NUI Galway Students' Union Annual Report 2019-2020

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NUI Galway Students’ Union Annual Report Tuarascáil Bhliantúil Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn, OÉ Gaillimh

ANNUAL Report 2019-2020

Contents • Clár na nÁbhar

12 34 56 78 9 10 11 12

President’s Foreword • Focal ón Uachtarán Mission Statement/Highlights • Ráiteas Misin/Buaicphointí

Executive Committee 2019/20 • Coiste Feidhmiúcháin 2019/20 SU Council • Comhairle an Chomhaltais

SIN Newspaper • Nuachtán SIN Elections • Toghcháin

Students’ Union Policies • Beartais Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn CÉIM

Life Skills • Scileanna Saoil Fundraising • Tiomsú airgid

Entertainment & Events • Siamsaíocht agus Imeachtaí

13 14 15

Campaigns • Feachtais

Students’ Union Services • Seirbhísí Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn SU Finance • Cúrsaí Airgeadais an Chomhaltais

Incoming Executive 2020/21 • Coiste Feidhmiúcháin 2020/21

Clare k c i t s u A


President’s Foreword Focal ón Uachtarán

It has been a great honour and one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had to lead NUI Galway Students’ Union as President for 2019/2020. It has truly been remarkable working with such an energetic, enthusiastic and ambitious team. Every day, is distinct; bringing new challenges and opportunities, making the work of the union very dynamic, meaningful and paramount. The work of the Students’ Union is incredibly varied including representation on committees to ensure the student voice is always heard at the top tables, organizing themed weeks and campaigns and offering individual support in times of need. At the core of all our work is our mission to ‘promote, defend and vindicate the rights of our members in all levels of society.’ We continuously challenge the way of doing things and always strive for the best possible outcomes for students. A large focus of our work involved addressing and breaking down the barriers that exist when accessing third level education. Additionally, we protested the rent increases in on-campus student accommodation and highlighted the prevalent substandard living conditions and the extortionate rent costs. Our Keep Cup initiative encouraged students to be proactive around the climate emergency and to be mindful and responsible about the environment. We built on previous work ensuring the university continues to foster a culture of inclusion and celebration of asylum seekers, refugees and members of the Irish Travelling Community upon their recent University of Sanctuary designation. We furthered the agenda on consent education and substance use and misuse and ensured effective policies are in place to support and protect vulnerable students. We participated actively in the crafting of the University’s new strategic plan ensuring full accountability and making issues that are important to students a priority. Towards the end of the term, in partnership with the university, we adapted to the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus global pandemic to ensure students were not disadvantaged leading up to exams. It was important to provide emotional, financial and academic support. The victories of the Union are attributed to a number of people who have worked tirelessly to make things happen. I would like to thank the NUI Galway staff for all their support and engagement throughout the year. I would like to extend my gratitude to our own staff; Chris the general manager, Lorna the receptionist and Joanna the assistant manager

who are the driving force behind the successful daily running of the Union. Their advice and guidance has been of immense value. An important acknowledgement to Amber, Órla and Emma who are passionate and dedicated to the CÉIM Peer Learning Project helping first year students transition and navigate their way through college by providing a welcoming and inclusive learning environment. To the Board of Trustees for their oversight and all the hard-working staff in Students’ Union Commercial Services (SUCS) Ltd. for providing high quality services for the NUI Galway community. I would also like to thank my team of nineteen officers and all the class reps who are the backbone to the progress and success of the Union. Lastly, a special note to Brandon Walsh, Vice President for Welfare & Equality and Cameron Keighron, Vice President for Education who have helped hundreds of our members through advocacy, campaigns and support offered at every individual encounter. Our year would not have been as triumphant without your diligence and perseverance. NUI Galway Students’ Union has been in existence for 56 years challenging and breaking down the barriers to education, battles we still face. We have come a long way; grown, adapted and been shaped into the organization we are today. Every new year brings new challenges and opportunities. Our primary motivation has always been our desire to do good and be a force for positive change on campus and in the wider community and I hope our contributions are felt well beyond our term. On behalf of Brandon Walsh, Cameron Keighron, our Executive Committee, the SU Council, the entire staff and myself, I present to you with pride the annual report for 2019/2020 of NUI Galway Students’ Union.

Ní neart go cur le chéile,



Mission Statement/Highlights Ráiteas Misin/Buaicphointí

NUI Galway Students’ Union was originally established in 1911 as the Students’ Representative Council. This council was short-lived, the re-establishment of the body was proposed in 1913. The council was firmly established by the mid-1920’s and in the 1960’s was formally developed into the university’s Students’ Union, then known as Comhairle Teachta na Mac Léinn.

collaboration, courses and scholarships offered. This year NUI Galway offered 6 undergraduate and 3 postgraduate scholarships through the initiative which will be built upon year on year. •

We engaged with both local and national media on many student issues including the cost of student accommodation, the barriers that exist when accessing higher education, the importance of voting in the general election, tips on exam stress and much more to ensure the student voice was always represented and on the agenda.

We collaborated with the One Galway movement to host a General Elections Hustings on campus to ensure students and the wider community were informed on the different candidates and their policies in advance of casting their votes.

We coordinated the Freeze the Four campaign to reverse the decision taken to increase the on-campus student accommodation rents by 4% . This included a letter writing campaign, media attention, rallies, protests, attending meetings and camping out and occupying the Quad.

We helped organise and participated in the second Christmas Tree Lighting celebrating staff and students coming together as part of the NUI Galway community.

