By Marian O’Donnell
Hey guys – so this is it it’s the final showdown – I’m already half ways out the door and leaving UL!
What a year it’s been! Starting off last June as the former sabbatical officer Mike gave me his handover I thought I knew it all – I definitely didn’t! Being a sabbatical officer in the SU has been such a learning experience – from the tremendous highs to the ‘why did I ever decide to do this job’ and a whole pile of emotions in between!
For now I will concentrate on the positives! – This year has been a really interesting one and so much of my work has been unseen on committees deep inside the university! The ARC , APRC and AC are letters that I certainly never want to see again but students’ voices were certainly heard on these committees! I was also busy advising students on an individual basis, weather you were thinking of transferring course, changing module, you were looking for extra help or you just wanted to pop in for a quick chant my door was always open!
The projects that I have been working on this year have been across a wide range of areas. Firstly I worked a lot on getting our Grinds register on the SU website up and running at the start of the year. Our website now has a detailed list of tutors in a range of different subjects that are there if you need extra help.
Another part of my job is looking after the Class Reps with Liz, our Democracy Development Manager. This year we had a fantastic recruitment of class reps with well over 250 students volunteering to represent their class! We also had two really successful training days – one in September where we highlighted the role of the class rep and show cased our new and updated Student Representation handbooks and the second one at the end of October when we had a fantastic quest speaker in Adam Harris. Adam gave us a really interesting and engaging talk on autism awareness and on the role we can play in ensuring that everyone in college feels included and respected.
In week 13 Ciara, the Welfare Officer and myself ran our very successful Study week. Where we set up the hub as a chill out space and gave out free study packs and tea and coffee. We will be running another student week in week 13 of this semester as well, #studyweek!
After Christmas I started work on a guide to help students if they failed an exam or were unhappy with their results. This guide summarized all the important information in relation to grades, compensatory fails, QCA, Re-checks and repeats in a student friendly booklet. This had a huge uptake and the emails that I was receiving from students with questions about results were way down compared to summer results.
I also ran the first and what I consider to be successful FYP week! This week was dedicated to our final year students in ensuring that they had access to all the info they needed in the final weeks coming up to their FYP as well as some helpful tips! We also ran several FYP writing workshops with the Writing centre that went down really well with students.
I also chaired the Constitutional review committee where we have been diligently going through the constitution and bringing in some badly need changes – particularly the issue with changing the qualified majority to that of a simple majority.
Since the Easter break I have been working diligently on the Student Choice awards. This has been an idea that has been floating around my office for the last number of years with the idea being passed from Sabbat to Sabbat. These awards will celebrate UL students’ achievements across a wide array of areas such as student representation, charity fundraising, and personal achievement. The event and awards ceremony on the 19th will highlight all the fantastic triumphs and successes that our students achieve while they are studying in UL.
I am still working on the concept of the FYP contract and hopefully the Academic Officer will take on this fight after I am finished! This proposal is a cross-departmental contract between a student and their supervisor before they start their FYP. While this is currently in its infancy its aim is to ensure that students and staff have a set guidelines of what is expected them over the course of the FYP.
Recently I have been very busy helping out with the Referendum campaign and after being in Ul for the previous 2 I am really excited and a little bit scarred about this one! Hopefully it will pass! Fingers crossed!
So that’s a wrap guys! Thanks for an absolutely amazing year and after 5 long, fun, busy, eventful and mad years in UL – I guess this is it!