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RFC06/1 – Structures Guide

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On 22nd February 2006, you will be asked to vote in two Students’ Union referenda. These are numbered RFP06/1 (Student Levy) and RFC06/1 (Structures). This guide seeks to explain the RFC06/1 (Structures) only. Further additional documentation fully explains the other referendum, RFP06/1 (Student Levy).

NUI Galway Students’ Union asks that you read this information carefully and inform yourself fully of both sides of the argument in advance of the referendum. The full motion text is available here.

1. General information

This referendum seeks to make changes to the Constitution of the Students’ Union and, therefore, to the structure and operations of the Union.

A “yes” vote would mean the changes proposed in the motion text would be implemented, taking effect at 09:00 on Thursday 23rd February 2006.

A “no” vote would mean there would be no change to the structure or operations of the Union.

A quorum of 5% of Union members (approx. 700 students) is required to make the vote valid.

2. What are the main changes to the Executive Committee?

The main changes proposed would see the removal of the positions of Vice-President / Campaigns and Communications Officer (VP/CCO), Secretary, Disability Awareness Officer (DAO) and Environmental Awareness Officer (EAO) from the Executive Committee and the creation of the new positions of Postgraduate Officer and Student Development Officer (SDO).

3. Who will do the work of the Officers positions being removed?

The Executive intends to create the new staff position of Press Officer (title to be decided), which will be a paid, full-time staff member, but will not be a member of the Executive Committee. The responsibilities of the current VP/CCO will be taken over by this new staff member, as will responsibility for the layout of the Sin newspaper, Students’ Union diary, wall planner and other posters and flyers; all of this work is currently out-sourced at considerable expense. (It’s important to note that staff members have no Executive authority and will not represent the Union’s members on any University committees or elsewhere.)

The Executive also intends to appoint an Administrative Secretary, which will be a paid, full-time staff position and will not be a member of the Executive Committee, but will support the work of the Executive. The responsibilities of the current part-time, unpaid Secretary would be taken over by the Administrative Secretary. Amongst other things, the Administrative Secretary will also be responsible for the preparation of documentation for, and recording of, all Union meetings, including Executive, Class Reps Council and general meetings. S/He will also act as an assistant to the President, thereby reducing the considerable amount of time the President currently spends on administrative work and allowing him/her to focus on furthering the objectives of the Union.

The responsibilities of the Environmental Awareness Officer will be taken over by the Executive Officer nominated to represent students on the University’s Physical Resources Committee (currently the President). It should also be noted that the Buildings Office has recently employed a staff member to deal exclusively with environmental issues.

The responsibilities of the Disability Awareness Officer will be merged with those of the Equality Officer. Indeed, the current Constitution does not make a clear division between these roles in any case. This is not a downgrading of the position of DAO, but a strengthening of the portfolio by clarifying and increasing the roles and responsibilities of the Equality Officer. The new definition also makes reference to the role of the Equality Officer in assisting both ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’ students.

4. What will the new Officers do?

The Postgraduate Officer will be responsible for developing Union policy in relation to postgraduate students, in conjunction with the Education Officer. This Officer will also encourage postgraduate participation in the Union and the University, which is currently very poor. It is intended that this will increase the resources available to the Union to address postgraduate issues, in addition to the work of the President and Education Officer.

The Student Development Officer is a hugely positive step for the Union. The Union has spent many years filling gaps in the service provided by the University, but the creation of this position allows the Union to begin to focus more on the personal development of its members. The position will promote and encourage participation in extra-curricular activities and the SDO will facilitate involvement by members of the Union in the University community and outside the campus.

5. What other changes are there to the Executive and its role?

The role of the President has been re-worded to allow for a greater understanding of the position together with its relationship with both the commercial companies and the Union of Students in Ireland. It also clearly defines the role of the President as the Chief Executive Officer which is unclear in the Constitution.

The role of the Irish Language Officer has also been clarified and makes clearer reference to the responsibility of this Officer to work with the Irish language and cultural societies on campus.

The proposed additional wording in Article 11, section C requires all Officers to present a work plan to the Executive for approval before week two of the first semester. In many cases, Officers operate on a day-to-day basis with no forward planning. This provision will mean that the Executive jointly decides the priorities for the upcoming year. The work plan must also be reviewed at the end of semesters one and two.

