NUI Galway Students' Union Annual Report 2020 - 2021

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REPORT Tuarascáil Bhliantúil Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn, OÉ Gaillimh


Contents • Clár na nÁbhar


President’s Foreword • Focal ón Uachtarán


Mission Statement/Highlights • Ráiteas Misin/Buaicphointí

Executive Committee 2020/21 • Coiste Feidhmiúcháin 2020/21


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SU Council • Comhairle an Chomhaltais

SIN Newspaper • Nuachtán SIN Elections • Toghcháin

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Students’ Union Policies • Beartais Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn CÉIM

8 9

Life Skills • Scileanna Saoil


Fundraising • Tiomsú airgid

Entertainment & Events • Siamsaíocht agus Imeachtaí


Campaigns • Feachtais

Students’ Union Services • Seirbhísí Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn

14 15

SU Finance • Cúrsaí Airgeadais an Chomhaltais

Incoming Executive 2021/22 • Coiste Feidhmiúcháin 2021/22

Pádraic Toomey


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 2020/2021 or the “pandemic year”. When we remember this year, it can’t be compared to any other. It brought brand new challenges, issues and opportunities that we haven’t had before. The union shone out as an adaptable and dynamic representative body that ensures the student voice is always heard. 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 traditional and always strive for the best possible outcomes for students. From the very beginning, our work highlighted the inequalities students face even from institution to institution. #RipOffNUIG was the big campaign of the year where students saw their counterparts not charged in other institutions when they were. The campaign resulted with €60,000 given back to students who really needed it and grade capping removed. As we continued on with the university closing down days before it was meant to open to all students, accommodation became the focus with rent refunds secured for all campus accommodation along with many of the purpose built student accommodation sector. Those who were unwilling to help, were removed from the NUI Galway recommended accommodation list. An important part of the year was the safety of our students, working with the HSE to ensure that we could stop the virus together. The union had a new spot for the start of the year, the “Pop Up” SU in the Quad was seen for several weeks giving out thousands of reusable masks to students. Throughout the year, we had wins coming through like refunds for parking costs. Towards the end of our term, we secured the levy referendum change, reducing it from €224 to €140. The first time a levy has ever been reduced. Striving to make education more affordable and stopping students overpaying for something they never agreed to. Overall, it’s a testament to the union’s work that even when a year such as a pandemic where officers felt they were constantly firefighting new issues, they still completed the goals they outlined well before we had to be apart from each other. This year we saw engagement with the union skyrocket, nearly 600 class reps were elected even when it wasn’t possible to run into a class to elect them anymore, over 300 reps attended our Students’ Union Council.

The union is a body that stands together with people and it’s main goal is to help, it’s important we thank all those who helped us as we strove for better. I’ll be forever grateful of the hard work of our own staff Chris the general manager, Joanna the assistant manager and Lorna the receptionist who are working hard behind the scenes constantly. Their support and advice was invaluable. CÉIM was an important part of first year in college for myself and many others. Emma, Róisín and I were the first sabbatical team to all have been in CÉIM. I would like to give my thanks to Amber, Órla and Niamh who were the only way many students met their classmates this year. They too were adaptable when it was needed. I would also like to extend my thanks to our Board of Trustees for their oversight and Students’ Union Commercial Services (SUCS) Ltd. for providing services to the NUI Galway community when it wasn’t easy. Finally, our class reps and the 18 officers who work endlessly for students, your dedication made the union an extraordinary place to work in. Emma Sweeney, Vice President for Education and Róisín Nic Lochlainn, Vice President for Welfare & Equality, while we were very limited in how much we saw each other physically, I will really miss working with you the most. Our year won’t be comparable in the least. In its 57 years, the union has become an unstoppable force for change that cares for all. Each year is a step towards a more positive future. On behalf of Emma Sweeney, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, our Executive Committee, the SU Council, the entire staff and myself, I present to you with pride the annual report for 2020/2021 of NUI Galway Students’ Union

Beir bua



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. 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”.

The Charity Challenge had almost 400 participants raising money and challenging ourselves to do things out of our comfort zone with 6 challenges over 6 months.

We raised €13,000 for our three chosen charities this year: Galway Rape Crisis Centre, Helplink Mental Health and Galway Autism Partnership through the Charity Challenge and other events.

