TCDSU’s Know Your Union Week

Emma McCarthy gives the run-down of the SU’s latest campaign and what they hope to acheive out the week’s activities



   “I suppose we brought “Know Your Union Week” into play to make our positions, and the union itself, more accessible.”

 “Freshers’ week isn’t over” is the leading line in the Students’ Union’s introduction to their new campaign week, “Know Your Union”,  a fresh addition to the student calendar this year. With no more society stands in Front Square and lectures in full swing, Freshers’ Week certainly has come to a close – so what exactly is this campaign week all about?

   The title of the campaign leaves little room for confusion in terms of what the sole purpose of the week is, but the question remains; what exactly will the SU be doing in order to help students get to know their union?

   Having originally taken place within the SU four years ago, this campaign week has now been revived and kicked off to a vibrant start Monday morning. With an array of events taking place until Friday, the new sabbatical officers hope to increase the accessibility of the Students’ Union, a task they feel needs to be improved upon.

   “This week is necessary to increase the visibility of the Union”, said Kieran McNulty, SU President. “We are here, above all, to help students. We want to display to (them) what the SU actually does in College, and that we’re here to support them”.

   Not merely serving as a new campaign that the present SU can proudly put under their belts, “Know Your Union Week” provides structure for many annual events that were previously scattered across the academic year, combining them with new events that this year’s SU have introduced.

  From Monday to Friday, members of the union will be handing out goodie bags containing SU diaries, an Ents card, wall calendars and more in the Arts Block and the Hamilton building, with the sabbatical officers visiting off-campus locations including St. James’, D’Olier Street and TBSI throughout today. There they shall meet with students in an effort to improve the inclusivity of the SU by acknowledging the vast span of students in varying locations across the city, an issue many of the current sabbatical officers brought up in their election campaigns.

   Both yesterday and today on campus, students are given the opportunity to register to vote, with Citizenship Officer Damien McLean even visiting Trinity Halls on Thursday to make this process as accessible as possible for the student body.

   This Tuesday evening sees one of the main events of the week, the SU Campaign Hub Launch, taking place in the Dining Hall at 8pm. With free food and drink and a live band, this a chance for students to meet with the different officers within the SU, learn about their various aims for the year and perhaps sign up to a campaign that peaks their interests. Engagement is already high, with 1,400 signups so far for campaigns ranging from “Body and Soul Week” to “Mental Health Week”.

   “If students are more filled-in, hopefully they’ll be more driven to get involved”, commented Ents Officer Padraic Rowley, who hopes that this event will encourage students to get involved in the movements which concern them. In keeping with his description of the “60’s revolutionary-feel” surrounding the event, it is only fitting that an Ents night out follows suit. Following the Campaign Hub, “Anarchy”  will take place in the Button Factory and you can attend this revolutionary night free of charge provided you manage to nab a wristband whilst in the Dining Hall.

   With Wednesday comes “Hit the Ground Running Day”, with much of the focus on Education Officer Dale O’ Faoilléacháin who shall be holding talks on what exactly it is to be a class representative, a role that gets students directly involved with the SU. This is the week for students to nominate a fellow classmate as their class rep, with online nominations remaining open until Thursday evening at 6pm, and elections taking place from October 4 to October 6.

  When asked about what he wishes to achieve over “Know Your Union Week”, Dale expressed his hope to convey the message that that he is there for any academic queries students may have, especially in time of difficulty.

   “I suppose we brought “Know Your Union Week” into play to make our positions, and the union itself, more accessible”, Dale commented. “Freshers’ Week can be an explosion of information, particularly for incoming Junior Freshman, and we wanted to make sure we got our message out there loud and clear by effectively communicating what we do when things have settled down a bit”.

   Attention shifts to Welfare Officer Aoibhinn on Thursday, Welfare Day, with events taking place such as the “Tenants’ Rights Workshop” in association with Trinity FLAC, and “International Students 101” including a tour of campus which shall be run with the help of International Officer, Ross Cooke. The SU officers stressed the importance of highlighting the academic and welfare supports that are available to Trinity students.

   “More often than not, a student’s welfare will affect their academics and vice versa”, Dale furthered, stressing that himself and Aoibhinn aim to inform students of the available supports as effectively as possible in the coming week.

   For some students, the following week will be centred around little more than adjusting to the new routine of lectures, and perhaps even a tad more time recovering from the whirlwind that was Freshers’ Week. For those who do in fact take part in “Know Your Union Week”, it looks to be a worthy way for Trinity students, both new and old, to familiarise themselves with their Students’ Union. As the only body in college that students become an automatic member of, it is perhaps only logical that students are aware of who their SU is, and what exactly they do.

“We’re keeping the ‘SU’ in-suit”, joked Rowley – now it’s up to you to decide if this is a week worth keeping in the Trinity calendar.