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Ciara O Connor

Hello my name is Ciara O Connor and I am your current Vice足 President Welfare with CIT Students' Union 13/14 and I want you to re足elect me to be your Vice President Welfare 14/15. I was a student in CIT for 4 years and graduated with my BA Honours Degree in Early Years Education in October 2013. I was born in Mallow in 1990 but have lived in Cork city for the past five years and I suppose you could say I am a bit of a city girl at heart. At this stage I can say that I have a wealth of experience with the Students' Union in CIT and a great understanding of the national network that is USI. Before I was elected VP Welfare last March, I was a class rep for three years and was part of the Welfare Crew for three years. I have always had an interest in the welfare of students and since becoming involved with the Welfare Crew, I always felt the position of VP Welfare was what I wanted to do. I believe the role of VP Welfare is vital for the students of CIT, and students nationally as the non足 academic side of Student Life is as important and just as relevant as the academic side of college.

Achievements and Milestones Outstanding Contribution , Class Rep CITSU 12/13 Suicide Aware Amber Flag ( Positive Mental Health) ­November 2013 S.H.A.G (Sexual Health and Guidance). Week October '13 Positive Mind & Body Week November '13 Exam De­Stress Week December '14 Moderator European Student Parliament January 2014 Raise and Give R.A.G. 2014 ­ Over €10,000 raised Secured extra S.A.F. Funding Longer Opening times of S.T.I. Clinic Completed ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) December 2014 Attended USI Pink Training along with members of CIT LGBT society Won 4,000 condoms for students in CIT from THINK CONTRACEPTION Co­ author of USI Mental Health Strategy 2014­2017 Fight for Your Future Now Campaign October 13 636 Signatures in CIT for the Mental Health Reform September 13 Induction and Freshers Week September 13 March For Marriage Equality August 14 Memorial Garden for CIT Attendance of all USI National Council with the acceptation of one for Annual Leave and much more..............

Achievements and Milestones

Manifesto Review of CITSU Constitution It has been 9 years since the CITSU constitution has been ratified.Times have changed in CIT Students Union and the constitution does not reflect on those changes. We need a more comprehensive, fair and equal constitution and for this reason I want to see a review of the constitution take place with the new executive and the Students of CIT. "2.4 The Union shall oppose discrimination on the grounds of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, ability, religion, socio-economic status or national origin, which directly affects its members." This needs to be amended or added to to state CITSU had a clear stance on equality among all of its members and will fight for the quality of its students. In a referendum last year we affiliated to Union of Students in Ireland (USI). In our constitution there is no strict period of time in which a referendum should be held to review this affiliation.At the moment we can call for a referendum based on the discretion of the executive and Union Council. This needs to be looked at.Perhaps a time frame be put in place were our affiliation to USI is reviewed for example every 3 years and can go to referendum.

Manifesto Review of CITSU Constitution continued......

"8.29 Site officers may be required at times on campuses other than Bishopstown. They shall be elected according to the schedule of elections from the membership of that site. They will have the right to attend the executive in a speaking but non-voting role. The existence of such an officer shall not remove any responsibility of the other officers to the members on that campus." This statement in the constitution also needs to be reviewed as I believe that a site officer for each campus should be elected as a non-sabbatical officer. It is very hard and can prove less efficient for the Sabbatical team trying to have a presence on all the satellite campuses. Students at the campus could liaise with the site officer, who would in turn liaise with the the Sabbatical Officers in Bishopstown Campus it would make for better communication and bring presence to all the campuses. This elected site officer should also have all the rights as the non-sabbatical officers

Manifesto Equality Following form my last point and equality being included in the constitution, I believe equality is neglected among all the work we do here in the students union. Over the past year as a Sabbatical officer and over my years as a student, I found very little has been done from the students union with regards to the following categories of students: Students with any form of disability Mature Students International Students Students of various religious beliefs The LGBT Community Students from the Travelling community I feel that all members of the executive can take a role in ensuring equality for our students and I feel that this culture needs to change within the students union. This will work with collaboration throughout the college and within the Students' Union.

Manifesto Broaden Campaigns From organising and running campaigns this year I am delighted with how well they went and with the engagement from students but there is always room for improvement. I feel that there a lot of student issues that arise time after time again which I feel there needs to be more awareness created around. I feel that there is a lot more that can be included in many campaigns that are already in place The following are a few areas that I feel there needs to be more awareness and education created on: Bullying and Cyber-bulling Alcohol & Drug Awareness Accommodation and Tenant Right before starting term of academic year Physical Health & Obesity

Manifesto Improve use of E-pub CIT has its very own E-Pub survey. The electronic Personal Use Barometer (e-PUB) is a brief selfassessment that provides you with accurate, detailed and personalized feedback on your use of alcohol, and specific information and helpful resources in the Cork Institute of Technology community. This is a service that is very useful to students and it creates an awareness of what you are actually drinking. It is a very effective tool but participation is very low by comparison to other colleges. At the moment it is quiet inaccessible with a very long link ( I believe that this survey can be utilized a lot more effectively with some promotion of the survey and improving ease of access.

Manifesto Protect the Student Assistance Fund Year after year students are coming under more and more financial pressure and struggles. Many students who get funding from either BTEA, SUSI or any other form sometimes cannot afford the day to day college life on this funding alone. If they do not qualify for any of the above funding, they can find themselves under a lot of pressure and stresses due to a lack of finances. This is why the Student Assistance Fund is so important for students throughout the country and here in CIT. Both in CIT and other colleges throughout the country this year the SAF was used to the maximum leaving little to no funding left by November 2013. We need to ensure that the SAF will be able to allocate and provide funding to the students who need it throughout the year and we need to ensure that there is enough money set aside fr this fund and that it does not run out.

Manifesto Mental Health Policy This year I brought the proposal of developing a Student Mental Health policy to the attention of the President of CIT Dr. Brendan Murphy who is in full support of the policy. I began working on the policy since February 2014 with Dr Dan Collins, Academic Administration & Student Affairs Manager. Since then we have developed a steering committee and have formed a panel of advisors, If re-elected I will be able to continue working with the steering committee on this policy and hopefully we will be able to launch it in the Academic Year 14/15. This policy is vital for students so that they can fulfil their academic and personal potential and thrive in a supportive and caring environment. Many people experience a period of mental distress or mental illness at some stage in their lives. College life is a time of considerable change and challenge which some students find stressful and potentially threatening to their mental well-being.This policy would state the Institutes support for all students by ensuring that support services are in place, including clear guidelines for staff involved in supporting students during periods of distress.

Ciara O Connor for Vice President Welfare CITSU  

Manifesto for candidate Ciara O Connor , Vice President Welfare, CIT Students Union 14/15

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