We ran and passed referendums on the creation of an Environmental and Sustainability Officer and changing of the Students’ Union Council Chairperson to an external position in line with best practice in unions across the country.

We campaigned for accommodation refunds for any students who didn’t need accommodation when the university shut down. All university accommodation refunded students with many private operators following suit. One private operator was removed from the NUI Galway website for not cooperating.

We ran a lot of successful events including 25 Hump Day Hoolies with the goal of creating new friendships online. Up to 200 students come for some weeks of the Hoolie. Students would stay chatting until late into the night and even kept one call going for a full week. The event was replicated by many other SU’s across the country.

We presented and wrote regular papers to the University Management Team on student issues. We increased voter turnout by 4.7% in the Students’ Union Elections Full Time Officer Elections.

“An injury to one is an injury to all” Highlights 2020/21 •

We started the “RipOffNUIG” campaign for highlighting financial barriers to education like repeat exam fees that students pay. This included TikTok videos, petitions, letter writing, media coverage, meetings and extensive time being mentioned in the Dáil. We secured €60,000 in refunds for students doing repeat exams and students who receive the special rate of SUSI and Financial Aid Fund(FAF) will not be burdened with the cost ever again.`

We distributed 12,150 reusable masks to students in the SU Pop Up in the Quad for the starting weeks of the semester. This was the only interaction many students had on campus in person this year.

We reduced the student levy via referendum from €224 to €140 for all students. As a barrier to education that not even SUSI covers, it’s vital to be as affordable as possible. €3 of the levy was mandated by council to go towards the Irish language and CÉIM’s found secure funding.

• •

Delivered on a parking refund and price reduction refund to everyone in NUI Galway.

NUI Galway SU was shortlisted for eight categories in the Student Achievement Awards Ireland including: Access Champion of the Year – #RipOffNUIG, An Gradam Éacht ar son na Gaeilge - Róisín Nic Lochlainn, Club/Society of the Year - Feminist Society, Full-Time Officer of the Year - Róisín Nic Lochlainn, International Student of the Year - Mansi Kesarwani, Postgraduate Champion of the Year - Sebastiaan Birema and Welfare Campaign of the Year - SHAG Week.

Received highest award of gold for Bonn na Gaeilge from USI.

Got repeat exam capping removed, exam board leniency and deferrals for singular exams with less reasoning needed for students.

Organised beach cleans along the Galway city coast and held Sustainable Mondays as part of campaigning on sustainability.

Joined as champions of Galway Park City and passed a mandate at council for this to continue in years to come.

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

Elected nearly 600 class reps, 450 completed training, over 300 attended our first meeting and record numbers at our college councils.

We engaged with both local and national media on many student issues including the review of SUSI, COVID-19, re-opening campus, mental health, international student issues and accommodation.

Worked with USI on campaigns throughout the year including bringing a bill on student accommodation to the Dáil and a bill on international student insurance to the Seanad.

We ran campaign weeks such as sexual health awareness and guidance, Seachtain na Gaeilge, diversity, the environment and sustainability, Substance Awareness and Wind Down Weeks before exams.

CÉIM, our peer assisted learning programme, went online for the year with great success in connecting students together.

Secured that Scéim Conaithe which will be starting in September to allow for Irish speakers to live with each other in on-campus accommodation.

Weekly clinics for mature students and disabled students were setup, meet your officer events and essay workshops along with many other events were hosted by our part time officers.


Executive Committee 2020/21 Coiste Feidhmiúcháin 2020/21

Vice President / Education Officer Leas Uachtarán / Oifigeach Oideachais

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

President / Uachtarán

Emma Sweeney

Pádraic Toomey 086 385 3658

Róisín Nic Lochlainn 086 385 3659 086 385 5502

Oifigeach na Gaeilge Irish Language Officer

Mature Students’ Officer Oifigeach Mic Léinn Lánfhásta

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

Disability Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Míchumais

Erin Mac An tSaoir

Michelle Mitchell

Maeve Arnup

Patricia O’Mahony

091 493 570

085 853 7011

091 493 570

085 212 0689

Postgraduate Taught Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe Teagasctha

