.
Plans for forthcoming period (pleananna don tréimhse seo chugainn)
Working on crossover plans and documents with the team
Continue to remotely support students in need
Areas of responsibility which are in need of further development.
10.4 The Welfare Officer
10.4.1 The Welfare Officer shall be responsible for issues that relate to student welfare including but not limited to health services; counselling services; mental health; student parents; campus safety; students with disabilities; crisis pregnancy; financial hardship; sexual health; substance abuse; sexual orientation, identity and rights; and other issues of equality and social significance with the University to ensure effective health promotion.
I don’t disagree with the wording of this provision, but being responsible for issues should be clarified as being the sabbatical officer whose remit covers the above issues and themes, rather than the only individual person in the university. I would define the role of Welfare Officer as running campaigns and events to raise awareness of the above, and sufficient training should be provided for the Welfare Officer on the above so they have updated information to pass onto the students. I feel that this role is to be kept with as much information as it is responsibility.
10.4.2 They shall endeavour to be the first point of contact with all relevant sensitive student cases, and establish and develop an efficient referral service. They shall adhere to strict confidentiality at all times, save where required under law, or unless doing so risks the welfare of the student, in which case they may disclose information only to other appropriate parties.
This provision should ideally read they shall endeavour to be the Students’ Union’s first point of contact with all relevant sensitive student cases , and establish and develop an efficient referral service. This however is not the case and the reality is that our reception staff are the first point of contact for most students that come into our offices and therefore the responsibility (and a bit more internal support) should be given to them, as well as the need for efficient training and update information on supports in UCD. The SU Welfare Officer, or any member of the SU team should not be the first port of call for sensitive student issues. That is far too much of a burden on any twenty-something with no previous experience or training. This role is for advocacy and support yes, but should not be for emergencies and sensitive situations if they can be prevented.
10.4.3 They shall be responsible for maintaining good relations with any employees or services of the University who provide welfare services or student support.
Totally, this makes sense and it has been my pleasure to work alongside our support team in UCD.
10.4.4 They shall work with the Campaigns & Engagement Officer on at least two welfare-focussed campaigns in the course of the year.
I feel that the Welfare Officer role should be way more campaigns focused than any other role. There is more use in my role being one of outreach and engagement than one of internal support and one-on-one work. In my term as Welfare Officer I have been able to engage with more students more positively and effectively over social media or in events that I have run than over emails or in one-on-one sessions. I have over time modelled the type of work that I do to increase engagement with the wider student body taking myself out of my office (or lack thereof) and onto your screens and in your emails. This is how the role should be carried out, this is the type of Welfare Officer that students need to see.
10.4.5 The Welfare Officer shall undertake a programme of relevant training and shall complete a programme of such training in advance of the commencement of the first semester.
I have asked that our Office Manager ensure that the next Welfare Officer, and the rest of the team complete their necessary training as soon as possible. I completed a lot of different training courses in my time but they weren’t all wrapped up until the end of November.
A (sabbatical) year in the life!
Achievements this year:
Lots of training and upskilling opportunities:
First Responder PHECC Training
LGBTQI+ Sexual Health Training
Chemsex & HIV Awareness
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Lots of successful events around various topics:
Period Poverty & Menstrual Shame
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Consent & Empowerment
Medical Students Conference w/ AMSI
SHAG w/ LGBTQ+ Soc
Rant about Rent
Mind, Body, and Soul - Online
A few trips to the Dáil
Lots of team spirit and collaboration:
Winging It 2019/2020
Campaigning in Governing Authority
Digs Drive Campaign
Supports for Sanctuary Students
Smurfit Office Hours
Representing the student voice: what you see
Fitness to continue/practice hearings
Residential disciplinary hearings
Dignity & Respect casework & investigations
Annual Library Staff Day
Boards & Committees: (to name a few)
Student Experience Group
Anonymous Reporting Tool
Residence Review Working Group
Student Finances Committee
Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
Students with Disabilities Working Group
ESHTE National Advisory Committee
Press - TV, Newspaper, and Radio:
Access to PrEP in UCD, the shortest press release ever (oops)
Smashing menstrual shame
Sex work & sugar babies
Student mental health
Rent campaign interview x10
Support in the aftermath of sexual assault
Screaming in the streets:
Trans* Healthcare Provision
March for Choice & Reproductive Healthcare
Gender Recognition for All
What you don’t see:
200+ individual student cases
UCD food voucher scheme
5,000+ menstrual products
Support network meetings
Hours of planning events with Keleigh
Writing speeches with Christina
Aífe McHugh & Rebecca Ely
Our very own frontline heroes. I have the pleasure of working with this duo daily on various student supports.
Our biggest asset and my biggest fan. The only reason that events get run, planned, or organised. My saving grace in most situations, and a microsoft excel queen.
Inventor of Prozac and modern day antidepressants. You get it.
The most dedicated, and hardworking student rep I have ever known, and my biggest support through this rollercoaster of a year! I couldn’t have done a lot of things this year without your support.
Despite your feet being smaller than mine, you left big shoes to fill! You inspired me to work as hard as I have this year and left so many impressions on the support staff that I work with daily. An inspiration in more ways than one.
Another inspiring force to be reckoned with and a wonderful, monochrome hype woman.
THIS is what else has been happening....