We raised €10,000 for our two chosen charities this year: Sexual Health West and Domestic Violence Response.

We presented to the University Management Team on student issues.

We held our first AGM in 10 years at the first Student Council of the year to be more accountable and transparent with the Union’s finances.

Founded in 1964 the function of the Union as per the Constitution shall be “to represent its members and promote, defend and vindicate the rights of its members at all levels of society”. “An injury to one is an injury to all” Highlights 2019/20 •

We succeeded in securing funding for the exam buses out to our satellite exam venues in Salthill. Students will no longer have to pay for transport to these facilities. We brought forward a proposal and secured €57,000 for the Library Laptop Loan Scheme initiative. Students who don’t have their own personal laptops or can’t avail of a computer on campus will be able to borrow one of the laptops for a few hours a day from the library.

We distributed 3,000 Keep Cups across campus and had over 3,000 students sign our Sustainability Pledge committing to being more sustainable and environmentally friendly in their everyday lives.

We helped NUI Galway receive the University of Sanctuary designation through our involvement and contribution on the steering committee since it was initiated in 2017. The University of Sanctuary campaign aims to make NUI Galway more inclusive and welcoming to asylum seekers, refugees and members of the Irish Traveling Community through events,

We increased voter turnout out by 4.5% in the Students’ Union Elections Full Time Officer Elections from 2019.

We ran campaigns on mental health, sexual health awareness and guidance, voter registration, breaking the barriers in accessing education, climate change and sustainability, exam destress and empowering women to participate in sports.

We increased student engagement on various issues on campus through regular working group meetings on sustainability, the student levy, the constitution and living wage.

We were actively involved in the crafting of the University’s new Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 ‘Shared Vision Shaped by Values’ where two of the core values ‘Openness’ and ‘Sustainability’ were mainly driven forward by students. Students had their say and were listened to. The University will be accountable in ensuring their flagship goals are achieved in making NUI Galway a more sustainable and inclusive campus.

We collaborated with the national union, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) throughout the year at national councils, national campaigns and addressing student issues. We sent students to their main events such as Pink Training, Women Lead, the Power of Disability – A National Forum and the Mature Students’ Seminar. CÉIM, our peer assisted learning programme, saw another great year of success. The programme was commended in the CINNTE Institutional Review Report and it was recommended the programme be mainstreamed. The number of students offered CÉIM increased by over 35% this year. The Students’ Union was involved in a University investment of nearly €200,000 into scoping out more inclusive learning practices. We campaigned to highlight the barriers that students face in their learning environment. This allowed the Students’ Union to plan and facilitate workshops training staff in inclusive practices for teaching, plan an international conference on Universal Design for Learning and launch a new Blackboard app called Ally that enables students to download their learning material in more accessible formats. The SU International Officers and Vice President/ Education Officer were involved in the ENLIGHT project which is a culmination of teamwork and effort from 9 universities around Europe, working together to create a connected community and support accessible and mobile learning. If funding is granted students will have the opportunity to move between each of these universities, either physically or through online learning, and have a cohesive degree from across the EU. If successful, the opening event of this project will be hosted here in NUI Galway.

The Union took a more proactive approach to Postgraduate Students, electing over 100 Postgraduate class reps and creating a better environment of engagement between Postgrad students and the Union. A position paper was drawn up of key areas to advocate for Postgrad students on including working and pay conditions, access to resources, stipends, mental, physical and financial support for PhD students and support for Postgraduate Taught students.

For the third year running, NUI Galway was selected by USI to host Pink Training, Europe’s largest LGBT+ workshop weekend. We had over 300 delegates participate in workshops over 3 days looking at how to make your SU more LGBT+ friendly, how to be a good ally or to explore a part of your identity in a safe environment. We were delighted to be part of such an amazing event highlighting the importance of the LGBT+ community.

We worked to establish greater links with Shannon College of Hotel Management, speaking at their 1st year orientation, electing several class reps and visiting them several times a semester.

A working group was set up to look at the core document that governs what we do – our SU Constitution. This working group posed a referendum that challenged what people thought made an effective Students’ Union Executive. While this referendum failed, it posed several important questions about the Students’ Union going forward.

A protest was held in the lead up to the General Election as the University had handed over the Áras na Mac Léinn building to RTÉ for a leaders debate event. This effectively locked students and staff out of the building and also caused disruptions for many societies. The protest of 70 students was led by the SU Societies Chairperson and the protestors took over space in the Quad to highlight the issue to the University Management Team and voice their frustration at the lack of consultation with staff and students regarding the closure of Áras na Mac Léinn.

NUI Galway SU was shortlisted for eight categories in the Student Achievement Awards Ireland including: Part Time Officer of the Year – Pádraic Toomey, Full Time Officer of the Year – Clare Austick, International Student of the Year - Mansi Kesarwani, Equality Campaign of the Year – University of Sanctuary, Outstanding Mental Health Activism - Emma Jane Kinsella, Student Representative of the Year - Reíltin Tynan, Postgraduate Champion of the Year – Cameron Keighron, Access Champion of the Year – SU Laptop Loan Scheme.