Postgraduate Research Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe i mbun Taighde

Sebastiaan Bierema

Martin Smyth

087 781 0130

091 493 570

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

Evan O’Flaherty

Kirsty Moran

Claire McHale

085 882 4797

091 493 570

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

Societies Chairperson Cathaoirleach na gCumann

Barry Sugrue

Fionn Sexton Connolly

087 775 0227

087 155 5949

085 225 2185

Aoife Buckley

091 493 570

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

Clubs Captain Captaen na gClubanna

SU Council Chairperson / Cathaoirleach Chomhairle Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn

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

International Students Officer Oifigeach na Mac Léinn Idirnáisiúnta

Niamh Quinn

Cheyanne Nwaonukwube

085 732 8570

087 659 1874

087 606 5095

Victor Igonin

Ethnic Minorities Officer Oifigeach na Mionlach Eitneach


SU Council Comhairle an Chomhaltais

This year we elected nearly 600 Class Reps ranging from Undergraduates, Postgraduates, Adult Learners and part time learners. We also elected class reps from all over the world. Covid 19 forced us to run completely online elections with a brand new online platform. There were a couple of teething problems and there was a fear that engagement would be at a new low, however, we got quite the opposite reaching a new record number of class reps. This year we ran all our councils and trainings through the medium of Zoom which was the preferred platform for class reps. We had record numbers of attendance this year with over 400 reps attending our training and over 300 reps attending our first council with attendance never less than 180 students. The move to online meant a huge increase in engagement, reps were more vocal than ever due to the ease of zoom and we brought forward a record number of motions including ones that will have a lasting impact on teaching and learning such as mandating the SU to change its primary name to Irish as well as all its councils names, to promote lecture recordings and releasing lecture recordings at the start of the year to help students choose modules, increase funding for the Disability Support Service as well as decreasing the student levy. This year did not come without it’s fair share of problems due to Covid 19 and the move to online learning. Communication this year was crucial. Not only did we have record numbers attend our Class Rep Council, we also had increased numbers in our faculty councils which led to the College of Arts councils being spread over a week. Our new online platform allowed class reps to easily communicate with those in their class and class reps were sent an email at least once a week. It was a challenging year but we made huge strides when it comes to streamlining the class rep process and increasing engagement. We hope to keep a blended model moving forward. SU Chairperson, SU College Convenors and Postgraduate Officers of 2020/2021 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 – Fionn Sexton Connolly Convenor of College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies – Claire McHale Convenor of College of Science & Engineering – Aoife Buckley Convenor of College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences – Evan O’Flaherty Convenor of College of Business, Public Policy & Law – Victor Igonin Postgraduate Research Officer – Sebaastian Bierema Postgraduate Taught Officer – Martin Smyth


SIN Newspaper Nuachtán SIN

SIN (Student Independent News) is Galway’s only student newspaper with 12 issues, one per fortnight. SIN was published online via ISSUU this year owing to the Covid-19 situation.  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. 2020/2021 Team: • • • • • • • •

Editor – Paddy Henry News Editors – Caoimhe Killeen & Ellen O’Donoghue Features – Saoirse Higgins Opinion – Darren Casserly Fashion and Lifestyle – Anastasia Burton Arts and Entertainment – Alice O’Donnell Sport – Oisín Bradley Online – Paris Ediagbonya, Fiona Lee & Valerie McHugh

This year, SIN published 12 32-page editions, 6 per semester, and an additional 16-page election special ahead of the FullTime Students’ Union Officer Elections in April. 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 adapt its layout, making it more accessible to an online audience and befitting of a modern newspaper. We achieved this through the introduction of long-form features laid out over two pages, photo bylines for regular writers, and through increasing our usage of engaging graphics to engage our readers. 2020/2021 Highlights: •

SIN covered and broke ground-breaking stories this year and kept the student body informed on issues happening in the University, even while students found themselves off campus.

The newspaper was shortlisted for several awards this year, including the Student Achievement Awards Ireland Media Outlet of the Year, and Newspaper of the year at the Student Media Awards. Several SIN writers also picked up nominations including Caoimhe Killeen (Journalism Relating to EU Affairs), Caroline Spencer (Colour Writer of the Year), Paddy Henry (Editor of the Year), Ellen O’Donoghue ( Collaborative Journalism of the year alongside Paddy Henry)

The newspaper led the way in its coverage of the University’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and gave in-depth coverage on issues such as the student levy and Students’ Union elections. SIN also broke several significant stories over the course of the year.

