The Union of Students in Ireland – May Updates
Student Achievement Awards Ireland
On Thursday 29th April 2021, the Union of Students’ in Ireland hosted a virtual ceremony for the Student Achievement Awards Ireland (SAAIs), now in their eighth year, to recognise the hard work, dedication and overall contribution of students to their campuses, student life, and to society in a wide range of categories. Students were recognised across 21 categories including Outstanding Mental Health Activism, Access Champion of the Year, International Student of the Year and Students’ Union Team of the Year, to name a few.
This awards ceremony also shone a light and gave recognition to the fantastic work carried out by some 870 third-level teaching staff who were nominated for a Teaching Hero Award, which is run in partnership by the USI and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.
You can read more about the SAAIs and the winners, here.
Mental Health Podcast – Connecting Minds
The Union of Students in Ireland has established a podcast called Connecting Minds. Hosted by Sarah Hughes, the USI’s Mental Health Manager, and Clare Austick, the USI’s Vice President for Welfare and President-Elect, this podcast focuses on many different aspects of student mental health. So far, the podcast has featured discussions on Body Image, in episode one, and on Counselling Services and Exams, in episode two.
To listen to these podcasts, you can stream them on most streaming services, such as Spotify, or find them on the USI’s website, here.
USI Accommodation Bill
On Wednesday 28th April 2021, the Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Bill 2021, was brought to the Dáil (Irish parliament) for the Second Stage of proceedings. The USI collaborated with members of the opposition government on the formation, development and completion of the Bill with the goal to address the inadequacies in legislation that left many students in a vulnerable position with regard to accommodation and finances, as a result of COVID-19.
With great support and lobbying from students, Student Union Officers and more, the government of Ireland were supportive of this opposition Bill, and it has successfully moved onto the Third Stage, the Committee Stage, for analysis, reviewal and amendments. The USI will be working to ensure that any amendments which may come forward do not alter the integrity of the bill and the proposed supports for student renters.
This is a huge victory for the movement and shows what can be done with collective action, especially at a time when Ireland is suffering at the hands of an accommodation crisis, and students are struggling at the hands of extortionate rents. The USI will continue to push the government to progress this bill as a matter of urgency for students before the new academic year.
You can read more about the Bill, and its progress here.