The management of the Unions affairs is conducted on four levels. Referendum, General Meeting, Union Council and Union Executive
As you may have noticed, there has been a €7 levy added to your student contribution fee.
The reason for this is that you are a member of the Union of Students of Ireland (USI). In May 2013, a referendum was held by CIT Students’ Union to decide whether or not we would re-affiliate with USI after a 15 year exodus. The results of this referendum were conclusive, with approximately 85% of students being in favour of re-affiliation.
So you may ask why be part of USI? How will it ever affect me and my college experience? Without throwing out generic catch-phrases and buzzwords, here is the value we believe you are getting from USI Membership:
1. National representation - As the president of the Students' Union I have a vote at national council, whereby all USI decisions and policies are passed. Since I am your elected representative for CIT Students’ Union, this means that your voice and the issues that affect you are being heard on a National level. Also, USI members (i.e. students of CIT) are represented on National issues that affect all students in Ireland such as cuts to the grant, fee hikes, the recent accommodation crisis, LGBT rights, higher education funding, etc. There are so many issues that will affect you throughout your time at CIT, which are shared by students all over Ireland. With USI membership, these issues also become USI’s issues. Therefore USI membership is essential for your issues to be resolved on a national level.
2. More efficient CITSU Executive Officers - Throughout the summer all CITSU Officers been provided with training courses that will equip us with the skills to perform to the highest standards possible for you the students we represent.
Without USI there is no formal training process for executive officers. Similarly there is no course in college that could equip us with the skills needed for the job we will undertake for the year. USI SUT (Students' Union Training) gives us a crash course in the areas most relevant to our job such as:
- Public Speaking
- Policy Development
- Time management
- Handling student issues
- Negotiating with senior management
- Lobbying local TDs
- Event management
- Social Media
3. Comparative Research - Through the network we have built up with other colleges in USI , we can look at best practice in other colleges and use this to build stronger arguments when proposing change.
4. Support on the big changes - In the coming years CITSU wil be involved in some huge changes within the institute such as the merger of CIT and IT Tralee to become Munster Institute of Technology (MTU). On our part we must ensure that students are at the forefront of every single decision that is made during this process, and we will have the complicated task of merging our Students’ Union with IT Tralee Students’ Union. By being part of USI we have already gained huge support and knowledge on what we need to consider when merging Unions. We are able to also able to get in contact with other USI Students’ Unions who are part of the quickly progressing Dublin Technological University Merger, so that we can apply what has worked well and avoid what hasn’t, throughout our own merger process. This means that the resulting merged Union will be structured in the best way possible.
Another huge change that we can look to other colleges for support on is the proposed new CIT Arena. A number of USI colleges have been through this process before and know the various pitfalls to look out for. By communicating with them we are in the best position possible to ensure the delivery of a world-class facility for the students of CIT.
5. Student Discounts – USI has been working hard over this past summer to agree deals with big retailers and service suppliers to bring a number of discounts for its student members, which should hopefully be available during the coming year. USI have yet to launch the initiative yet, but some of this broad, inclusive range of deals will save you a lot more than the €7 that you pay for USI membership.
Finally, there are so many other reasons why USI membership is important but I would be writing all day when I should be applying what I've learned through USI to the improvement of your life at CIT. If you have any more questions regarding the levy please direct them our way at the Students' Union. Our door is always open.
All the Best,