A motion brought to Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council by TCDSU President Kieran McNulty to assign funding made available by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to the Students’ Union, has passed. The HEA is a body which advises the Minister for Education and Skills and the government on higher education policy. It is also the funding body for universities in Ireland.
The fund, which totals €320,000 was noted to be “gathering interest”. McNulty proposed that the fund be split into two separate investments. The first, a sum of €200,000, would be invested and the interest accruing from this would be used as a bursary for students travelling on placement. This would bolster the TCDSU “off campus student strategy”. The second investment, totalling €120,000, would be used “for services that improve the student experience in College”.
Referring to the motion as a “happy thing”, McNulty outlined that the fund, which had been given to the union, had been used sparsely in the previous four years. One previous use of the fund described by McNulty was to open the Berkeley, Lecky and Ussher library complex for 24 hours for a five week period, which cost €100,000. McNulty proposed that the second part of the funding would be funnelled into the College endowment fund and would not be “mixed up with college money”. The fund would then be left for future sabbatical teams to do with it what they see fit “until it runs out”.
The interest accruing from the larger portion of the fund is set to be used to support students who must go out on placement. While this would affect health sciences students predominantly, McNulty also gave special mention to Social Work students. The fund would help those students on placement with accommodation, living costs and transport.
Speaking in support of the motion fourth year Medicine class rep, Lia McCann, outlined that while medical students “get a little bit of help, radiotherapy and OT (occupational therapy) get no support”. McCann put this down to those in charge of placement engaging in “power trips” and sending students to locations not in their home counties.