We are almost a month into second semester and stuck into all the academics. Some final year students working on thesis or large group projects. Some students even work part time jobs. We all agree it can be quite tiring and leaves us feeling very hungry. It is apparent on this campus we have had an ongoing issue with microwaves on campus. For the purpose of students heating their own lunches and saving money. As well as a water boiler for tea, coffee soup. The student population is over 60% commuters so this is an issue that affects the whole campus. We thought was sorted after the online petition and re-opening of them back in October. However, for some time now students have gone without them. Now they are back! We interviewed SU Sabbatical staff on the long process it was to make this happen.
To Karen Kane, Welfare and Equality officer.
What happened between now and then that were not accessible and why ?
There is a lot of Health and Safety restrictions within the University. We could not leave the microwave unattended, as Health and Safety were afraid that if a student was to use the microwave wrong (e.g. put anything metal in it) they could hurt themselves. There was also an issue surrounding keeping them clean, as a lot of students would not clean up the mess their food made if it was to be heated up wrong. Dillon, (Dillion Grace, S.U. President), and I went to NUMEROUS meetings surrounding this issue, and even got a risk assessment carried out to see what the biggest risks could be. Since then, we had to secure funding within the union to ensure we could get someone to supervise the microwaves.
As Welfare officer how important do you feel it is to have these facilities on campus?
Unbelievably important, it’s why we’ve worked tirelessly to get them back
Was it difficult to bring them back on campus?
It was, but we got there in the end!
Will they stay open for the rest of the semester?
How can it be ensured that the microwaves will permanently stay ?
That every sabbatical officer gets the appropriate cross over training, which they will.
Was this a team effort bringing the microwaves back?
When asked was this a team effort, Niamh Halpenny Education officer stated.
Team effort? Of course, nothing any officer does in this union is completed by one person, we work together as a team always and the microwaves were no different. We discussed the issues as a team and kept everyone in the loop about what was happening in the situation. We combined ideas on how we were going to make the microwaves work and we did it and it was as simple as that. Yes it took a while but it was something that was so important to students and that needed to be seen through. I have to say well done to our Welfare officer and our mature officer on their continuous effort and time that they put in to getting our microwaves back but like anything we do in this union we do it as a whole, as a team and that has always been the way.
Maryann Thunder who we spoke with before about the microwaves stated.
“The students are happy, roars in the room, , they feel the su listened to them”.
There you have it folks, you have been listened to and the SU got your back.
The microwaves and water boiler are available Monday to Friday from 12-3pm, supervised by trained and experienced staff.