The first change to Article 11, section E reduces the quorum for Executive meetings from six to five, in line with the reduction in the number of Officers from eleven to nine.

The second change to Article 11, section E details the role of the Administrative Secretary in preparing for, and recording of, Executive meetings. Further duties will be explained in his/her employment contract.

The change to Article 11, section H requires members of the Executive to maintain confidentially on certain matters, as decided by the Executive, and also affirms that all Officers have a collective responsibility towards the successful operation of the Union.

The changes to Article 11, section J explain the role of the Administrative Secretary in the Elections Committee and Publications Committee and remove reference to the commercial company. New clubs’ and societies’ fora/forums will be introduced to allow for better communication between the Clubs’ Captain and Societies’ Chairperson and their respective electorates. This tidies up an anomaly which saw these fora being held on an ad hoc basis. The changes also require the Clubs’ Captain and Societies’ Chairperson to report to these fora on their work, in addition to reporting to the Class Reps Council.

The new section to be inserted in Article 11 requires outgoing full-time Officers to provide training for incoming Officers. This usually happens each June, but unfortunately, not always. The training must take place in the first three weeks of June (an Officer’s term finishes on 30th June). The incoming Officer will be paid for their week spent in training, which means they can have no excuse for not attending!

6. What are the changes to Article 7 (Officers)?

The structure of the Executive Committee is detailed in Articles 7 and 11. All changes to this structure are explained above.

The second change removes wording related to the Secretary of the Union.

The final change involves the insertion of a new section requiring the Union to provide employment contracts to the full-time Officers in advance of them taking office (required under Irish and European legislation) and affirming that the Executive is responsible for setting the rate of pay of the full-time Officers – this is not stated elsewhere.

7. Why are there changes relating to bank accounts and the companies?

Four years ago, students voted to incorporate the business interests of the Union in a company (NUI Galway Students’ Union Commercial Services Limited), wholly owned by the Union, but operated by professional business people. This company took over the operations of the College Bar, concourse catering (Smokey Joe’s), campus shop and bar catering departments of the Union on 1st January 2006. Each of these departments is a ‘profit centre’, operated mainly to provide a service to the members of the Union, but also to provide additional funding for the Union’s representational activities. As large businesses, they each require considerable input from the Board of Directors.

However, the other commercial services – lockers, exam papers, bookstore, TravelCards, etc. – are much smaller operations and do not require input from the Board. Therefore, they should not be part of the company, but should instead remain as a department of the Union. The remaining publications and entertainment departments are run as services to the members of the Union and, as such, are unlikely to generate any profits and require no input from the Board.

In light of the incorporation of the company, the matters relating to bank accounts are no longer relevant. The changes to Articles 6 and 19 seek to clarify all of the above points in the Constitution.

The changes to Article 19 seek to clarify the role of the President as chair of the Board of Directors of the commercial company (this is currently included in Article 11), and to remove the current practice of the now-defunct Finance Committee electing a secretary to be Board. This secretarial role will now be carried out by the senior staff member of the company, in line with best practice elsewhere.

8. What about changes relating to referenda or the Schedules?

There is significant duplication between Articles 15 and 18 relating to amendments to the Constitution, its Schedules and the calling of referenda. The proposed changes to Article 15 seek to clarify these issues, but do not in any way change the manner in which referenda are called or the Schedules are modified.

The single change to Article 18 allows for an increase of the notification period for a referendum from three to four weeks, which will allow additional time for discussion, if necessary.

9. Are there any changes to the Class Reps Council?

The first change to Article 10 allows for the nomination of an acting secretary if the Administrative Secretary is unavailable at any meeting. There is currently no provision for this.

The second change to Article 10 removes an anomaly relating to the presentation of reports from Executive Officers. Officers will still be required to present a report to the CRC at least monthly, or more regularly if requested by the CRC.

10. What about change to elections?

The first change to Section B of Schedule I (Elections) will introduce the ‘Re-open Nominations’ option to all Union elections. This is currently only used in the event of there being just one candidate for a position.

The second change to Schedule I will mean that only registered postgraduate students will be permitted to vote in the election of the Postgraduate Officer. (This does not prevent undergraduate students from holding the position.) It is envisaged that the Postgraduate Officer would, in future, hold seats on Údarás na hOllscoile (University Governing Authority) and Academic Council. However, the Universities Act (1997) contains a provision that permits only postgraduate students to vote in the election of a postgraduate representative to Údarás na hOllscoile. The restriction being imposed by this change would satisfy the condition set down in the Act. (However, the provisions of the Act in this regard would only become active if the Postgraduate Officer is a postgraduate student at NUI Galway or goes on to become a postgraduate student after their election.)

