Becoming a UL Student Officer: Everything You Need to Know
Yesterday marked the opening of the 2022 UL Student Life Student Officer nominations for the upcoming elections on Thursday 24th March, and they remain open until the 15th March. So what does this mean? During this time, any UL student can register their interest in one of the four full time student officer positions:
Becoming a student officer is an exciting and dynamic opportunity to influence real change at University level. It is a 12-month position, which is paid, and includes the following benefits:
- 1:1 Leadership & Performance Coaching
- Media Training
- Professional Boundaries Training
- Leaders for Life training program
- 26 days annual leave
- discounted gym membership
When you become a Student Officer, you join a team of 4 elected officers, a Student Executive, Student Council, and are supported by the 14 full-time staff members of UL Student Life. The skillset of the full-time staff is broad and varied, from marketing to project management and governance, youth work, mental health training, hr & finance, event management, strategic planning, communication, web design, content creation, facilitation, coaching and mentoring. The role of the staff is to act as a back office support, guiding, mentoring and advising student officers on the best course of action to serve student needs. In simplified terms, the majority of the Student Officer’s time is spent at University meetings advocating for change, therefore the staff support officers by doing a lot of the work in the background, be it organising events, creating content, organising or facilitating training as well as running departments, managing staff and working on our strategic plan. It is a busy, fun, energetic and dynamic work environment, where no two days look the same, and that’s what’s great about it!!!
The role of a Student Officer is an opportunity to step up as a leader, build your confidence and learn skills that will support you in your future career. We asked several focus groups what they think a good Student Officer looks like, and here is what they said:
Over the past 10 years representation roles have evolved quickly alongside student needs. With UL student numbers expanding at a rapid pace i.e. over 20% in the last 5 years, the need for a strong student voice has never been greater. Student Officers are that voice and are the heart of representation, representing the views of students and acting as the channel between students on the ground and university committees. Each officer role is assigned a seat on varying university committees, which aligns with their role. Did you know the Student Officers sit on committees such as Academic Council and Governing Authority, amongst many more? Every decision making body in the University has a space for the student voice, so it is of utmost importance that the right voice is sitting on the right committee at the right time
We must never underestimate the power and influence of the student voice. Here are some highlights of how Student Representatives influenced change in UL over the last few decades.
- Student Union lobbied for repeat exams and won
- The Leave A Legacy Project
- UL Boathouse
- Student Officer secures €10 million of government funds for library extension
- Successfully opposed all plans to retrofit single rooms into double rooms on campus.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to representing and advocating on student needs. Every day Student Officers work tirelessly on the small wins be it pointing a student in the right direction to receive support on varying welfare matters, to providing invaluable information on academic affairs. Whilst it is pretty much as signposting role, they also run campaigns each semester on key issues affecting students. It is through their campaigns that they educate and support students to navigate through the challenges of being a student in 2022, be it financial issues, accommodation issues, mental health issues or whatever issue may arise year on year. It is their job to listen and deliver meaningful campaigns.
“The role of Welfare Officer was incredibly rewarding and to this day, it has been the most spoken about topic in any job interview that I have done. Employers realise the influence of the sabbatical on potential employees and they are always blown away by the depth of the role, and the learnings in it. I had the ability to focus on key aspects of student life that I was most passionate about, with the support and guidance of the council and the union staff members. I learned many skills during my time which have proved crucial in my career to date – like leadership skills, chairing effective meetings, public speaking, and campaign/event management. My time as DP Welfare has shaped me both personally and professionally and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to drive key health and wellness campaigns.”
Roberta Harrington, Welfare Officer 2017/18
So, if would you like to learn more about becoming a student officer, then check out our Election Hub and book in a chat with Siobhan Wilmott, who will guide you through the next steps and help you decide what role is suitable for you or check out Election FAQ’s