Executive Committee 2019/20 Coiste Feidhmiúcháin 2019/20

Vice President / Education Officer Leas Uachtarán / Oifigeach Oideachais

Cameron Keighron

Oifigeach na Gaeilge Irish Language Officer

Erin Mac An tSaoir

Societies Chairperson Cathaoirleach na gCumann

Oissíne Moore

Kenny Cooke

International Students Officer Oifigeach na Mac Léinn Idirnáisiúnta

Avery Fenton

Clare Austick

Brandon Walsh

Mature Students’ Officer Oifigeach Mic Léinn Lánfhásta

Postgraduate Research Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe i mbun Taighde

Chuka Paul Oguekwe

Clubs Captain Captaen na gClubanna

Scott Green

Convenor of the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences / Tionólaí Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais & na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte

Aisling Fitzgerald

Gender and LGBT+ Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Inscne agus LADT+

Kaushik Narasimhan

Emily Tock

SU Council Chairperson / Cathaoirleach na Comhairle do Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn

Pádraic Toomey

Convenor of the College of Science Tionólaí Choláiste na hEolaíochta

Vice-President / Welfare and Equality Officer Leas-Uachtarán / Oifigeach Leasa agus Comhionannais

President / Uachtarán

Martin Smyth

Clodagh McGivern

Morgan Queeney

Dheeraj Gudluru

Convenor of the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies / Tionólaí Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta & an Léinn Cheiltigh

Convenor of the College of Business, Public Policy & Law / Tionólaí Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bhearais Phoiblí agus an Dlí

Gender and LGBT+ Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Inscne agus LADT+

Postgraduate Taught Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe Teagasctha

Convenor of the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies / Tionólaí Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta & an Léinn Cheiltigh

Laura O’Toole

Convenor of the College of Engineering & Informatics / Tionólaí Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na Faisnéisíochta

Sachi Sinha

Disability Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Míchumais

Ethnic Minorities Officer Oifigeach na Mionlach Eitneach

Alex Coughlan

Victoria Chihumura


SU Council Comhairle an Chomhaltais

This year saw us elect over 450 class reps ranging from Undergraduates, Postgraduates, adult learners, and part time distance learners. We faced several challenges in electing reps in ascertaining which classes had reps and which did not as well as how we should be electing them. This sparked conversations on what process we have in place for electing reps and whether this should be reformed. Class rep training was completely reimagined this year with a major focus on interactive exercises and networking with other reps, this ensured that reps had the skills needed to partake in council but also met other people to make it seem less daunting to come along. We decided to bring SU Council closer to our offices and SULT leading to better retention of reps post council and building a more social network between the reps and the exec. We saw a greater number of motions come through Council than

previous years, with even more due to come through before the unfortunate cancelling of the last council of the year due to Covid-19. We also relaxed the timings of council and encouraged those who wanted to speak to use their voice for their classes. This encouraged a wide range of debates and interesting conversations! Due to Covid-19, our last council and few weeks of the semester were moved online. This was an unprecedented time for the Union and the University. We tried to keep our reps updated with all relevant information throughout this time, emailing them twice a week with all information they needed to know. This helped us retain a connection to our reps despite not being able to meet in person.

SU Chairperson, SU College Convenors and Postgraduate Officers of 2019/2020 A special thanks for the work done by the Chairperson, College Convenors and Postgraduate Officers on electing and engaging with Class Representatives. • • • • • • • •

SU Council Chairperson – Scott Green Convenor of College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies – Martin Smyth Convenor of College of Science – Kenny Cooke Convenor of College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences – Aisling Fitzgerald Convenor of College of Business, Public Policy & Law – Clodagh McGivern Convenor of College of Engineering & Informatics – Sachi Sinha Postgraduate Research Officer – Emily Tock Postgraduate Taught Officer – Dheeraj Gudluru


SIN Newspaper Nuachtán SIN

SIN (Student Independent News) is Galway’s only student newspaper with 12 issues, one per fortnight. SIN is published over the academic year and has a circulation of 6,000 copies. The paper is student and campus focused, celebrating the achievements of NUI Galway’s students, athletes, artists, writers, and staff. Everyone can contribute to SIN, and we have a variety of volunteer writers from disciplines such as law, commerce, and journalism.

2019/2020 Highlights:

2019/2020 Team:

• • • • • • • •

Editor – Mark Lynch Deputy Editor and News – Paddy Henry Features – Shauna McHugh Opinion – Anastasia Burton Fashion and Lifestyle – Catherine Taylor Arts and Entertainment – Sarah Gill Sport – Darren Casserly Online – Daniel Brennan

This year, SIN published 12 editions, 6 per semester. This includes our Election Special, which added on 8 pages to our regular 32-page Issue 10. This issue contained in-depth, exclusive interviews with all candidates for the full-time Students’ Union elections, as well as interviews with outgoing officers and a vox-pop of students from various disciplines and colleges in NUI Galway. Shannon Reeves is our designer and has worked on SIN for a number of years. He helped SIN to try new things with our layout and presentation of content throughout the year, such as the Students’ Union election results in Issue 11.

• •

SIN covered ground-breaking stories this year, such as updates on student accommodation, the student levy, and the story of two former NUI Galway students fighting for Islamic extremists. SIN also featured an exclusive full-page interview with NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, in which he discussed important issues. For two consecutive issues (8 & 9), SIN’s team of volunteers filled the entire 32 pages without the editor needing to contribute to writing. SIN introduced a crossword competition this year, which strongly boosted engagement with the paper. SIN also grew its online presence this year by joining Instagram (@sin_news) to plug upcoming articles and announce when issues are released, amassing almost 200 followers in its first 4 months. SIN trialled distributing the paper in person to students on several occasions, which was shown to significantly increase readership and engagement.

SIN is published in association with the NUI Galway Students’ Union, but retains editorial independence.