11. What other changes are there?

References to the Secretary have been replaced by the “Administrative Secretary” as appropriate, and all references to the Administrative Officer (this staff position no longer exists in the Union) have been replaced by “senior staff member”.

The final changes are to correct minor typographical errors in the Constitution.

12. What are the funding implications for the Union?

The changes listed above will mean there will be one less paid full-time Officer from July 2006. As a result, that salary will be freed up (€18,000) and savings of approximately €5,000 will be made by doing in-house design work rather than outsourcing it. However, the two new staff salaries – Press Officer and Administrative Secretary – will require funding of approximately €50,000 per year. Accordingly, it is important that the other referendum – RFP06/1 (Student Levy) – is passed at the same time as this referendum so as to increase the funding available to the Union and, therefore, to enhance the services available to the members of the Union.

13. Further information

If you require further information, please call to the Students’ Union offices in Áras na Mac Léinn or e-mail the Students’ Union President at su.president@nuigalway.ie

When does polling take place?

Polling will take place from 10:00-20:00 on Wednesday 22nd February 2006 in Áras na Mac Léinn.

Return to Motion RFC061

Referendum RFC06/1 – Structures

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The Executive Committee of the Students’ Union of the National University of Ireland, Galway hereby gives notice of a referendum – number RFC06/1 (Structures) – of its members under Article 18 of its Constitution to be held on Wednesday 22nd February 2006.

Votes in Favour – 532
Votes Against – 244
Total Valid Poll -766
Spoiled Votes – 14
Total Poll – 790
Result – Passed

The full motion text is as follows:

“That the Constitution of the Students’ Union of the National University of Ireland, Galway, passed by referendum on 18th April 2002 and amended by referendum RFC04/1 on 19th February 2004, be amended as follows:-

ARTICLE 6: STRUCTURE

Section (ii), sub-section A. Representational:

Replace the words “Administrative Officer” with the words “senior staff member”.
Delete the words “In the case of accounts of specific interest however, mandates may be changed by agreement with each of the above mentioned signatories. Responsibility for the College Bar (Student Club) and the SU Travel Office shall be retained by the Student Union Executive who shall pass over management of same to the commercial Company unless otherwise expressly decided by an AGM.”

Section (ii), sub-section B. Commercial:

Replace this entire section with the following: “The commercial activities of the Students’ Union shall be run in accordance with the provisions of this constitution. Siopa na Mac Léinn, Concourse Catering, Bar Catering and the College Bar shall be controlled by the Board of Directors of NUI Galway Students’ Union Commercial Services Limited. Responsibility for Publications, Entertainments and the general office services (general office services being exam papers, lockers and other services as may be decided from time-to-time by the Executive) shall be retained by the Executive Committee.

Signatories on cheques and all forms of debit paper from the Union’s companies’ accounts shall be decided by the respective Boards of Directors of these companies.”

ARTICLE 7: OFFICERS

Section A:

Delete sub-section (iv) “The Vice-President / Campaigns and Communications Officer”;
Delete sub-section (v) “The Secretary”;
Delete sub-section (viii) “The Disability Awareness Officer”;
Delete sub-section (ix) “The Environmental Awareness Officer”;
Insert “The Postgraduate Officer” as sub-section (iv);
Insert “The Student Development Officer” as sub-section (v);
Re-number accordingly.

Section B:

Replace this entire section with the following “The President shall be an ex-officio member of all Union committees and sub-committees unless otherwise stated in the Constitution and its Schedules. S/He may delegate her/his position on all committees, except the CRC and Executive Committee, to members of the Executive Committee or CRC.”

Section D:

Insert the words “They shall receive and sign employment contracts prior to taking up office and shall be remunerated at a rate to be decided by the Executive Committee.” after “the Union.”

ARTICLE 9: GENERAL MEETINGS

Replace the words “the Secretary” with the words “the Administrative Secretary”.

