MEET YOUR CANDIDATES: Welfare & Equality candidate Clare Austick

clare austick

Why are you running for election?

I am running for the position of Vice/Welfare and Equality Officer because I’m driven quite strongly to help provide care for others and I’ve been involved with the Students’ Union for a number of years now. I’ve been a class rep for two years and as a current part-time equality officer on the committee, I’ve loved everything that they’re fighting for and representing students, voicing their concerns and initiating campaigns. I’m determined to be a voice for change for all students by making their NUI Galway experience as meaningful as possible for them.

What is the one thing you are hoping to achieve as Welfare & Equality Officer over everything else?

There are so many things I’m hoping to do next year, but I want to continue to support all students through emotional, academic and financial services. I want to implement and I will continue to build on the promotion of sexual and mental health while highlighting visibility through campaigns. I will continue the campaign for universal desire for learning which is making learning tools more user-friendly, more accessible for all students, in particular for those who have a hidden or physical disability, a mental health condition, students whose first language isn’t English, mature students who are getting back to education and for students who are parents who have missed classes due to family commitments. I want to create a clothes bank initiative for students who cannot afford new items of clothing – any surplus items of clothing will be donated to the homeless. I want to create a food bank initiative where students can receive food donations from local shops, supermarkets. I also want to create a handbook with the relevant details and information on  all aspects such as; services, contact details, clubs, societies, facilities, and so on.

Briefly outline the other key points in your manifesto.

Care and accessibility are my other main points. I want to care for students by promoting self-care and personal well-being, and reaching out to them. I want students to know that they’re not alone and they can always ask me for a helping hand. Sometimes life gets a little tough, we all have struggles, we’ve gone through a difficult time in our lives, I want to distribute ’empower’ cards around campus. Have more relaxing waiting areas, more beanbags in the library foyer, and all around campus. I also want to hold more de-stress activities around exam time and this semester such as more pet farm and puppy days. I will continue to be accessible to everyone whether they are on the main campus, a smaller one off-campus, on placement, or Erasmus. I want to establish an online forum welcoming suggestions and ideas which will then be answered.

How will encourage people to see you as someone that they can approach with any problems?

I would make sure that any important information or services is accessible to every student. Let them know that I’m always there to listen and talk. I will go the extra mile to be any kind of help. By making myself accessible, so that students know that their Welfare & Equality Officer is there to provide a confidential listening and referral service as well as providing advice and soliciting information such as accommodation, childcare, study, health, finances and personal well-being.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’ve learned a lot this year in my role as Equality Officer. I truly understand the issues students encounter on a daily basis and this role entails long hours of hard work and dedication. I am willing and fully prepared to commit to making NUIG welcome and inclusive for all students. I want everyone who’s reading this to know they are not alone. You are strong, you can do anything. You have value and you are so so important. I want to build strong, empowering communities so that we can reach our goals and I want to do this all together.

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