Elections Toghcháin

In September elections were held to fill the vacant positions of Postgraduate Taught Officer and Convenor of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. Dheeraj Gudluru and Martin Smyth were elected respectively to the positions. A further by-election was held in November to fill the position of Gender and LGBT+ Rights Officer after Morgan Queeney resigned and this was filled by Kaushik Narasimhan. A referendum was held in January to look at restructuring Students’ Union Officer roles including reducing the number of officer positions but this was defeated with a disappointing turnout of just 889 students. In March thirty students put their names on ballot papers seeking election to the 2020-2021 Students’ Union Executive. However there were no candidates interested in running for four of the part time officer positions which again led to questions about the size and structure of the executive committee. Due to the merging of the two Colleges the Science Convenor and Engineering/Informatics Convenor positions are now one position of Convenor of College of Science and Engineering. Three polling stations and an online Remote Vote option were available for students to cast their votes. Ken Curtin oversaw the elections and there was excellent election coverage from Sin and Flirt FM along with a packed hustings event at Sult for the full time officer elections which saw 2,700 students coming out to vote. Unfortunately, polling had to be cut short in the part time officer elections due to the COVID-19 crisis but the election and vote count were both completed before the campus closed with just 582 students voting. The SU Council Chair election could not go ahead due to the lockdown so this will be held in the 2020-21 academic year along with an election of the vacant positions of International Officer, Societies Chairperson, Convenor of College of Business, Public Policy & Law and Ethnic Minorities Officer. The successful candidates in the elections were:

Position President

Name Pádraic Toomey

Vice President /Education Officer

Emma Sweeney

Vice President /Welfare & Equality Officer

Róisín Nic Lochlainn

Oifigeach na Gaeilge

Erin Mac an tSaoir

Mature Students’ Officer

Michelle Mitchell

Gender & LGBT+ Rights Officer

Maeve Arnup

Disability Rights Officer

Patricia O’Mahony

Postgraduate Taught Officer

Martin Smyth

Postgraduate Research Officer

Sebastiaan Bierema

Clubs’ Captain

Kirsty Moran

Convenor of College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies

Claire McHale

Convenor of College of Science and Engineering

Aoife Buckley

Convenor of College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Evan O’Flaherty


Students’ Union Policies Beartais Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn

NUI Galway Students’ Union adopts policies on various issues. Policy can be set by the Executive Committee, SU Council or a referendum of all members of the Students’ Union. The following policies have been agreed by referendum in recent years: Students’ Union position on reunification of the island of Ireland Passed March 2017 NUI Galway Students’ Union supports the reunification of the island of Ireland and calls on the State to hold a national referendum on the question of such reunification. Students’ Union position on the Direct Provision System Passed March 2016 The Students’ Union condemns the direct provision system which is inhumane and denies asylum seekers their basic rights and calls for its abolition and replacement with a system which respects the human rights of asylum seekers. In line with policy supported by the Migrant Rights Centre and other concerned NGOs. Students’ Union position on the Decriminalisation of Drugs Passed March 2016 The Students’ Union has adopted a position actively supporting the decriminalisation of drugs solely for personal use. Students’ Union position on the Legalisation and Regulation of the Cultivation, Sale and Possession of Cannabis Passed March 2015 The Students’ Union has adopted a position supporting the legalisation and regulation of the cultivation, sale and possession of cannabis. Students’ Union position on the issue of couples of the same gender availing of Civil Marriage Passed March 2014 The Students’ Union has a policy of supporting couples of the same gender availing of civil marriage. Following the national referendum in May 2015, this policy has been fulfilled. Students’ Union position on the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the State of Israel Passed March 2014 The Students’ Union adopted a position in support of the campaign of “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the State of Israel” (BDS Campaign) Students’ Union position on the Issue of Abortion Passed March 2013 The Students’ Union has a Pro-Choice position in support of the national campaign for full reproductive rights, which include a woman’s right to abortion, whether elective or medically necessary. No Platform Policy Passed March 2012 The Students’ Union is mandated to oppose any invitation to members of various organisations to speak at the University. Full details available on the Students’ Union Website.



CÉIM, our peer assisted learning programme, was commended in the CINNTE Institutional Review Report and it was recommended the programme be mainstreamed. The number of students offered CÉIM increased by over 35% this year. Supporting the first year experience Initiated by NUI Galway Students’ Union in 2013, CÉIM is a co-curricular academic peer learning programme that supports 1st year students’ transition to higher education, health and wellbeing, academic success, progression and development of transferable skills.

2019/20 highlights • The CINNTE Institutional Review Report commended the work conducted by CÉIM and recommended it be mainstreamed. • The number of students offered CÉIM increased by over 35% as a result of introducing the programme in the School of Psychology and expanding in the School of Law. • Subject to continued funding, it is planned that CÉIM will be further rolled out in the College of Science and Engineering and piloted in the School of Medicine. • The LIFT ( roundtable process was trialled with CÉIM leaders. How CÉIM works CÉIM is based on the well-evidenced Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) or Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) model used in over 30 countries. Student leaders from higher years facilitate weekly study sessions for small groups of 1st year students, creating peer-led learning communities where it’s easy to ask questions.

