Andrew Forde has been elected as the new Vice President of Postgraduate Affairs of the Union of Students’ in Ireland (USI).
Forde is the current Vice President for Education in the National University of Ireland, Galway. Forde spoke in favour of USI introducing a Vice-President of Postgraduate Affairs earlier this year. He received 152 of the 192 votes cast this afternoon.
Runner-up Alexander Cosgrave received 40 votes. Cosgrave is the incoming Trinity Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) Communications Officer and was previously involved in the students’ union at University College Cork (UCC) during his undergraduate studies. Cosgrave ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Green Party in the 2016 General Election.
Forde will be the first to hold the office following the USI’s vote to introduce a part-time Vice-President for Postgraduate Affairs in April. Trinity’s GSU lobbied USI for the introduction of the position earlier this year. The new role will involve implementing initiatives and campaigns which target postgraduate students.
USI identified that it has seen a lack of engagement from postgraduate students. In the Postgraduate Students Strategy 2018, the USI outlined the changes it will make in order to better represent postgraduate students. Alongside the introduction of a Postgraduate Officer, these include organising an annual conference for postgraduate students; providing resources to the USI Postgraduate Representation Network; and establishing an ad hoc Research Committee to examine issues surrounding postgraduate research.
The elections took place today at the USI National Council in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). Forde and Cosgrave made speeches to the Council prior to the vote.
With the exception of the Vice-President for Postgraduate Affairs, elections for USI’s officers for the 2018/2019 academic year took place in April. Síona Cahill, former USI Vice-President for Equality, was elected as the new USI President. Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Welfare Officer Damien McClean was elected as USI Vice President for Welfare. TCDSU Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) Convenor Colm O’Halloran was elected USI Vice President for the Dublin Region.
The USI is a national body representing 374,000 third-level students in Ireland.