The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is Ireland’s largest student organization. Established in 1959, USI membership includes more than 250,000 students in various universities and technological institutions in Dublin. The stated aims of the union are the conservation and expansion of an education system founded on the principle of equality, democracy and equal opportunity. The union also seeks to enhance the quality of education that system presents. Naturally, much of the work done by USI relates to students rights, particularly with regard to accommodation, finance and graduate prospects. The USI has, in the past, been a platform for political expression and some of its members have gone on to have successful careers in government. It has also campaigned to raise awareness of environmental issues and global warming, with a focus on carbon footprinting in particular. As such it has a reputation as an ideal organization for vibrant and radical political and social thinking. , whether you are just looking for someone to represent your rights fairly or, if you have an interest in wider student related social issues, the Union of Students in Ireland is the organization for you.
Though USI is the largest ‘umbrella’ student organization each university and higher education institution in Dublin has its own unions and societies and many of these are an excellent outlet for social and sporting activities. For example UCD and Trinity have large historical, drama and sporting societies each with proportionate budgets. As these are funded by the universities with your tuition fees it is highly recommended that you avail of their services. Most are free to join or have nominal annual fees. Joining a union, society or club is a great way to meet new people and make friends around campus if you’re enrolling in a new university for the first time.
International student organizations with a presence in Dublin include the AEGEE, or Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l'Europe, or
European Students' Forum
The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) which is involved heavily in the third year Arts Erasmus exchange program where Arts students from both UCD and TCD spend a year in a sister university abroad. This year is normally optional as a part of a three or four year program. Not only does the Erasmus programme cover tuition fees in the overseas university, it also offers Erasmus grants to cover living expenses in the host country.
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