Student leaders and representatives from the three schools of the Technological University for Dublin comprising DIT, ITB and ITT came together for the very first meeting and launch of a TUDSU this Monday. This is the first move in a series of action towards the merger of the three student bodies into one, and months of discussions and planning ended in a climax at the Bradogue Building of the Grangegorman Campus, with the ceremony flagged off by Dr. Tom Collins, chairperson of the governing body of the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Also in attendance were the presidents of DITSU, ITTSU and ITBSU, including other SU representatives.
DITSU TV caught up with the presidents of the three student’s union: Boni Odoemene (DITSU); Jessica Wall (ITTSU) and Jason Aughney (ITBSU). The presidents gave their comments about the merger and their thoughts regarding crafting a framework which will enable Students’ Unions of the three institutions work together on student issues in advance of the full implementation of TU4D. Speaking with DITSU TV, Dr. Tom Collins lauded the SU reps for making a move to show support for the TU4D initiative and commended the officials for latching onto the immense opportunities available as a result of the merger. He expressed his appreciation to the SU for leading the conversation around the realisation of TU4D, stating that although the legacy of the Grangegorman campus was a grim one in the past, the SU has an opportunity to rewrite it.
Below is an excerpt from his speech at the TUDSU launch.
“I look forward to working with you all, and I think the whole process of designing the TU4D has not initially fully recognised the role of the student body. Now, through the initiative which TUDSU has taken, I believe that the students have taken a significant step towards becoming excited at the possibilities inherent in the merger. This in itself is a starting point. The opening of an SU office on the campus is a great move, and it is a statement in itself. What it means is that you are part of this, talking, imagining things, creating a poetry of a new institution as you embark on the joys of your lives into the future.”
Also present at the launch, ITBSU president, Jessica Wall highlighted her support for the TUDSU initiative. She stressed the immense benefits that the merger portends for students across the three colleges. “My main concern is to keep the students’ voice strong across all the campuses, and we want to be sure that we ensure every student is represented via the TUDSU”. Her views were shared by DITSU President, Boni Odoemene who was positive that the merger presented a massive opportunity for the creation of a new kind of SU. He affirmed that “..there has never been a technological university in Ireland, neither has there being a technological university SU, and I see this as an opportunity to really stand out as a voice for Ireland’s largest Technological University”.
Like in every merger, questions arise about how the dynamics of the SU be managed among other issues. Boni assured that TUDSU launch was the starting point for conversations around liaison, cultural adjustments and the evolution of the student’s voice across the schools. In his opinion, the SU needed to develop synergy across themselves and keep exchanging ideas.
President of the ITBSU, Jason Aughney was also all out for communication across the three bodies, stressing that continued interactions between the SUs is crucial to better performance. He underlined that since DITSU had shown the capability to manage the SU across all its campuses around Dublin, he believes that the increase in the size of the SU would not pose a problem. In his interview with DITSU correspondent, Jason pointed to the fact that the TUDSU initiative is vital to the continued improvement of the student experience and the initiative demonstrates that students are the major stakeholders in the merger. He continued by saying “…the biggest thing to focus on in this merger is to keep the conversation flowing. Through the years, DITSU has a history of communication and keeping the conversation going. So, I believe communication is key, and I think it is evident that there needs to be participation across the board, and that is what we are doing by coming together to discuss about TUDSU”.
As the buildup towards the realisation of the TU4D continues, it is evident that the SU on all three campuses are committed to keeping the voice of the students strong, making them heard and ensuring that their interests are at the centre of development on the new campus.