CÉIM in numbers

1,650 3 105 500 5,000 10-31% 99% 100%

Students offered CÉIM in 2019/20* Out of 4 NUI Galway Colleges partner with CÉIM Student leaders this year Hours of peer learning sessions delivered this year Hours volunteered by CÉIM leaders this year Higher grades achieved by regular CÉIM attendees Leader retention rate More leaders applied than currently required * Many Arts students are offered CÉIM in multiple subjects

‘One of the reasons I decided to study at NUI Galway was because of CÉIM.’ 2019/20 1st year student ‘100% the best thing about CEIM is the greater involvement it gives you with the university community. It is also great to be able to help other 1st years out in areas where you have struggled before.’ 2019/20 CÉIM leader


Life Skills Programme Scileanna Saoil

The Life Skills Programme saw the Students’ Union running courses throughout the year to allow students the opportunity to enhance their life skills away from their academic studies and also improve their employability. The programme continues to go from strength to strength with over 400 students completing 12 different courses. A new addition to the courses offered this year was LIFT Leadership training. LIFT stands for Leading Ireland’s Future Together and the aim of LIFT is to build a better Ireland by developing leaders of character across our country. The SU led LIFT roundtables covering a different leadership theme each week including Listening; Positive Attitude; Respect; Empathy & Understanding; Honesty & Integrity; Competence; Determination and Accountability. In partnership with Galway Rape Crisis Centre a course in Disclosure Training was again offered to students this year which equipped them with the skills to deal appropriately with a disclosure of sexual violence. Child Protection Training was offered in partnership with the National Youth Council of Ireland. The SU worked with the Emergency Services Training Institute to bring more First Aid Responder, and Cardiac First Responder courses to Campus. These classes gave students vital lifesaving skills to allow them to deal with emergency situations. The SU worked with the HSE Suicide Prevention Officer to promote Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and safeTALK courses to equip students with the skills to recognise the danger signs for someone who is a suicide risk. The SU teamed up with Professional MMA Fighter Benjamin Davis from Shaolin MMA Galway to provide a very popular Mixed Martial Arts for Self Defence course. A series of sign language courses were held during the year which gave students the basic skills needed to converse in sign language with deaf people. There was a welcome return of the ever popular SU Barista Course in conjunction with The Coffee Company. The half day course gave students the opportunity to learn basic barista skills and all course fees were donated to the SU Charity fund. The Students’ Union also worked with Galway One World Centre to bring their popular Anti-Racism training course back to campus. Students got to de-stress and improve their flexibility at the SU Yoga classes which are now held all year round.


Fundraising Tiomsú Airgid

NUI Galway Students’ Union ran a selection of unique charity events this year raising €10,000 for our chosen charities: Sexual Health West (formerly AIDS West) and Domestic Violence Response. Sexual Health West offer the highest quality care and support to those affected by HIV/AIDS/STIs and to those worried about their sexual health. Domestic Violence Response are a community led organisation responding to the issue of domestic abuse in County Galway. In October we held several half day Barista Courses for students thanks to The Coffee Company. Students gained useful barista skills and all proceeds went to the SU Charities. In November we launched our new fundraising product Big Yellow Thing Socks just in time for Graduation season. The socks designed by Galway Company Irish Socksciety feature a tribute to the iconic “Galway Yellow” (AKA Big Yellow Thing) sculpture on campus. All proceeds from the sock sales went to the SU Charity fund with the socks proving very popular as graduation and Christmas presents for students and staff. The socks will be sold all year round from the SU Office, SU Shop and SU Website. In December students got to take part in The Ultimate Study Break with the Charity Cake Sale AND Pet Farm Visit during study week. Campus was invaded by llamas, goats, lambs, rabbits, sheep, chickens, ducks, guinea pigs and chicks. There was also plenty of cake, tea, raffle prizes and tunes from Flirt FM. Our SU Charity Comedy gig featured comedian Neil Delamere in January in the O’Flaherty Theatre with all proceeds going to the SU Charites from a hilarious night. SU Officers and volunteers took to the streets of Galway on a cold, windy but sunny Saturday in February for their annual Charity Collection Day during which they convinced the good people of Galway to part with their spare change! We held two saucy, sold out rounds of Sex Toy Bingo at Sult during the year to raise more funds for the SU Charities. We also received a very generous donation from our good friends at Electric to add to our fundraising total for the year.


Entertainment & Events Siamsaíocht agus Imeachtaí

Freshers’ September 2018 Freshers’ events this year included another massive week of Orientation which included our Outdoor Cinema at NUI Galway, Speed Friending, Bingo, DJs, karaoke, Clubs day, Societies day and the ALIVE Volunteering Fair. The Freshers’ Fair was back with student friendly companies, inflatables, freebies and yummy food from market stalls welcoming students to campus. 12,000 copies of the free SU Diary were snapped up by students in less than two weeks! Freshers’ Gigs included a table quiz with comedian Karl Spain, tunes from Coafalla & Engel and Oldskool, DJ’s, karaoke and Bingo Loco at Sult. Students also got the opportunity to meet the SU Officers during an Ask Me Anything takeover at Sult and to take part in an officer Treasure Hunt. Working and Travelling Abroad Fair The eighth annual NUI Galway Students’ Union Working and Travelling Abroad Fair took place at the end of January in Áras na Mac Léinn. This FREE Event brought together J1 Visa Companies, travel companies, volunteering/adventure companies, internship and training companies to help NUI Galway students plan their summer. Comedy Over the year NUI Galway students again had a chance to see award winning comedy on Campus at a fraction of the usual ticket price with all gigs just €5! The year’s comedy kicked off with a mesmerising gig from comedy hypnotist Barry Jones as part of our Freshers’ events in September. There were two saucy, sold out editions of Sex Toy Bingo at Sult during the year with all funds raised going to the SU Charity Fund. In January comedian Neil Delamere brought his show “End of Watch” to the O’Flaherty Theatre with support from Gearóid Farrelly and all proceeds went to the SU Charities. Pink Training In November/December we were delighted to again host 300+ delegates attending Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Pink Training along with GIG Soc. Pink Training is the largest LGBT+ training event in Europe bringing together hundreds of LGBT+ students and their allies to get informed about their rights, their access to power and what they can do to bring about positive change in Irish society. Wind Down Week Events In December we held a number of free events over Wind Down Week to give students a well needed break from the books including yoga classes, hula hoop classes, a cake sale, a pet farm visit, meditation workshops and a chance to meet some soothing reptiles. We also distributed exam destress items including the very popular SU Keep Cups and colouring books. Sult continued to make sure everyone was well fed with free porridge during exam season with every tea/coffee.

