My name is Julia Bocianowska, I’m 20 years old and I am originally from Poland. I lived in Ireland for over twelve years and studied here most of my life.
I’m a second-year fine art student in Yeats Academy of Art and Design. I’ve been consistently active in the lives of the students attending ATU. In my first year of college, I was nominated to become a class representative and worked hard to improve the lives of my classmates and fight for what I believe in. Now that I’m in second year of college and I joined the election to become a senator for the YADA (Yeats Academy of Art) department and represent artists, graphic designers and architects.
This year I decided to take it a step further and sign up for the elections for the position of Vice President of Academic Life. I want to be the voice of students and make a positive impact on student’s college experience.
As a woman I am naturally empathetic but also driven. I also want to be the voice for women in this community and stand up for those who are struggling. As a student and a female, I have a modern insight on the way life around college works. I see the difficulties students face each day and things that brightens them up. With that knowledge I would like to base my campaign on helping students receive their well-deserved help and support while also being the women’s voice that is needed.
What I would like to achieve as your Vice President:
SUSI reform and increase income thresholds
Cost of living crisis
Know your rights
Empowerment, Engagement, Employment
Anonymous exam marking
A female voice
Social care course and placement
Exams before Christmas
National SUSI Reform and Increase the Income Threshold
I am a full recipient of SUSI and without it, I wouldn’t have been able to do my two years in Sligo. I know how helpful it is, and I know how important it is to students. I also know how difficult it is to apply, how many rules and regulations there are with applying and how we as students, are penalised to work part time jobs over the summer and run risk of losing our grant. I will lobby nationally for a total overhaul and reform of SUSI. This year, students were successful in lobbying the government for a partial SUSI reform. I will try build on this work with other students’ unions and trade unions and try my best to get SUSI changed for the better. I will also fight on your behalf to increase the income threshold for SUSI, so us students are not penalised for working a part time job in hope to make ends meet.
Cost of Living
Students are facing unprecedented hardship; I will lobby local representatives and work with the Union of Students of Ireland on a national level to ease the financial struggles that students face on a daily basis. I will organize various local strategies to tackle this problem on a local level too. I will increase the food bank, organize weekly busses to shops and the train station. I will try to increase financial support for students and overhaul the emergency student financial fund, in consultation with students within the Students’ Union.
Know your Rights
I know how difficult it can be for students, especially financially with current inflation. I aim to create an environment where help is given easily without complications for students who are scared to start.
A way to create an environment for students to safely ask for this support is to create informative events where every difficult term and law is explained to you in a straightforward way so that you can learn about your rights. All forms like SUSI and student assistance fund will be described in a simple manner to educate and encourage you to reach out for the help that is happily available.
As a student who has been taken advantage of by a previous employer and a previous landlord, I know how important it is for students to know their rights. I will organize multiple information sessions, campaigns, and work with various trade unions to ensure ATU Sligo students know their housing rights, workers’ rights, and student rights. There is power in numbers, and I plan to foster an environment for students to be empowered and educated on issues that affect their everyday life. Students have been taken advantage of for years, and I hope I can help stop this, fighting side by side with you, FOR you.
Empowerment, Employment and Engagement
It is so important to get as much financial support as possible during the student years. It can be tricky finding a job that fulfills you but also gives you the security you need to continue your studies without having to worry about income. My aim is to provide a place for students where they are prepared for the first stages of their journey to finding work. This will include learning how to create an eye-catching CV, gaining confidence in speaking in interviews and actively searching for places offering students the opportunity to work in great conditions. I will work with careers in hosting more relevant and more frequent career days. I will organise workshops and events to make you feel empowered in both your academic studies and life in general.
I will work alongside with the Vice President for Mental Health to understand the needs and get further insights on the struggles the students need help with and provide solutions and support.
Help with accommodation (All hands on deck)
If I’m elected as your next Vice President for Academic Affairs, I will work with both the President and Wellbeing officer to help with student accommodation. This is a massive problem that Sligo students are facing currently, and it should not solely be the responsibility of one person or one department. I will run accommodation campaigns, work with the university and local representatives to try to provide short term, medium term, and long-term solutions to this crisis. I will fight for more investment, more supports for students struggling with accommodation. And encourage the University the use their technological university status to borrow money and build affordable and regulated student accommodation. I will raise this at all forums I possibly can and at all committees or councils that I take membership of.
Fight for Sligo’s Student Assistant Fund
I know multiple people who have been able to stay in college because of the student assistant fund. Sligo is so lucky to have such a great and generous system. Students who need more money or have exceptional circumstances can apply for this fund and be looked after accordingly. Unfortunately, with the new ATU status, we are at risk of losing this system. Sligo students have been offered less support, less money, and a fixed rate for successful applications. This is not fair. I will fight for you, to keep this system and ensure Sligo students receive the financial support and generosity that they deserve.
There has been promises on this for years from previous Education officers, and no progress has been set in motion. There have been no updates to students about this and no effort demonstrated trying to achieve this. I will work with ATU management and develop a proposal, along with other students’ unions for anonymous marking in ATU. This may be our one chance to get this across the line as a transition into a new university, so we cannot let it slip past us! I will provide updates and newsletters on all my work, especially this. You deserve to be kept informed and updated. Promises are nothing without accountability.
I have already spoken to so many incredible females throughout my campaign. It has been a really heart-warming experience. If elected, I will be a voice, a supporter and a protect our rights at the very highest level possible. It has been over 6 years since there was a female in this position and I really think this needs to change. Now more than ever, we need a female perspective. ATU are developing disciplinary policies, student charters and consent/sexual health policies for the entire university, and there is no female opinion being portrayed in these documents. This role has had no diversity for a long time, there have been no females views or opinions represented at Academic Council, exam boards or teaching and learning committees for this time also. I promise to fight for students always, especially female students.
I have spoken to many online learners; I appreciate and understand their needs. Online learners often are juggling full time employment with their studies. They need more supports, more flexibility, and more options for exam centres nationally and internationally. I will work with ATU’s online advisors and Head of Student Success to improve online students experience and quality of life whilst studying here in Sligo.
Lobby for exams before Christmas
Before ATU designation, IT (Institute of Technology) Sligo was in the middle of trialling pre-Christmas winter exams. This trial was abandoned and that was not fair to students. I will lobby academics and senior management at all meetings, councils, and committees to resume this trial. I will push for ATU to seek data and opinions of students for what dates suit best.
Students’ idea must be heard!
I have been actively listening to my classmates and talking to students about things they would love to see happening in the future. Student life shouldn’t be all serious with paperwork and financial decisions. Most things we remember from college is the fun events we attended, the balls we went to and the competitions we won; all while having fun with our friends. I want to encourage people to make new friendships through organised events and help students relax and enjoy their time in college with other students. Here students will be able to voice their ideas be as creative as they like and work alongside me to make their ideas come to life.
Why you should vote for me?
I know how difficult it is to chose the right candidates when voting. I can promise you that I will work hard to improve the life of students and make you proud for voting for me. I am the person that students can rely on and know that I will welcome them with open arms. I am passionate and extremely hardworking. I will provide the best representation for the students and not stop until their voices are heard.