You may be thinking “What on Earth is there left to discuss by the third day? We’ve had policies due to expire…academic affairs…welfare..irish language…union organisation…equality and citizenship; what else!?” Well, you might be thinking that if you have never been to Congress before. However today, Congress still went on strong, with National/International Affairs, Undisclosed Motions as well as Constitutional Amendments (among other things too…)
VP of Welfare Roisin O’Donovan spoke in favor of a motion concerning homelessness, where she voiced the importance of supporting the motion, and how urgent it is; the issue is probably worse than we know. It most certainly is a student issue as well because too many students are living in difficult conditions (or couch surfing etc.). It is a national issue. In the end, the motion was voted for in favor.
IA 2 Justice and Human Rights for Palestine is a motion that had a very important debate around it. Tensions rose during this motion as DITSU delegates found themselves on opposite sides, as did other Congress delegates. However, each speaker on the side of put forward powerful speeches. DITSU delegate Daniel shared an extremely moving story when speaking, sharing a rather personal story, and Congress floor stood in a standing ovation at the end of his speech. The debate around this motion carried on for such a time that the session was extended by 15 minutes and it was still not enough time for all for speakers to be able to have a stand (however once the guillotine falls, it falls). Overall, it was a very necessary debate and it necessary to hear everyone’s voices. In the end, the motion was voted, overwhelmingly, in favor as Congress delegates not just raised their lanyards in support but also stood up to really make their stance clear.
The EU + ME debate took place after lunch, which was an hour-long debate around the question ‘Should the EU Impose Mandatory Refugee Quotas on Member States’. The aim of this debate ws to encourage both conversation and also encourage students to register to vote in May.
One of the toughest debates, emotionally, was around the motion ‘Abusive Relationships, Sexual Violence & Harassment’. Many speakers delievered powerful speeches, moving much of the Congress floor to tears. However due to the fact that such a difficult topic was being discussed, delegates were reminded that if they felt they needed to leave the room because it was too difficult for them, they were more than welcome.
To bring things to a lighter note, TUDSU found themselves proud winners of a combined 5 awards after dinner, with DITSU having won Best Large Delegation.
Overall, the third day proved to be a rather emotional day. Both USI and delegates were wonderful in offering safe spaces for those whole felt they needed it, whether to talk or simply have some headspace. TUDSU also continued their support for each other throughout the day.
And that’s USI Congress 2018! Remember that #USI18 on Twitter will take you to the most recent updates on what has been happening!