Outreach Projects In September the SU supported the Fierce As Female event in Salthill which featured a huge boxing class for women to encourage female participation in sports. The SU also promoted the 20x20 movement which aims to increase female participation in all levels of sport along with improving media coverage of women in sport and attendance at women’s games. The SU Clubs Captain Pádraig organised a rowing challenge with Student Sport Ireland as part of this campaign. To increase student fitness and participation levels the SU Clubs Captain also organised a talk on Resistance Training and Nutrition along with Gaelic Football training for International Students. In October we hosted the Road Safety Authority shuttle and crash simulators on campus for a very informative Road Safety Awareness Day. We also distributed 100’s of high vis items and bike lights to keep students safe and seen. In November the SU supported the Coldvember fundraising campaign which raised funds for Mental Health Services for Students at NUI Galway. Each day in November they took the plunge at Blackrock for a swim and were joined (occasionally!) by SU staff member Joanna and Clubs’ Captain Pádraig in the icy waters. The SU continued to encourage students to register to vote throughout the year with Voter Registration Drives for first time voters and also in the lead up to the General Election along with encouraging Graduates to register for their Seanad Éireann vote. We also hosted a General Election meet the candidates event in February together with One Galway. In March the SU organised 53 NUI Galway teams who competed in the Marchathon Challenge. Despite the COVID-19 Emergency 210 staff and students took part and completed the challenge over the 4 weeks. Top performing NUIG team the Red Hot Chili Steppers averaged an incredible 452,966 steps over the course of the challenge! Hot on their heels were the ISS Plodders team followed in third place by the SU Stride of Pride team. Throughout the year the SU continued to work with Galway 2020 and other community groups on the EYE on the Edge project which will hopefully take place at NUIG at the end of September 2020.


Campaigns Feachtasaí

NUI Galway Students’ Union ran many campaigns throughout the 2019/20 academic year. These ranged from welfare campaigns focussing on mental health and sexual health to exam de-stress campaigns, accommodation protests and more. This year we developed and ran a sustainability working group in which people who had an interest in any area of sustainability could feed in and ensure that there are steps being taken by the university to be as eco-friendly as possible. Some of the initiatives that we got involved in this year were trying to reduce the number of single use plastic in commercial services on campus and looking into getting more water coolers and microwaves on campus. The SU also secured funding and distributed 3,000 free keep cups to NUI Galway students. The new #TellTheSU campaign was run throughout the year to encourage students to get in touch with the SU with any issues they were having no matter how small. This campaign led to the SU highlighting lots of issues with the appropriate University staff members to make students’ lives better one small step at a time. In September the SU led students from the University to Eyre Square to take part in the Global Climate Strike. The University Green Flag was also lowered to half-mast as a symbolic gesture by the University Community to demonstrate solidarity with the striking school students. Mental Health Week events took place in October to encourage students to take time to look after their mental health. During the week there were mindfulness classes, therapy dogs in the library, free sports activities, panel talks and self-care events. In October the National #BreakTheBarriers protest in Dublin had to be cancelled due to Storm Lorenzo. However, the SU and USI still campaigned throughout the year against barriers to accessing education such as the high cost of accommodation, lack of public funding for education, low SUSI grant levels and the lack of affordable transport infrastructure. In late October the SU Disability Officer organised events to highlight accessibility issues at NUI Galway. These included a drop in clinic about students’ rights, a talk on best practice in emergency situations for those with disabilities and online events looking at the accessibility of campus and social aspects of disability. There was also a murder mystery event with the Sign Language Society

Wind Down Week was back in December to give students a break from the books in the lead up to the Christmas exams. During the week there was free yoga, mindfulness and meditation along with hula hoop classes. The ever popular charity cake sale and pet farm visit was back too. The Animal Ambassadors were on hand with snakes, lizards, mantids and snails eager to make new friends. The 3,000 SU Keep Cups were also distributed this week to all students signing the SU Sustainability pledge. The annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony also took place with choirs and lots of festive cheer providing a welcome break from the exam stress. This year’s SHAG Week was a great success. We held a broad range of events from Workshops with the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and COPE Galway, Sex Toy Bingo, a hugely successful Bra Collection by BioMed Soc and an information Stand with USI, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and Sexual Health West. We also had many charity events during the week that raised over €1,000 for our chosen charities: Sexual Health West and Domestic Violence Response. With the arrival of Coronavirus the SU moved to provide as much online support for students during the crisis as possible. Regular updates of students on all issues were circulated to provide reassurance and stability during the global pandemic.