ARTICLE 10: CLASS REPRESENTATIVES COUNCIL

Section C:

Replace the words “The Secretary of the Union shall be ex-officio secretary of the CRC.” with the words “The Administrative Secretary of the Union shall be the non-voting secretary of the CRC. In the event of the Administrative Secretary being unavailable, the President shall nominate a member of the CRC to record the minutes for that meeting.”

Sections I, J, L:

Replace all instances of the words “the Secretary” with the words “the Administrative Secretary”.

Section N:

Replace the words “every second meeting” with the words “every second ordinary meeting”.

ARTICLE 11: THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section A:

Delete section (i) “The President”.
Insert the following as section (i): “The President of the Union, who shall be chairperson and shall have responsibility to uphold this Constitution and the terms of reference of all Union companies. The President shall be responsible for liaising with the appropriate staff members of the Union, the Union’s companies and with University management. S/He shall have responsibility for the finances of the Union in conjunction with the senior staff member and shall report to the Executive on this and the activities of the Union’s companies. The President shall also be responsible for ultimate coordination of Students’ Union campaigns and shall be required to act as a member of the Boards of Directors of companies owned by or related to the Union. S/He will represent Union members on University committees, and shall be the Chief Executive Officer and chief spokesperson of the Union. The President shall be the principal delegate to the National Council and Annual Congress of the Union of Students in Ireland. The President shall also be required to give a mandatory report on work carried out at each Executive meeting.”
Delete sub-section (ii) “The Secretary”;
Replace the words “the Secretary” with the words “the Administrative Secretary” in sub-section (iv).
Delete sub-section (v) “The Vice-President / Campaigns and Communications Officer”;
Delete sub-section (vi) “The Equality Officer”;
Insert the following as sub-section (vi): “The Equality Officer, who shall have responsibility for the promotion of equal opportunities and equal participation for all members of the Union. To this end, s/he shall initiate relevant campaigns to highlight and address difficulties facing ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’ students. The Equality Officer shall be responsible for promoting integration in all student activities and shall provide a limited number of hours weekly for the purposes of consultation and referral for Union members. S/He will represent Union members on various University committees.”
Delete sub-section (vii) “The Disability Awareness Officer”;
Delete sub-section (ix) “The Environmental Awareness Officer”;
Insert the following as sub-section (v): “The Postgraduate Officer, who shall be responsible for developing Union policy on postgraduate education. S/He shall lobby for better induction, training and other facilities for postgraduate students. S/He shall also be responsible for encouraging postgraduate student participation in the Union and the University and shall work primarily in conjunction with the Vice-President / Education Officer. S/He will represent Union members on various University committees.”
Insert the following as sub-section (vii): “The Student Development Officer, who shall be responsible for the promotion of an active university community through encouraging volunteering and participation in extra-curricular activities amongst members of the Union. To this end, s/he shall support and advance initiatives that contribute to the overall development of students. S/He will represent Union members on various University committees.”
Replace the words “who shall enforce Article 6.i.(C) and 6.i.(D) and who shall promote the Irish language and culture in NUI Galway.” with the words “who shall be responsible for the promotion of the Irish language and culture amongst the members of the Union. To this end, s/he shall enforce Article 6.i.(C) and 6.i.(D) and shall support the work of the Irish language societies on campus.” in sub-section (viii).
Re-number accordingly.

Section C:

Insert the words “The Executive Committee shall decide Union policy and all members of the Executive shall be bound by these policies. All members of the Executive Committee shall be required to present a work plan for the year ahead to the Executive for approval before week two of the first semester. This work plan shall be reviewed and, if necessary, updated before the start of the second semester and again at the end of the second semester and at any other time that the Executive Committee deems appropriate.” after the words “of the Union”.

Section E:

Replace the word “six” with the word “five”.
Insert the words “The Administrative Secretary of the Union shall not be a member of the Executive, but shall act as secretary to the Executive Committee and shall be responsible for recording minutes and other duties as required from time-to-time by the Executive. In the event of the Administrative Secretary being unavailable, the President shall nominate a member of the Executive to record the minutes for that meeting.”

Section G:

Replace the word “six” with the word “five”.

Section H:

Insert the words “All members of the Executive shall have a collective responsibility for the successful operation of the Union. All members of the Executive must maintain confidentiality on any matter deemed confidential by the Executive.” after the words “the Union”.

