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Home / Student Profile / SU Presidents Interviews

SU Presidents Interviews

No one has greater insight into your new college than the Student Union Presidents, so it’s good to get to know their faces and who they are. We caught with Limerick’s current SU Presidents to find out a little about their roles and what advice they have for new and returning students.

Mairead

Mairéad Keogh, Limerick Institute of Technology Students’ Union President 

Can you tell us a bit about the role of the SU? 
LIT Students’ Union is the representative body for the students of Lit Moylish, LSAD and LIT Tipperary (Thurles and Clonmel). Every registered student is automatically a member of the SU, and a member our Union of Students in Ireland. LIT SU represents student views at an institute wide-level, on various committees and bodies throughout the college. We strive to make sure you get the best deal possible when it comes to your education and welfare. We organise events such as Freshers’ Week, Halloween Ball, RAG week (charity week) plus much much more.

LIT SU also organises and delivers welfare campaigns on relevant welfare issues throughout the year. These include SHAG Week, Mental Health Awareness Campaigns, Safety week etc. The SU is always here to help out a student in need. We offer confidential and comfortable space to talk along with an effective referral service.

Who are the SU made up of and what are their roles? 
Mairéad Keogh, Overall President situated on Moylish Campus.
Caoimhe Guinnane, Overall Deputy President situated on Moylish Campus.
Philip Desmond, Convenor, Clare Street Campus.
Colm Skehan, Convenor, Thurles Campus.
Amanda Fahy, Deputy Convenor, Thurles Campus.
Ryan Lynch, Deputy Convenor, Clonmel Campus.

How did you get involved with the SU? 
While I was a student in LIT I wanted to get more involved on campus activities. I had a keen interest in volunteering and helping others. I contacted the SU and asked were there any opportunities to help out. When the SU had welfare campaigns I used to help with organising the week events and distributing information to students. There were other opportunities to help with social events also. I met fabulous people and made friends for life getting involved with the SU.

How do students get involved? 
Students just need to approach us and ask how they can get involved. There are many opportunities. Students can volunteers at events, become a class rep, join a society, help organise campaigns etc.

What is your best experience from when you were a student? 
My best experience was getting recognised for my contribution to volunteering in LIT. I loved volunteering and it was such a great way to meet new people and to get to know staff of LIT. I also had some great fun nights out. Our class reps organised great class parties for us throughout the years.

What advice do you have for students moving out of home for the first time? 
You will have flat mates so be considerate. Share chores and pay your bills on time. Don’t have a party the night before your flat mate has an exam! Bills (including rent, utilities like gas and electricity and the cost of groceries) may catch you by surprise, especially if you are used to your parents providing for everything, so make sure to budget for these before you decide to spend all your money on clothes and nights out. This is a learning curve and you will encounter pitfalls and difference of opinion along the way. Remember “manners and politeness will never become old-fashioned.”  – Auliq Ice

Are there many resources available for mature students and how would they access this information? 
Mature students have the same resources available to them as other students. I was a mature student myself. I really appreciated that student services put on a special mature student induction day. This gave me the chance to meet other students in the same boat as myself. We learned about all the services available to us on campus such as the learning support unit, counselling, volunteering, finance etc. I would also urge mature students not to segregate themselves from their younger class mates. I found that they helped me not to be so serious and to have fun, and in turn I was able to impart my years of worldly wisdom onto them when they looked for relationship advice. The younger students are also great with modern technology and are always willing to help out if you get confused.

Students also have the opportunity to set up a mature student society with the Student Union. If any LIT mature student wants to set up such a society please contact me for more information.

What is your favourite place to hang out in Limerick and why?
I have few places I like to hang out in Limerick. If I was going out I love to go to Mollys/ The Lone Wolf Bar. Greg and his team are so welcoming. Since they refurbishment it looks amazing. It has three floors and an amazing beer garden.  Closer to LIT this year Shannon Rugby Club is going to open to students in the evenings. Students will be able to watch all the big sports events on the TV, play pool, chill with friends over coffee and a scone.

Any advice you wish you knew as a first year? 
One piece of advice I would like to relay to students is to not be afraid to try new things. Get involved in clubs and societies, try a new sport, volunteer, talk to new people or get up and sing karaoke even if you cannot sing. Fear stops us being the best person we can be. In the wise words of Nelson Mandela “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Sarah Dunphy

Sarah Dunphy, University of Limerick Student Union President 

Can you tell us a bit about the role of the SU? 
The Students’ Union represents students and students are the main focus of all SU business. Students are our priority. We want to make sure students are getting the best college experience UL can offer.
  
Who are the SU made up of and what are their roles? 
The Union is made up of 3 fulltime sabbatical officers, 10 fulltime staff, 1 intern – An Focal Editor, 5 UL co-op students, hundreds of students who make up our Executive, Student Council, Clubs and Society committees and all current UL students.