Students’ Union Services Seirbhísí Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn

Sult 2019 / 2020 was another jam-packed year at everyone’s favourite on-campus bar / food / music / live sports and event space. We crammed in record numbers of live shows; class parties; fundraisers; barbeques; signature pizza and filthy food nights. Our Bia Boxes continued to tick all the right boxes, going from strength-to-strength alongside our new Street Food offering, and we managed to deliver more of your favourite drinks; mega deals and special discounts than ever before! In the past year, we were thrilled to have hosted and supported a huge number of events including: • • • • • • • • •

20 x Humanitarian & Charity Fundraising Events 110 x Class Parties 110 x Society Events 90 x Club Parties 120 x Departmental & Postgrad Staff Parties 45 x Students’ Union Events 105 x Live Sport events on our big screens Broadcasts to the Nation! And much, much more!!

Plus, all your favourite DJs; bands; comedians; karaoke; raunchy cabaret nights; craic on your favourite Riverside Terrace and loads, loads more! And don’t forget – every society, club and class party event qualifies for complimentary finger food when their event takes place at Sult! We’ll pick up the tab, because we’re sound like that! Plus, free nightclub entry that night!! Where would you get it?! In addition to our regular specail offers and giveaways, Sult continued its deals like free porridge with your morning tea / coffee, ensuring NUI Galway students don’t start the day on an emply stomach – especially important during the cold winter months exam times! Students’ Union Shop The Students’ Union Shop, your only on-campus convenience store, continued to perform strongly all year, providing discounted newspapers, water, fruit and all of your stationary and grocery needs! The SU Shop also got a fresh new look with all new internal and external LED lighting and signage, really brightening up the Shop and also reducing our annual energy consumption. We’ve also extended our grocery and household departments, making it easier for you to grab all your essentials on the way home! The SU Shop continued to go up against the biggest and the best and beat them too! Ár Siopa received the top national honour of a 5 Star Award at the annual XL ‘Store of the Year Awards’ for achieving and maintaining the highest standards in the industry.

Smokey’s Café Smokey’s Café is still the top spot to relax / unwind / meet friends / plan your nights out over a cup of the very best coffee on campus, bar none. Smokey’s continued to facilitate microwave facilities for students and staff all year. We have also introduced new delicious products to our breakfast, lunch and evening menus which are proving very popular with our customers. Keep an eye out for our regular offers and promotions which we update on a monthly basis during term and we’re always open to your suggestions too! SU Card Our SU Card has been guaranteeing you better value; discounts; freebies and making it easier for dear loved ones to “put a few quid on the Card” for almost 10 years! Available for use in every Students’ Union Commercial Services outlet, it’s our way of saying “thank you” to the students and staff who support us all year, every year – without you there is no us! Some highlights of the SU Card in 2019 / 2020: • • • • •

Almost 2 million SU Card loyalty points awarded. Nearly 2,000 dinners given to members. Almost 12,000 free teas/coffees. In excess of 10,000 active accounts in 2019 / 2020. Gentle craic; zany updates; sound advice and top notch heads’-uppery on offers, events, discounts and campus news straight into your inbox via the SU Card Newsletter!

Sustainability Working closely with the Galway-based Ethincal Coffee Co. and Fairtrade Ireland, all of our teas, coffees, sugars and condiments in all of Students’ Union Commercial Services outlets are Fairtrade and Organic. All our coffee is also 100% shadegrown Arabica, from Puro, making it the finest and most ethical available anywhere, on or near your campus. All of our cups, lids stirrers etc., are completely compostable too! All that and it’s still the very best value on campus. Fact! Go on – treat yourself! Reinvesting in You As always, the profits earned from any Students’ Union services are reinvested in the Students’ Union to further develop and expand the suite of services we offer. What makes the Students’ Union services unique is the money you spend on campus stays on campus. Students’ Union Commercial Services Ltd., (Sult, Smokey’s, SU Shop) contribute €30,000 to the Student Projects Fund every year making it the biggest single contributor to the fund. Our commercial services company also contributes in excess of €250,000 to the university to help fund all of the services it provides and gives €30,000 directly to the Students’ Union. All the contributions outlined above are made regardless of profitability, to assist with the valuable work carrid out by the respective parties.


Student Employment Over 85% of our staff, across all our operational units – Sult, Smokey’s, the SU Shop – are also students. Keeping our trading income on campus and in your pockets! Sponsorship of Student Events Over the course of the year we support many of the good causes run by the different charities, clubs and societies on campus. Lockers The Students’ Union rents lockers in various locations across campus. 1,749 student lockers were rented this year. Student Leap Cards A massive 4,792 Student Leap Cards were purchased from the Students’ Union this year. Students can now avail of a top of service in the SU to add credit to their Leap Cards and save more money. Secondhand Books The Secondhand bookshop service continues to go from strenght to strength. We sold 1,568 of your books this year. Students’ Union Cloakroom The Cloakroom is run and SEOMRA managed by the Students’ Union. CÓTAÍ Cloakroom staff are all students and the service is provided free of AN CHOMHALTAIS SU LOCKERS charge to students on Thursday and Fridays during term time.

Students’ Union Diary 12,000 free Students’ Union diaries were distributed in the first semester. The diary is a useful resource for students and contains information on exam dates, campus facilities and Clubs & Societies. KROOM


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SU Finance Cúrsaí Airgeadais an Chomhaltais

Income Statement 30 June 2019 Income Statement 30 June 2019


The Students’ Union financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June. The details below relate to year ending 30 June 2019.

Student Levy

The Union’s income has remained steady in the past year. The University increased CÉIM funding and in the current financial year we are happy to report that CÉIM funding has increased again to the point where it is adequately funded. The Union’s main funding continues to be the Student Levy. From the €224 levy payable by all students, the Union receives an allocation of €25.14.