Section J:

Replace this entire section with the words “The Elections Committee. This shall comprise of the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Returning Officer appointed under Schedule I, section A, sub-section 1. The Administrative Secretary shall act as non-voting secretary to the committee. The duties of this committee are to oversee the running of all Union elections and to decide on any matters relating to such which are not specifically covered in this constitution and it’s schedules. If a member of the committee is running for re-election, they must resign their position on the Elections Committee. The Executive Committee shall nominate one of their number as a replacement. The Elections Committee must also provide a list of rules and regulations for candidates on Union notice boards before campaigning begins.”
Replace this entire section with the words “The Publications Committee. This shall comprise of the President and the Vice-Presidents and the relevant staff members nominated by the Executive Committee. The Administrative Secretary shall act as non-voting secretary to the committee. The duties of this committee are to oversee the non-editorial organisation of all Union publications and to decide on any matters relating to such which are not specifically covered in this constitution and its schedules of Seirbhisi Comhaltas na Mac Léinn, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe Teoranta.”
Insert the following as sub-section (v): “The Societies’ Forum. The Societies’ Forum shall be chaired by the Societies’ Chairperson and shall meet at least once per semester. The purpose of the Societies’ Forum shall be to discuss any relevant issues arising which affect the University’s societies. The Societies’ Forum shall be open to the auditors of the University’s societies. An auditor may nominate a society representative to attend in his/her place. The Societies’ Chairperson must provide a written report of work in progress and any other relevant information to at least one Societies’ Forum per semester and may be requested also by the Societies’ Forum to provide additional reports.”
Insert the following as sub-section (vi): “The Clubs’ Forum. The Clubs’ Forum shall be chaired by the Clubs’ Captain and shall meet at least once per semester. The purpose of the Clubs’ Forum shall be to discuss any relevant issues arising which affect the University’s clubs. The Clubs’ Forum shall be open to the captains of the University’s clubs. A captain may nominate a club representative to attend in his/her place. The Clubs’ Captain must provide a written report of work in progress and any other relevant information to at least one Clubs’ Forum per semester and may also be requested by the Clubs’ Forum to provide additional reports.”

Section (new):

Insert the following as a new section after section I: “Incoming full-time Officers shall be required to attend one week of crossover training in advance of taking office. Such training shall be provided by the outgoing Officer. This training shall normally take place in the first three weeks of the month of June and dates shall be agreed in advance between the incoming Officer and the outgoing Executive. Incoming Officers shall be remunerated at the same rate as the full-time Officers for this week’s training. However, this remuneration shall not be payable in the case of an outgoing full-time Officer having been elected to the same or another Executive office.”
Re-number accordingly.

ARTICLE 14: MINUTES

Replace the words “the Union Secretary” with the words “the Administrative Secretary”.

ARTICLE 15: AMENDMENTS

Section A:

Replace the words “A referendum shall be the only method of amending the Constitution” with the words “A referendum of the members of the Union shall be the only method of amending the Constitution and such a referendum shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions laid out in Article 18”.

Section C:

Replace the words “the Constitution or its Schedules” with the words “the Schedules of this Constitution”.
Replace the words “and, if appropriate, website” with the words “and website(s)”.

Section D:

Delete this section.

ARTICLE 17: INTERPRETATION OF MINUTES AND MOTIONS OF ALL UNION MEETINGS

Replace the words “the Secretary” with the words “the Administrative Secretary”.

ARTICLE 18: THE REFERENDUM

Sections B, C:

Replace the word “three” with the word “four”.

ARTICLE 19: COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES

Section 2:

Delete the words “Publications/Seirbhísí, Entertainments and the General Office Area. The Company shall be responsible for all Student Union bank accounts in operation at present with the exception of the Representational Account which shall be the full responsibility of the Students’ Union Executive.”

Section 5:

Insert the words “who shall act as Chairperson of the Board” after the words “Students’ Union”.
Delete sub-section (i).d.
Delete sub-section (iii).
Insert the words “The senior staff member of the company shall act as non-voting secretary to the Board. S/He shall be responsible for the organisation of Board meetings and any other duties as may be decided from time-to-time by the Board.” as sub-section (iii).

Section 7:

Replace the words “the Administrator” with the words “the senior staff member”.