SIN had several high profile interviews featured in the newspaper over the course of the year, including an interview as Gaeilge with President Michael D Higgins.

Despite a lack of an on-campus presence, and the difficulties that this posed for all volunteer run outlets, SIN was never short on content and filled 32 pages every fortnight with student journalism of the highest quality,

Numerous SIN writers had work featured at a local and national level this year, with SIN contributors having their work featured in the Irish Times, the Irish Examiner and the Connacht Tribune this year.

SIN also grew its online presence substantially this year, doubling our Twitter and Instagram presence over the course of the year. Our Twitter account, @NuigSIN hit 1,000 followers in April. The addition of three online editors in January aided our online presence significantly, and their use of good Search Engine Optimisation and graphics on social posts helped our reach greatly.

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


Elections Toghcháin

In December elections were held completely online for the first time to fill 5 vacant part time officer positions. Victor Igonin was elected Convenor of the College of Business, Public Policy & Law, Cheyanne Nwaonukwube was elected Ethnic Minorities Officer, Niamh Quinn was elected International Students Officer, Barry Sugrue was elected Societies Chairperson and Fionn Sexton Connolly was elected as SU Council Chairperson. The December election was a good trial for the April elections and the new online election system. In April thirty four students put their names on the virtual ballot papers seeking election to the 2021-2022 Students’ Union Executive. There were also three referenda held during the elections which all passed. These were the referendum to reduce the Student Levy to €140, the referendum to create a new officer position of Environmental and Sustainability Officer (to be elected September 2021) and the referendum to change the SU Council Chairperson to an independently appointed rather than elected position. Returning Officer Phelim Kelly oversaw the elections and announced the results of the online counts. Turnout was up considerably across all the elections with up to 3,682 students voting. The move to online elections led to huge levels of engagement by candidates and voters



President Róisín Nic Lochlainn VP/Education Clodagh McGivern VP/Welfare & Equality Cora Clarke Oifigeach na Gaeilge Eímear Nig Oireachtaigh Disability Rights Officer Niamh McGrath Ethnic Minorities Officer Anne Marie Ward Gender & LGBT+ Rights Officer

Orlaith Nic Cába

International Students Officer Matthew Connolly Mature Students Anita O’Halloran Convenor of College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies

Faye Ní Dhomhnaill

Convenor of College of Business, Public Policy & Law

Krystian Bachan

Convenor of College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Jack Collins

Convenor of College of Science and Engineering

Sai Gujulla

Societies’ Chairperson Ethan Wilkinson Clubs’ Captain Kirsty Ní Mhóráin Postgraduate Taught Officer Mairtín Mac Gabhann Postgraduate Research Officer Shane O’Connell


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: Referenda on Amendments to SU Constitution Passed April 2021 Creation of a part-time Environmental and Sustainability Officer. Chairperson of SU Council replaced with an external independent Chairperson. Referendum on Student Levy Passed April 2021 From 1st July, 2021 the members of NUI Galway Students’ Union approve the cancellation of the current Student Levy of €224 and further approve its replacement with a new Student Levy of €140. 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.



Now in its eighth year of operation, CÉIM pivoted this academic year to deliver weekly peer learning sessions online via the Zoom platform and saw 83% student engagement. Supporting the first year experience Initiated by NUI Galway Students’ Union in 2013, CÉIM is a co-curricular academic peer learning programme that is delivered via a partnership between students, academic staff and the Students’ Union and was offered to approximately 1,610 students in 2020/21. In this unprecedented academic year, CÉIM has continued to support 1st year students’ transition to higher education, health and wellbeing, academic success, progression and transferable skills development.