€21,713 €854 €437,634 €13,270 €21,713 €36,000 €854 €30,000 €13,270 €80,396 €36,000 €102,000 €30,000 €721,867 €80,396

CÉIM Funding


Total Income Expenditure


Staff and Officer Costs Total Staff & Officer Costs Expenditure Officer & Staff Expenses Staff and Officer Costs Training,Development &Welfare Total Staff & Officer Costs Total Staff and Officer Costs Officer & Staff Expenses

The funding allocated by the University from the current €3,000 student contribution is €80,396. This appears to be the lowest rate of students’ union funding in the country. It is a situation that needs to be monitored. Other students’ unions receive the majority of their funding from the student contribution and other student supports in their institutions are not adversely affected.

€244,879 €10,251 €19,273 €244,879 €274,403 €10,251

Training,Development &Welfare Office & Administration Total Staff and Officer Costs Subscriptions & Membership

In addition to providing excellent services to the campus community, and supporting hundreds of student events, Students’ Union Commercial Services also makes a financial contribution to the activities of the Union of €36,000. The Union also receives a portion of the licence fee paid by Sult to the University. The Union seeks to use its resources to deliver for its members and all expenditure is viewed in that way. 43% of expenditure was on Representation and Services and 15% was spent on Office and Administration. The remaining 42% was Staff and Officer Costs. At the end of last year we recorded a surplus of €64,571. Whilst we don’t budget for a surplus of this level, we are mindful that we are a private sector organisation and we require a strong balance sheet and cash at hand to keep us stable. Most of our funding is received in the second quarter of the year but staff and officer costs, as well as office and administration costs accrue on a monthly basis. Also, as a representative body we need to ensure that we have the resources to allow us to react to issues outside of our control.


Locker Rentals Income Secondhand Books - Income Student Levy Student Leapcard Commission Locker Rentals Contribution from Students' Union Commercial Services Secondhand Books - Income Sult Licence Fee Contribution Student Leapcard Commission University Allocation from Student Charge Contribution from Students' Union Commercial Services CÉIM Funding Sult Licence Fee Contribution Total Income University Allocation from Student Charge

€19,273 €274,403 €865

Telephone Office & Administration Water Cooler Subscriptions & Membership Website & I.T. Telephone Printing, Postage and Stationary Water Cooler Promotions Website & I.T. Seirbhisi Na MacLeinn Levy Printing, Postage and Stationary Accountancy Fees Promotions Auditor Renumeration Seirbhisi Na MacLeinn Levy Bank Charges Accountancy Fees Fundraising Campaigns Expenses Auditor Renumeration Insurance Bank Charges Legal Fees Fundraising Campaigns Expenses Depreciation of tangible assets Insurance Depreciaton of intangible assets Legal Fees Total Office & Administration Depreciation of tangible assets

€10,363 €526 €865 €10,782 €10,363 €9,525 €526 €6,924 €10,782 €31,798 €9,525 €797 €6,924 €3,582 €31,798 €2,602 €797 €556 €3,582 €6,885 €2,602 €9,840 €556 €2,163 €6,885 €3,328 €9,840 €100,537 €2,163

Depreciaton of intangible assets Representation & Services Total Office & Administration USI

€100,537 €96,400


Campaigns Representation & Services SU Council USI Election & Referendum Expenses Campaigns Entertainment Costs SU Council Total CÉIM Expenditure Election & Referendum Expenses Life Skills Expenses Entertainment Costs Total Representation & Services Total CÉIM Expenditure

€39,875 €20,231 €96,400 €10,267 €39,875 €11,378 €20,231 €101,974 €10,267 €2,230 €11,378 €282,355 €101,974

Life Skills Expenses Total Expenditure Total Representation & Services

€2,230 €657,296 €282,355

Surplus Total Expenditure

€64,571 €657,296



SU Council

Election & Referendum Expenses Entertainment Costs

Staff and Officer Costs, 42% Staff and Officer Costs, 42% USI

Total CÉIM Expenditure

Life Skills Expenses

Staff and Officer Costs, 42%


EXPENDITURE€64,571 Office & Administration, 15%

Office & Administration 15%

Office & Administration 15% Representation & Services, 43%


Incoming Executive 2020/2021 Coiste Feidhmiúcháin 2020/2021

Vice President / Education Officer Leas Uachtarán / Oifigeach Oideachais

President / Uachtarán

Emma Sweeney

Oifigeach na Gaeilge Irish Language Officer

Erin Mac An tSaoir

Pádraic Toomey

Mature Students’ Officer Oifigeach Mic Léinn Lánfhásta

Michelle Mitchell

Vice-President / Welfare and Equality Officer Leas-Uachtarán / Oifigeach Leasa agus Comhionannais

Róisín Nic Lochlainn

Gender and LGBT+ Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Inscne agus LADT+

Maeve Arnup

Disability Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Míchumais

Patricia O’Mahony

Postgraduate Taught Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe Teagasctha

Postgraduate Research Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe i mbun Taighde

Clubs Captain Captaen na gClubanna

Sebastiaan Bierema

Kirsty Moran

Convenor of the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies / Tionólaí Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta & an Léinn Cheiltigh

Convenor of the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences / Tionólaí Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais & na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte

Convenor of the College of Science and Engineering / Tionólaí Choláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta

Martin Smyth

Claire McHale

Evan O’Flaherty

Aoife Buckley

Positions To Be Filled Next Semester: Societies Chairperson • SU Council Chairperson • Convenor of the College of Business Public Policy & Law • International Students Officer • Ethnic Minorities Officer

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