Are You Ready to LEAD ? – An interview with Liam Cosgrove, The Founder of LEAD

LEAD is a growing student run initiative at Maynooth University and is already embarking on solving many issues on campus such as the problems students had with the university Wi-Fi. Liam kindly agreed to take part in an interview with the MU Times to tell us about the work LEAD does.

Who are you?
I’m Liam Cosgrove and I am a second year Politics and Sociology student. I am Maynooth University’s community senator.

What is LEAD?
LEAD is an acronym for Leadership, Engagement, Awareness and Democracy. LEAD encourages students to be leaders; individually, in clubs and societies and in class as academic reps. LEAD also highlights who leaders are in our University and on a national level. Through LEAD I am encouraging engagement with clubs and societies in the student’s union. Engagement for LEAD also means creating awareness and understanding of issues that are important to students. We also want to outline the work of senators and select criticisms to pick apart and work on if necessary. LEAD is keen to make students aware of political and student issues. We hope to raise awareness via our online platforms and on the television screens across campus. LEAD encourages democracy across Maynooth University. We are one of the most democratic campuses. Once the students are aware of their leaders and the importance of having leaders, they can be empowered to run for an executive or senate position to become a student union leader and represent their peers. Democracy allows students to get involved in issues to have their voices heard by writing emails to leaders and voting in elections and referenda.

Why did you set up LEAD?
When I ran for the position of Community Senator last year my plan if I got elected was to increase student engagement in politics and voter engagement. These are very important causes to me because many students shy away from politics but the truth is politics is everywhere and it affects everything that we do.

What is LEAD and what is it’s main aims?
The main aim of LEAD is to increase student engagement which would result in an engaged and active campus. LEAD will show students that they can make a difference when they speak up about issues on campus and at a national level. I feel it is important for students to know that there is not just one person doing work in Maynooth’s Student’s Union, there are a whole team of voices and anyone can be a part of that. In the future I would be delighted if the USI would participate in LEAD.

Who is LEAD for?
LEAD is for absolutely everyone! It’s for all students of all backgrounds. Everyone is more than welcome to get involved, in fact we encourage them to do so! This includes undergraduate students, postgraduate students, mature students to name but a few.

Where can we find out more information about LEAD?
You can learn more about LEAD and get in contact with us on Instagram or Facebook.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Something that I think will be important for LEAD is active outreach. We would like to bring together all our student leaders to showcase their work and network with one another. Students would have the opportunity to ask questions and learn from leaders such as student engagement ambassadors, orientation leaders and MAP volunteers. We are also going to meet with students to listen to their views on issues and concerns they have about life at Maynooth University. We recently had a very successful lobby morning in Your Space. We lobbied the IT department for better quality Wi-Fi. There was a brilliant turn out of students who wrote emails voicing their opinion on the ineffective Wi-Fi. There was even a surprise guest from the IT department who explained that they are going to their best to resolve the problems with the Wi-Fi. They are investing half a million euro in improving the Wi-Fi. They are willing to regularly meet with the Students Union to ensure the internet connection is working effectively for students.

Thank you very much to Liam Cosgrove for taking the time to meet with our MU Times President Kate Hawkins to conduct this interview. LEAD has become very active in our university and is always looking for people to get involved. One of our favourite things that Liam said is: “All you have to do is speak up and your voice will be heard”