Union Rep training took place in NUI Maynooth on Saturday October 6th, with a significant cut in costs from previous years. As opposed to a weekend long event, Union reps were brought on a daylong training event.
Cutting costs was a priority for this year’s Students’ Union, who in 2010 brought the class reps to a four star resort for a full weekend of training, costing approximately €12000. Last year, the Union cut €3500 of the cost, but training remained a weekend long event.
“It was €375 for transport for all reps,” says UCD Campaigns and Communications Officer Paddy Guiney. “Speakers were a mixture of former people who were in the Students’ Union and who sat on council, and professional speakers. In total, for the speakers, it’s estimated at €850 for nine speakers, including expenses… We got the nightclub for free. The most expensive thing, and it’s the necessity, was the food. To break it down, it cost us €4 for their breakfast, €4 for lunch and €10 for dinner; so it was €18 per student, and about 80 people.”
“I can’t confirm it, but apparently class rep training in other colleges is in the twenty thousand euros, excess. Last year (in UCD) it was €8000. The year before it was €12000; this year, the estimated figure is €2665.”
The use of NUI Maynooth as a base for training was a cost saving move by the Students’ Union, as the use of their facilities were given free by the Maynooth Students’ Union. Guiney says the Union didn’t use the facilities in UCD, as “less people would’ve gone and people would’ve left during the half day, because it was a very long day.”
Reps were trained in public speaking and negotiation skills, as well as the basics of being a rep. Guiney was confident that the reps are now fully trained to carry out their duties, despite the shortened time period for training: “I’m very confident they will be effective for the council and their classes. I was on class rep training last year, and I feel like a weekend away is not necessary.”
This year sees the introduction of a two tier rep system, with a number of class reps serving under the Union reps. Class reps are mostly in charge of the social aspect of the Union and their training is due to take place on campus, once elections are over. “The class reps process is beginning next week in the Ag. building and we have a plan of action with the conveners about where we will go in each class, and we will divide out which ones need the
most. For example, English, Drama and Film all have the one class rep. So, we’ll be looking at filling two extra seats from the class in Drama and Film, and will be walking into classes holding informal elections from the beginning of next week.”