SCHEDULE I: ELECTIONS

Section B

Insert the words “Notwithstanding this, only registered postgraduate students of the University shall be eligible to vote in the election of the Postgraduate Officer.” after the words “is a student or not” in sub-section 7.
Delete current sub-section 11.
Insert the words “The ballot paper shall contain the names of all candidates. In all elections where there are any nominations, ballot papers shall include as an option the statement ‘Re-open nominations’, which shall be treated as a candidate and shall be the last name on the ballot appear. If the ‘Re-open nominations’ candidate is elected, the Returning Officer shall declare the vacancy unfilled and a new election shall be held in accordance with the provisions of this Schedule.” as sub-section 11.

Sections C, E:

Delete all instances of the words “Secretary or”.

ALL ARTICLES

Replace all instances of the words “Student Union” with the words “Students’ Union”.
Re-number all sections of Article 19 in accordance with the standard numbering format used elsewhere in the Constitution as follows:-
sections to be in the format A, B, C, etc.;
sub-sections to be in the format (i), (ii), (iii), etc.

INVOCATION

The changes proposed to the Constitution in this motion shall come into force at 09:00 on the morning immediately following the close of polls.”

Further information

For further information on this referendum, please read the RFC06/1 Structures Guide

Return to Referenda Index

Referendum RFC07/1 (Class Representatives Council)

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On Wednesday 26th September 2007, you will be asked to vote in a Students Union referendum RFC 07/1 (Class Representatives Council). NUI Galway Students Union asks that you read this information carefully and inform yourself of both sides of the argument in advance of the referendum. Full motion text is available here.

(1) General Information

This referendum seeks to make changes to the constitution of the Students Union and therefore to the structures and operations of the Union.

A “yes” vote would mean the changes proposed in the motion text would be implemented, taking effect at 9am on Thursday 27th September 2007.

A “no” vote would mean that there would be no change to the structure or operations of the Students Union.

All members of the Students Union are entitled to vote. You do not have to be 18 in order to vote.

(2) What are the main changes to Class Representatives Council (CRC)?

CRC will consist of two bodies: Faculty Class Representatives Council (FCRC) and Union Body (UB).

Each faculty will have a FCRC. Thus there will be an Arts FCRC, Commerce FCRC, Science FCRC, Medicine and Health Sciences FCRC, Engineering FCRC and Law FCRC. There will also be a Post Graduate FCRC. Each FCRC will meet once a month to discuss issues which will affect each individual faculty only.

UB will consist of five reps from each FCRC. UB will discuss issues which affect the Students Union and the University. UB meetings will be held once a month. All members of the Executive Committee must present a report at every UB meeting.

(3) Attendance at meetings

All members of the Executive Committee must attend all meetings of Union Body. The Vice-President/Education Officer must attend all meetings of FCRC. The Post Graduate Officer must attend all Post Graduate FCRC. However, any member of FCRC may request any member of the Executive Committee to attend a FCRC meeting if they wish to discuss a matter with that Executive Committee member.

Referendum on Students’ Union Position on the Issue of Abortion

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On Thursday 7th March 2013 you will be asked to vote in a referendum on whether the Students’ Union adopt a Pro-Choice position in support of the national campaign for full reproductive rights, which includes a woman’s right to abortion, whether elective or medically necessary. The wording which will appear on the ballot paper, requiring a Yes / No answer, will be:

Do you agree with the following proposition:

That NUI Galway Students’ Union adopt a Pro-Choice position, in support of the national campaign for full reproductive rights, which includes a woman’s right to abortion, whether elective or medically necessary.

Furthermore, the Students’ Union will use every available measure to realise these rights on campus and nationally.

This referendum has been requested by 500 members of the Students’ Union as prescribed in the Students’ Union Constitution, Article 16.

Press Release: NUI Galway Students’ Union Adopts Pro-Choice Policy

Student Scoops €10,000 with Study App at NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards

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Niamh Duffy, an MSc in Clinical Research student at NUI Galway from Dublin has scooped the top prize of €10,000 at the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards. Her winning project StudySmart is a study software application for secondary school students which acts as a time management and motivational tool. The creator of StudySmart was presented with her prize by local entrepreneurs Pádraig O’Céidigh and Judy Greene together with NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Paul Curley.

The StudySmart application will enable students to study in a more efficient, scientific manner and improve their grades. Judges were very impressed with StudySmart and its potential to motivate and encourage secondary school students in their studies.