2020/21 highlights • CÉIM adapted seamlessly to deliver online learning throughout the entire academic year. • CÉIM sessions focused more so than ever on facilitating discussions on study tips and health and wellbeing to help students adapt to online learning. • For the first time, all 1st year students offered CÉIM were assigned to a small Buddy/Study group within their CÉIM group to help them make friends and form a study group. • Planning is well underway for CÉIM to be further rolled out in the College of Science and Engineering in 2021/22. • A second academic paper on CÉIM was published in March 2021, this time in the Irish Educational Studies journal. • The LIFT ( roundtable process was piloted again this year with a wider group of CÉIM leaders. • The CÉIM SU team completed training in Universal Design for Learning and have begun work on integrating more UDL practices into CÉIM. 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 2020/21

1,610 distinct 1st year students offered CÉIM 2,200 multiple 1st year students offered CÉIM* 3 out of 4 colleges run CÉIM 17,100 hours of student engagement in CÉIM 83% of students engaged in CÉIM 50%+ of students engaged in CÉIM on a weekly basis in Semester 1 20%+ of Arts students offered CÉIM engaged in multiple disciplines 109 Student leaders 99% leader retention Independent learning skills

Health and wellbeing support and signposting

Building learning communities remotely in a pandemic

A social outlet for meeting fellow students

Academic support

Navigating NUI Galway systems

* Many Arts students are offered CÉIM in multiple subjects

‘CÉIM has been the highlight of my academic year. It was probably the only place where I actually got to know and talk to people throughout the year.’ 2020/21 1st year student (May 2021) ‘CÉIM has been the best part of my first year in college.’ 2020/21 1st year student (May 2021) ‘It provided a welcoming space to receive guidance and support from more experienced students.’ 2020/21 1st year student (May 2021)


Life Skills Programme Scileanna Saoil

The Life Skills Programme saw the Students’ Union running online courses throughout the year to allow students the opportunity to enhance their life skills away from their academic studies and also improve their employability. In partnership with Galway Rape Crisis Centre online courses in Disclosure Training were again offered to students this year which equipped them with the skills to deal appropriately with a disclosure of sexual violence. The SU worked with the HSE Suicide Prevention Officer to promote the online LivingWorks Start courses to equip students with the skills to recognise the danger signs for someone who is a suicide risk. Jigsaw Galway ran two fully booked online Mental Health Workshops for NUI Galway students. 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. Online Irish Language Classes were held in conjunction with Conradh na Gaeilge and were hugely popular with both a beginners and refreshers course taking place. Free weekly Strength and Conditioning Classes were held with Lucia Byrne Fitness and Jason Murray putting us through our paces. Free online Pilates Classes were also held to increase students flexibility and core strength with Marie Hegarty Pilates. Students got to de-stress and have a good stretch at the SU online Yoga classes which took place during the two Wind Down Week events. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings a number of the usual Life Skills courses could not go ahead this year including: First Aid Responder Training, Cardiac First Responder Training, Child Protection Training, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), safeTALK, Mixed Martial Arts for Self Defence, Bar Skills Training and the Barista Course. It is hoped to bring these courses back for the 2021/22 academic year.


Fundraising Tiomsú Airgid

NUI Galway Students’ Union ran a selection of unique charity events this year raising €13,000 for our chosen charities: Galway Autism Partnership, Galway Rape Crisis Centre and Helplink Mental Health. Galway Autism Partnership supports families and individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Galway Rape Crisis Centre is dedicated to providing a professional, caring and confidential counselling and support service for those in our community affected by sexual abuse and sexual violence. Helplink Mental Health is a charitable organisation providing accessible counselling, information and education mental health services locally (West of Ireland), nationally and internationally. The Charity Challenge saw NUI Galway students and staff take on different challenges each month from November to April to raise funds for the charities. Over 400 people signed up to take park in Kilometre Challenges, Random Act of Kindness Challenges, Choose Your Own Challenge, the New Year Challenge and the Hair Raiser Challenge. The response to the 6 months of challenges was fantastic and it’s definitely a concept that worked well in Covid Lockdown conditions. We held two saucy, sold out rounds of Sex Toy Bingo online during the year to raise more funds for the SU Charities. We also held online quizzes, talks, a Secret Santa and charity editions of our Hump Day Hoolie to add to the fundraising total. We held a hugely popular NUIG version of The Chase in collaboration with NUIG Law Society, FLAC and ELSA hosted by Paula Healy from Flirt FM. NUIG Staff members volunteered to act as Chasers including the NUI Galway President. We continued to sell our Big Yellow Thing Socks online and on campus when we were able to open our outlets. 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 presents for alumni, students and staff.