How did you get involved with the SU? 
This is my first proper involvement with the Union. I always followed what was going on in the SU, e.g. referendums, elections, services and support available. I was involved a little in clubs and societies but it was really only this year that I immersed myself in all SU affairs when I successful campaigned to be elected SU President.

How do students get involved?
There is a wide variety of options for students to get involved with the SU. All UL students have automatic membership of the SU when they register with the University. In the SU we have a wolfpack that we encourage all students to signup to: https://ulsu.ie/ulwolves. Anyone interested in being a Class Rep or Representative on Student Council should contact [email protected] All 70+ clubs and societies have a huge recruitment drive for new members in UL Arena on Wednesday evening in Week 1 (7th of Sept). All are welcome!

What is your best experience from when you were a student?
Moving out of home.

What advice do you have for students moving out of home for the first time? 
Embrace the ups and downs, buy fuel to heat your house, pay your bills, don’t be dirty – messy is ok, dirty is not so good – others have to live with you and dirty housemates are zero fun, be security and safety aware.

Are there many resources available for mature students and how would they access this information? 
Yes, UL has a Mature Student Office which can be found in the main Building, E Block. They do great work advising mature students on settling in and pointing them to where extra supports are available. There is also a Mature Student Society which any student can join. Its focus is on bringing mature students together for fun events and providing peer support.
  
What is your favourite place to hang out in Limerick and why? 
The Stables. I always feel at home there regardless of the time of day, attire or mood. Best watering hole around!

Any advice you wish you knew as a first year?
Everyone’s college experience is unique to them. Some study for long hours, others short; some people love it, some hate it; but do go to your classes. At the end of the day you have to make it your own.

JamesDeegan

James Deegan, Mary Immaculate College StudentS’ Union President 

Can you tell us a bit about the role of the SU? 
My role in the SU is the Boss – I’m joking. I sit on an array of committees in Mary Immaculate College and in UL. I am here to represent the students of Mary Immaculate College and support them during their time here. The SU also makes sure that all students events and campaigns are organised and run smoothly. If you need help with accommodation issues, any social or personal problems or college or student life, anything at all let me know and I will do my utmost to help you.

Who are the SU made up of and what are their roles?
It consists of a General Manager, a Receptionist, Clubs and Societies Manager, Accountant for the shop, the two Sabbatical Officers, the President (me) and Lee Dillon my Vice President.

Along with this team we are very fortunate to have an executive team behind us in the Union, which is made up of different departments, welfare and equality, clubs and societies, Irish and culture, entertainments, postgraduate officers and union council chair.

 How did you get involved with the SU? 
I got involved in the SU at a committee level first in my second year in college as Live Music Society Chairman by dealing with different events and organizing events. By the end of the year, having seen how good it was to organise events and collaborate with other societies, I decided to run for Societies office. I was voted Societies Officer in my third year and then I caught the bug and going into fourth year I went for Welfare Officer and was successful.

How do students get involved? 
Getting involved in the SU is easy. If you are interested in running an event, getting involved in a society, becoming a class rep or running for an executive committee role then come down to the SU and let us know. I would highly recommend jumping straight in and getting involved in your SU, whichever college you are attending!

What was your best experience when you were a student? 
It is actually hard to pick one as my time in Mary Immaculate College was filled with so many good memories and friends. I was involved in a lot of societies and one of them was MIDAS, a Dramatic Arts society. We performed many shows including CATS, Beauty and The Beast, Les Miserables and Starlight Express during my time, to sell out runs in front of 3,500 people. They were all special and great memories I will hold on to.

What advice do you have for students moving out of home for the first time? 
Don’t be afraid to get involved from the start, be it at events during the week or at a society level, do not overthink it, as every single one of the first year cohort are all in the same boat. Don’t be afraid to turn to that person next to you during registration or orientation tours and say “Hello, is it me your looking for?” – I don’t know if they will get the Lionel Richie reference, but you will never know you may have found a friend for life.

Are there many resources available for mature students and how would they access this information?
There are a lot of resources. There is the Academic Learning Centre, a great resource for looking at your essays before submission and seeing if you are on the right track. We also have a student parent support service in Mary Immaculate College, which is a good source and hub for mature students to meet and support one another. You can also get information online at www.misu.ie or on our Facebook Page or pop back to the SU and we will tell you all that you need to know.

What is your favorite place to hang out in Limerick and why? 
There are so many good places in Limerick to hang out, be it pubs or clubs or just strolls around the place. O’Dwyers Bar on Wolfe Tone Street and Dolans have good session music during the week and on weekends and they are cosy pubs with a great atmosphere. I recommend you try them all anyway and make your mind up for yourself.

Any advice you wish you knew as a first year?
Don’t be afraid to make new friends and get involved or join in something. It’s a new chapter in your life so embrace it. It will make your college experience so much better if you do.

Article by: Sarah Talty

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