The competition which is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union is supported by NUI Galway and seeks to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst students. In its three years, the competition has attracted entries from students studying a variety of subjects. The Two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to Tim Groome for GaelicLinks, a networking website for all people involved in GAA and Jenny Groarke for Sing Bang Music Workshops which aims to provide inclusive, supportive and fun music workshops for older adults.

Pádraig O’Céidigh, who attended the award ceremony said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.”

NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Paul Curley said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.”

NUI Galway Student Entrepreneurs Compete For €20,000 Prize Fund!

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The NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards competition has now entered its final stage as six finalists battle it out for a €20,000 investment fund to turn their ideas into reality. Now in its third year, the competition seeks to promote entrepreneurship and innovation among the students of NUI Galway in both social and business enterprise.

Each of the six finalists, all NUI Galway students, received investment capital of €500 to develop their initial social or business ideas further. A series of workshops hosted by members of the business community and university staff and students helped the finalists to develop their ideas ahead of the final judging session in March. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony hosted in the University’s College Bar on Saturday 13th of April with guest speaker Pádraig Ó’Céidigh.

Paul Curley, President of NUI Galway Students’ Union, said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards again this year. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. At a time when real innovation and flair is needed, students are leading the way in creating the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted with the support that the Awards have received from the local business community and the university.”

The final six projects are:

1. Dametro

First year Business Information Systems student Paul Mulhern from Longford has developed Dametro which is an E-Commerce website selling jewellery.

2. GaelicLinks

Tim Groome is working on GaelicLinks, a networking-database website for all professionals involved in the world of Gaelic Games. Tim is a final year Corporate Law student from Carbury in County Kildare.

3. Scair.ie

Brian Grant from Moycullen, Co. Galway has come up with a way to aid his studies for the Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas (secondary teaching through Gaeilge). Scair.ie is a website where Irish teachers can share their teaching resources, lesson plans and look up links to other helpful Irish websites.

4. Back in My Day

Originally from Prague Jana Hokszova is now living in Galway and studying Corporate Law. Together with Ella Miniter, a second year Arts student from Barna, Co. Galway, she has developed a social project which encourages young enthusiastic people to interact with older experienced people in a mutually beneficial relationship gathering their stories for “Back in My Day”.

5. StudySmart

Niamh Duffy is from Dublin and is studying the MSc in Clinical Research. Her project Studysmart is a study software application for secondary school students which acts as a time management and motivational tool, to enable them to study in a more efficient and scientific way and improve their grades.

6. Sing-Bang Music Workshops

Sing-Bang Music Workshops aim to provide inclusive, supportive and fun music workshops for older adults. Jenny Groarke from Salthill in Galway is in her first year of her PhD in Psychology, and developed the workshops whilst studying the impact of music listening on the psychological and physiological functioning of younger and older adults.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony dinner on Saturday 13th of April in the College Bar, NUI Galway.

NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards Judging Panel

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Gillian Carroll

Owner of 37 West, Gill holds an honours degree in Hotel and Catering Management from GMIT and a Diploma in Nutrition and Health Coaching with IINH. Gill also sits on the Board of Directors of the Galway City Business Association and the Galway Chamber of Commerce. Gill sits on various committees to raise money for Galway Simon Community and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland. 

37 West

Dr Aidan Daly

Dr Aidan Daly is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway. Dr Daly also has extensive experience in many diverse areas within the world of marketing, business development & innovation. In addition to Dr Daly’s academic background he is also a member of the Irish Academy of Management and a Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland.

Judy Greene

Judy founded Judy Greene Pottery, an internationally recognised pottery company situated right in the heart of Galway City in 1982. Judy is also currently honoured by the EU as an Irish Female Ambassador for Entrepreneurship.

www.judygreenepottery.com

Neil Johnson

Neil Johnson is the Chief Executive and Director of Development at Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation. Neil is a Psychology graduate of NUI Galway with over 25 years leadership, management and development experience in the not for profit sector, twenty one of which are in the field of cardiovascular health, innovation and devleopment. He is a strong advocate of social entrepreneurship and social change, particularly in the area of cardiovascular health and well being. Croí are a social enterprise and a charity dedicated to funding and supporting initiatives to help reduce the impact of heart disease and stroke on families living in the West of Ireland.

www.croi.ie

Fergal McGrath

Fergal McGrath is the manager of the Town Hall Theatre Galway and a former Manager of each of Galway Arts Festival, Druid Theatre Company, FMG Management and Fyffes Plc Irish Potplant Division. He has extensive experience in the cultural, tourism and services sectors.

