Training for this year’s Welfare Crew took place on the 1st of October in UCD’s Student Centre.
Students’ Union Welfare Officer Rachel Breslin was “absolutely delighted with the day” and felt that her aim of organising modules that would “equip the welfare crew with the skills that they would need for the campaigns of the year” was successful.
She stressed the necessity of the Welfare Crew and the need for appropriate training, “it’s important they have basic skills, then they can pass them onto people that they meet and refer them onto me”.
Science is no longer the most prominently involved faculty in the Welfare Crew; there is now a majority of both Arts and Science students, though Breslin insists that most faculties are in some way represented.
Members of the Welfare Crew discussed ideas for upcoming campaigns relating to exam stress, stigma around mental health, healthy living and finances. This was a way of “putting a lot of skills from last year into practice” says Breslin and credits the members saying that “they came up with really good campaigns that I’m going to be implementing in the next few weeks”.
A module was run on body image, led by a representative of Bodywhys. Debates and workshops took place on what students consider their attitudes towards body image, eating disorders, and the media and their portrayal of how people should look. Supports for people with eating disorders or those affected indirectly by them were also discussed.
Former UCDSU Welfare Officer and current Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Welfare Officer Scott Ahearn made an appearance at the event, presenting a module on behalf of Reach Out. According to Breslin his presence was helpful as “he was aware of what the Welfare Crew does and how to direct a module at the people in it”.
The key difference between this year and last year’s training was the absence of a Safe Talk module regarding mental health and speaking with people about suicide. It didn’t take place this year as “half the crew had already done it, I will do it later in the year and will open it out to outside the welfare crew”.
Overall Breslin was very pleased with the event, “I’m really happy with the modules, so may people came to it, we had twenty-four people so that’s a really big strong crew to start the year”. She hopes that more people will join the initiative once class reps are elected.