Entertainment & Events Siamsaíocht agus Imeachtaí

Freshers’ Events Due to the pandemic the year started a bit later than anticipated and the SU set up an SU Pop Up in the Quad to welcome students to campus with free face masks, SU Diaries, SU Cards and Flirt FM Wall Planners. This was one of the few in person interactions many students had during the year with the SU. Hump Day Hoolie The SU Hump Day Hoolies ran every Wednesday for 25 weeks and were a great chance for students to meet online in an informal manner with craic, speed friending and lots of prizes to be won. The hugely popular weekly events were hosted by comedian Steve Bennett. The concept was so popular that it was adopted by lots of other SU’s and there’s at least two couples who met through the Hoolies! Stitch and Bitch Emma the SU Education Officer and Niamh the SU CÉIM intern set up a Stitch & Bitch group every Tuesday. Here crafters could meet up online and have a chat while they worked on their current projects and exchanged tips. Walktober and Marchathon The SU had a huge amount of NUI Galway staff and student teams taking part in both Walktober in October and Marchathon in March this year. 98 teams signed up for the Walktober step challenge and a further 60 Teams got their steps in for Marchathon. The two events kept everyone active and connected while apart. Movie Nights The SU hosted some Thursday night movie watch along parties during the year as another online social event for students. 6 Nations Competition Some of the SU Event Crew volunteers organised a 6 Nations Rugby score prediction competition which was very popular with Just Eat vouchers as prizes. Bake Along Again SU Event Crew volunteers stepped in to host an online bake along class where students could make St Patrick’s Day themed Cupcakes. Culture Through Comedy The SU worked with the International Office and comedian Steve Bennett to put together the Culture Through Comedy events which aimed to explain aspects of Irish culture to our visiting students in a fun manner. It was also a great opportunity to learn where there were similarities in our cultures and traditions. Secret Santa In the lead up to Christmas the SU arranged a Secret Santa where students were matched up to buy each other presents as a pick me up. The event was a great success and also raised funds for the SU Charities. Voter Registration The SU continued to encourage students to register to vote throughout the year with Voter Registration Drives for first time voters along with encouraging Graduates to register for their Seanad Éireann vote. EYE on the Edge Throughout the year the SU continued to work with Galway 2020 and other community groups on the EYE on the Edge project which took place in April 2021 and was a great success.


Campaigns Feachtasaí

Comhaltas na Mac Léinn OÉ Gaillimh ran many campaigns throughout the 2020/21 academic year. These ranged from welfare campaigns focussing on mental health and sexual health to increasing diversity campaigns, sustainability and more.

involved in this year were trying to encourage students to take part in Meat Free Mondays, beach clean ups and getting out for walks. We also distributed keep cups and reusable water bottles and organised physical beach clean ups when restrictions allowed it.

The #RipOffNUIG campaign was ran throughout the year to highlight the extortionate costs of education for NUIG students during and pre-pandemic. This campaign focused on the repeat fee costs and was shortlisted for the SAAI Access campaign of the year. This campaign engaged lots of students and went viral on social media.

Our second and final Seachtain na Gaeilge of the year ran for the first 3 weeks of March and was hugely successful despite the move to everything being online during Covid-19. We held one event a day ranging from coffee mornings, bingo, to educational talks with Eoghan MacCormaic and different speakers.

In September, the national #EducationForAll campaign was launched. The USI pledge was launched online which we asked TDs and local reps to support. Throughout the year we had days of action, socially distanced sign protests and virtual phone banks. We also met with every Galway TD regarding accommodation and specifically refunds.

Our final campaign week of the year during April was Diversity Week with events taking place such as panel discussions looking at the Black Lives Matter movement, Travellers in Higher Education and diversity in Sport. There was also talks on diversity in politics and the history of Pride in Ireland. This was a chance to amplify the voices of the diverse groups at NUI Galway and help people educate themselves.

