University of Limerick Students' Union

University of Limerick Students' Union

The University of Limerick Students' Union (Aontas na Mac Léinn, Ollscoil Luimnigh) is the representative body for all students at the University of Limerick, situated in Limerick, Ireland

History

The National Institute for Higher Education (NIHE) was founded in Limerick in 1972. The 113 students who started in NIHEL, that year, founded the Students' Union, which was later to become the University of Limerick Students' Union.

In its early years, all officers served in a voluntary capacity. The first officers elected included John Redington (President), John Kerr (Vice-president), Fionnuala Lyddy (Secretary) and Eric Duhan (Treasurer). Pat Carroll was elected in 1975 as the first full-time President. The National College of Physical Eductation (NCPE), subsequently Thomond College of Education, had a separate students' union also founded in 1972 until its amalgamation with the University of Limerick. Its first President was Brendan Lillis.

From its inception in 1972, the union had been involved with USI. ULSU withdrew in 1991 from USI after it decided that the national union was no longer doing what it should be doing for ordinary students on the ground. ULSU has never reaffiliated to USI, although an inquorate referendum held in 2001 on the issue indicated some support among students for such a move. The votes cast in this referendum were counted and showed that just under 55% of students who voted were in favour of rejoining. Three things must be noted here:
1- 66% in favour would have been needed to pass the referendum (ref: http://www.ulsu.ie/pdfs/ULSUConstitution.pdf, 6.3 and definitions 19)
2- the referendum did not have enough votes (only 700, ref: http://www.ulsu.ie/pdfs/ULSUConstitution.pdf, article 6.2 (changed from 20% to 15% in 2006) and schedule five) to be deemed valid and
3- the "no" campaign was essentially, "don't bother voting", to ensure an inquorate (and therefore invalid) referendum. This may indicate that a number of those who would have voted "no" just didn't bother.

However it has, on occasion, supported campaigns organised by USI. Following moves by USI to welcome non-affiliates 'back into the fold', ULSU instituted (in 2006/07) a process of review of the non-affiliation. This was reacted to with great hostility by the union's main decision-making body, Class Representatives' Council, in early 2007, and so a proposed referendum never happened. However, sabbatical officers will continue to attend USI training as it has fostered a greater relationship of cooperation with the national union.

ULSU is also one of the more active members of FUSU (Forum of University Students' Unions). FUSU recently welcomed Dublin Institute of Technology into the group in recognition of the Institute's size and similarity to a university. FUSU is not a competitor organisation for USI, rather it is more of a discussion forum and information exchange. This is particular useful for ULSU.

Current issues

2006/07 saw many more campaigns than previous years, due in part to the split in the position of Communications and Campaigns officer. These included:
* Road safety campaign. This received national [http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2007/0413/1176157066059.html coverage]
* Car parking campaign. This petered out after students lost interest.
* Fees and grants march. This received national coverage as the only protest on the issue this year.
* Anti-nuclear campaign which was contentious with many students

Organisation and Services

The Union represents UL Students at many fora within and external to the university. There are currently five full time sabbatical officers (President, Deputy President/Welfare Officer, Vice-President/Education Officer, Vice-President/Campaigns & Services Officer and Vice President/Publications and Publicity Officer), combined with a number of voluntary non-sabbatical positions, which are elected each year by the students. Until 06/07, ULSU had only four full time officers - the Vice-President/Communications & Campaigns Officer position was discontinued and a new Vice-President/Publicity & Publications Officer and a Vice-President/Campaigns & Services Officer took office. The Union employs six other full time members of staff and owns a company, ULSU Services Ltd., which run both Students' Union Shops on campus. The Union also provides other services to students - graphics, Nitelink bus service, education advice, welfare advice, second-hand bookshop, etc.

The Students' Union has two publications, a fortnightly newspaper, An Focal, and a monthly arts magazine, Pulse. These are edited by the Publications and Publicity Officer.

The Students' Union in UL has two main differences from other Students' Unions.
* It runs its own clubs and societies - these are administered through the union by and for the students.
** [http://www.ulkarate.com/ University of Limerick Karate Club]
**University of Limerick Debating Union
** [http://www.skynet.ie/~ulgsoc/joomla/index.php University of Limerick Games Society]
**University of Limerick Computer Society
** [http://www.skynet.ie/~ulpalestine/ University of Limerick Palestine Solidarity Society]
** [http://sailing.skynet.ie University of Limerick Sailing Club]
**Skydive UL, the first University based skydiving club in the Republic of Ireland

* It has a Postgraduate Students Association - to represent all Postgraduate Students on postgraduate issues only. The Postgraduate students elect a full-time sabbatical president for the PSA.

Officers

2001/02
President: Michael Phelan
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: Tara Curley
Vice President/Education Officer: Tom O'Donovan
Vice President/Campaigns & Communications Officer: Patrick Kennedy

2002/03
President: Eoin Ó Broin
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: Gráinne Heffron
Vice President/Education Officer: Margaret Ryan
Vice President/Campaigns & Communications Officer: Patrick Buckley

2003/04
President: Eoin Ó Broin
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: David Garraghy
Vice President/Education Officer: Madeline Molyneaux
Vice President/Campaigns & Communications Officer: Sarah Ryan

2004/05
President: Timmy Hennessy
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: Rosie Healy
Vice President/Education Officer: Fintan Breen
Vice President/Campaigns & Communications Officer: Sandra Gannon

2005/06
President: Fintan Breen
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: Frank Fogarty
Vice President/Education Officer: Paddy Pratt
Vice President/Campaigns & Communications Officer: Anne Sheridan

2006/07
President: St. John Ó Donnabháin
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: Sinead Hickey
Vice President/Education Officer: Alan Higgins
Vice President/Campaigns & Services Officer: Alannah Turner
Vice President/Publications & Publicity Officer: Deirdre O' Shaughnessy

2007/08
President: St. John Ó Donnabháin
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: Judith Lynch (resigned in March 2008)
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: Diarmuid Healy (elected in April 2008)
Vice President/Education Officer: Alan Higgins
Vice President/Campaigns & Services Officer: Patrick McHugh
Vice President/Publications & Publicity Officer: Seamus Ryan

2008/09
President: Patrick O'Brien
Deputy President/Welfare Officer: Caitriona McGrattan
Vice President/Edumacation Officer: Shane O'Callaghan
Vice President/Campaigns & Services Officer: Damien Cahill
Vice President/Publications & Publicity Officer: Aoife Breen

Notable officers

Diarmuid Scully (SU President 1992-93) is a Limerick City Councillor and became Mayor of Limerick in 2005.

External links

* [http://www.ulsu.ul.ie University of Limerick Students' Union] — the ULSU website


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