Town Hall Theatre

Kevin Nugent

Kevin Nugent is the Operations Director of Mr. Waffle, a Director at Arabica Coffee Company Limerick and a Director at Magnum Marquee Hire. He also won the JCI Galway Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011.

www.mrwaffle.ie

NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards – Assessment Criteria

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The project proposal can be broken down into three broad categories of assessment:

  1. Concept
  2. Implementation
  3. Projections

Project Concept

Students are invited to outline, in detail, their project concept. Students should outline the answers to the following questions. Is the proposed concept feasible and is there a market/need for it? Consider who it targets and why it’s needed, what will it take to succeed? What is the potential impact (Financial/Cultural/Social)? Is it a sustainable project over the long-term?

Students will be rewarded for the creativity and feasibility of their approach.

Implementation

Students are invited to outline their proposals for promoting and developing their project. This will involved a description of what will be necessary to get the idea off the ground, and what sort of work will need to be undertaken to launch the product.

This should involve marketing research to assess the need for the project and assessing what sort of promotion will be necessary to publicise the project.

Distribution and access of the final product should also be considered.

There should also be a comprehensive mid to long-term financial forecast outlining capital investment, funding and operational cash requirements.

Required skills/knowledge – Students are encouraged to work with students from other academic backgrounds to bring together the best mix of skills and knowledge in formulating their project.

Students are also encouraged to identify the perceived weaknesses of their projects, and from what sort of expert mentoring they could derive the most benefit.

Proposed spend of the €500 Seed Capital

Each competition finalist will be allocated the sum of €500 to be invested into their project. How this is spent is left to the discretion of each individual entrant, and will largely depend upon the nature of the entry in question. Students will be assessed on how they judge the best allocation of these resources, and what effect they believe this allocation will have on their project.

Projections

Students should ask themselves the following questions:

What are your hopes for the future of your project?

What are your targets/expected outcomes?

What are the proposed achievements of your project? (This could be in the form of profits, of the social benefits derived from the project or the artistic merit of the project.)

How will it be evaluated?

How do you plan to see the project survive as a long term, sustainable initiative?

NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards – Submission Template

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Please follow the template below for your submission.

A hard copy of your submission should be delivered to the Students’ Union office before 5:00pm on Friday 28th November 2014. Submissions should also be emailed as a PDF to studentsunion@nuigalway.ie

Late submissions will not be accepted. 10 pages maximum.

Contact Details:

  • Team Members
  • Emails
  • Phone Numbers
  • Category (Business or Social)
  • Course
  • Student ID Numbers

Project Concept:

  • Outline the project concept.
  • Outline who the project targets and why it’s necessary.
  • Describe who the customers/users of the project will be.
  • How advanced is the concept?
  • What is the potential impact of the project. (Financial/Social/Cultural)?

Project Implementation:

  • What will it take for your project to succeed?
  • Describe what, if any, marketing research has been undertaken?
  • Identify any potential competitors for your project.
  • Outline what promotion would be undertaken for your project.
  • What are the financial needs of your project in the short and medium term period?
  • How do you plan to spend the €500 allowance if your project makes it to the final stage?
  • What is the timeframe envisioned to bring the project to the market?
  • What do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of your proposal, and from what area do you think you would benefit from help and assistance?
  • What experience do your team members bring to your team?
  • Outline the role of each individual team member and the particular strengths they bring to your project.

Future Projections:

  • Outline in detail your long term hopes and projections for the project.

Student Complaint Procedure

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NUI Galway has an official and detailed Student Complaint Procedure. For more information about the Students Complaint Procedure click here

If you need more advice on the procedure, contact the Vice-President/Education Officer in the Students’ Union offices or email him/her on su.education@nuigalway.ie

Download the Student Complaint Procedure Form

If you have a complaint about an exam, you can contact the Education Officer for advice. If you feel your exam result was unfair, check out the Examinations Office’s website for information on re-checks and appeals, which can in some cases improve your result.

View Re-checks/Appeals Info

If you were affected by family or personal illness, bereavement of family or friends, or other extenuating circumstances which you believe adversely affected your exam results, an exam appeal might be a good option for you. Again, contact the Education Officer for information first.