Mental Health Week events took place virtually in November to encourage students to take time to look after their mental health, to raise awareness and to recognise the signs of mental health issues. During the week there were mindfulness classes, panels on self-care and burnout during Covid-19, education sessions on eating disorders and mental health within the Traveller community, drug safety talks, sports classes etc. Prior to this we marked world mental health day on campus. In late October the SU Disability Officer organised drop in clinics about students’ rights which continued throughout the year. The Mature Students’ Officer also organised weekly clinics for mature students to discuss any issues they were facing etc. This year’s SHAG Week took place virtually at the beginning of December. We held a broad range of events from disclosure training with the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and Active* Consent, to LGBT+ sexual health workshops and workshops on Image Based Sexual Abuse. Our second SHAG week took place during February of semester 2 where we had workshops on body confidence, consent workshops and panel discussions on sex education in Irish schools. Our popular Sex Toy Bingo marked the end of both SHAG weeks and raised over €1,200 for the SU Charities. Our Semester 1 Seachtain na Gaeilge took place during the last week of term, we organised conversation circles, coffee mornings and virtual games like Among Us trí Ghaeilge with the Cumann Gaelach, amongst more. We also had education sessions during the week such as “I wish I could speak Irish, but...” encouraging more people to learn Irish and panel discussions about learning Irish in the 6 counties. 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. During February we kicked off Sustainability Mondays which took place every Monday. Some of the initiatives that we got

Our annual Wind Down weeks took place in April and May as a chance for students to wind down before exams and relax. We organised yoga, fitness talks, doodle breaks, workouts, quizzes, the Stitch & Bitch and skincare chats as part of the week.


Students’ Union Services Seirbhísí Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn

Students’ Union Shop The Students’ Union Shop, your only on-campus convenience store, will continue to provide discounted newspapers, water, fruit and all of your grocery and stationery needs throughout the year. Also, if you need stationey but can’t get to the shop, check out our Stationery Superstore at and avail of FREE delivery on all orders over €20! The SU Shop is also the place to get your College Hoodie! The Shop carries a great range of Official NUI Galway merchandise including hoodies, t-shirts and branded stationery. The SU Shop has received a fresh new look with all new internal and external LED lighting and signage, really brightening up your shopping experience and greatly reducing our energy consumption. We’ve extended our grocery and household departments too, 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 around and beat them too! Ár Siopa recently 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. Sult 2019/2020 was another jam-packed year at everyone’s favourite on-campus bar/food/music/live sports and event space – right up until 12th March 2020 of course! We crammed in record numbers of live shows; class parties; fundraisers; barbeques; signature pizza and filthy food nights. We have been working hard behind the scenes to update the Filthy Food Menu; adding more incredible value and more vegan choices such as our all new Vurger and more options to our range of Bia Boxes and Sandwiches. We’ll soon be introducing a Click & Collect offering so you can maximize your break time, every time! 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! Every year, we are delighted and honoured to host and support a huge number of events, including those listed below and many more! • • • • • • • •

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

Plus, all your favourite DJs; bands; comedians; karaoke; raunchy cabaret nights; craic on your favourite Riverside Terrace and loads more!

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! In addition to our regular special 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 empty stomach – especially important during the cold winter months exam times! 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! Our staff are really looking forward to seeing you all again soon. We have been working on new delicious products for our breakfast, lunch and evening menus which we think you’re going to love! Keep an eye out for our regular offers and promotions, updated monthly, during term and we’re always open to your suggestions too. SU Card Our free SU Card has been guaranteeing you better value, discounts and freebies for over 11 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! Sustainability Working closely with the Galway-based Ethical 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. 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 and the 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 carried 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. Student Leap Cards The Students’ Union is an agent for the Student Leap Card which gives great student dicounts on travel along with discounts and offers in a range of retailers. Students can also 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 sells pre-owned books on behalf of students to other students. This keeps book costs down, provides extra cash to students and also promotes sustainability.


Students’ Union Cloakroom AN CHOMHALTAIS SU LOCKERS The Cloakroom is run and managed by the Students’ Union. Cloakroom staff are all students and the service is provided free of charge to students during term time.






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SU Finance Cúrsaí Airgeadais an Chomhaltais NUI Galway Students' Union Budget Update 30 November 2019

The Students’ Union financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June. The details below relate to year ending 30 June 2020 with figures from June 2019 for comparison. Up until March 2020 everything was progressing as expected. The closure of campus on 12th March had some impact on our income and curtailed our activities which had an effect on our expenditure. In terms of income, the Student Levy and the allocation from the Student Charge remained constant. Locker rentals, Second-hand Books and Leapcard sales were as expected with a drop off due to the closure of campus. The monthly contribution from our commercial services stopped in March when those services stopped trading. The biggest change in income for the year ending June 2020 was CÉIM funding which increased to €148,767. CÉIM continued to grow and the funding covered almost all CÉIM costs for the year. The funding allocated by the University from the current €3,000 student contribution remains the lowest rate of students’ union funding in the country. Other students’ unions receive the majority of their funding from the student contribution and other supports in their institutions are not adversely affected. The increased levy due in 2021 / 2022 together with the existing modest university funding will bring our income in line with other unions. 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 €126,218. This is largely due to our expenditure being reduced as a result of lockdown. Whilst we do not 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. The uncertainty of the COVID pandemic affects our income, but most of our monthly costs continue to accrue each month. As a representative body we also need to ensure that we have the resources to allow us to react to issues outside of our control. In March 2021 we were informed by the University that CÉIM funding for 2020-2021 was in doubt. We are hopeful that the issue will be resolved and we are fortunate that we could rely on our reserves to ensure CÉIM continued to be delivered in what has been an extremely difficult year for students. As is our standard practise, the annual accounts for year ending 30 June 2020 have been audited and presented to the NUI Galway Students’ Union Board of Trustees.

NUIGSU Income Statement 30 June 2020 30 June 2020

30 June 2019





Income Student Levy Lockers Secondhand Books - Income Student Leapcard Commission





Contribution from Students' Union Commercial Services



Sult Licence Fee Contribution





CÉIM Funding

University Allocation from Student Charge



Total Income







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





Office & Administration Subscriptions & Membership Telephone Water Cooler







Website & I.T.



Printing, Postage and Stationary






Seirbhisi Na MacLeinn Levy



Accountancy andAudit Fees



Bank Charges



Fundraising Campaigns Expenses








Legal Fees Depreciation Total Office & Administration





Representation & Services USI






SU Council





Election & Referendum Expenses Entertainment Costs Total CÉIM Expenditure





Life Skills Expenses



Total Representation & Services



Total Expenditure






EXPENDITURE Officer and Staff Costs

Office & Administration

Representation & Services


Incoming Executive 2021/2022 Coiste Feidhmiúcháin 2021/2022

Vice President / Education Officer Leas Uachtarán / Oifigeach Oideachais

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

President / Uachtarán

Clodagh McGivern

Róisín Nic Lochlainn 086 385 3658

Cora Clarke 086 385 3659 086 385 5502

Oifigeach na Gaeilge Irish Language Officer

Mature Students’ Officer Oifigeach Mic Léinn Lánfhásta

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

083 407 7672

087 974 4075

085 116 7355

Eímear Nig Oireachtaigh

Anita O’Halloran

Orlaith Nic Cába

Postgraduate Taught Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe Teagasctha

Postgraduate Research Officer Oifigeach na nIarchéimithe i mbun Taighde

Clubs Captain Captaen na gClubanna

087 781 0130

087 269 1104

085 882 4797

Mairtín Mac Gabhann

Shane O’Connell

Kirsty Ní Mhóráin

Disability Rights Officer Oifigeach um Chearta Míchumais

Niamh McGrath

087 418 0866 Via Video Call/Text/ WhatsApp only due to a hearing impairment

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

Faye Ní Dhomhnaill 087 282 1383

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

Societies Chairperson Cathaoirleach na gCumann

091 493 570

085 193 8978

087 989 3695

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

International Students Officer Oifigeach na Mac Léinn Idirnáisiúnta

Ethnic Minorities Officer Oifigeach na Mionlach Eitneach

087 459 0127

091 493 570

091 493 570

Jack Collins

Krystian Bachan

Sai Gujulla

Matthew Connolly

Ethan Wilkinson

Anne Marie Ward

Environmental & Sustainability Officer - To Be Elected Sept 2021 • SU Council Chairperson - To Be Appointed

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