Introducing New DkIT Students' Union President: Maria Maguire06 August 2018
Once a college dropout, Maria Maguire, newly elected President of DkIT Students' Union, is relishing third level life the second time round.
As the first woman to take the position of DkIT SU President in more than 15 years, Maria, a 3rd year Business and Management student said,
“I am very honoured to have been elected to this role and I am also immensely proud to be the first ever mature student to take up the opportunity.”
Maria (43) says she and re-elected Vice-President Aaron Geagan (24) will compliment each other in the coming year.
Among the first to encourage her to run and then to congratulate her on her success was her son Liam (16).
Liam always encouraged her to return to further education and then when she found the first few weeks difficult, she went to the Students Union and so began the seeds of her future role.
“The SU team were so supportive during my first year in college and I remember thinking that one day I would like to use my skills to have a similarly positive impact on others”
As a result she said, “I have always wanted to run for the Students Union.”
Maria was heavily involved in student life from the start of her academic career, she established the Mature Student Society during her first year and was later elected to class representative. Most recently, she was a nominated as a member of the DkIT Governing Body and actively promotes the student voice on decision making at DkIT.
All of these experiences helped towards her deciding to run for the office in the final year of her 3 year degree.
“I ran under the banner ‘Bringing the SU to You’ and we will now bring a clinic every fortnight to each of the four buildings on campus.”
“Our campus is quite spread out and there are so many interesting things happening every week. I believe that bringing communities together will help to enhance the overall student experience.”
“I hope that my presidency will ensure that the SU is more visible and approachable across all corners of the campus. Students are more likely to come up to you if they see around, rather than having to seek you out”
Maria is also passionate about encouraging diversity within student politics.
“I would like to see more diversity within our class representative council which is reflective of our current student body. I hope to establish a SU advisory team with representatives from international students, students with disabilities, mature students, LGBTI students, other groups and of course other women.”
“A lot of girls have come up to me since the election to say that they feel more willing come to the SU now which can only be a good thing.”
This is not her first time going to college. “I went to art college in Belfast when I was 19. I did 1 year of a Foundation and 2 years of a degree and then decided, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore so it’s true that I am a college drop-out.”
Now, as a mature student and single parent, she is encouraging people to not let them be put off by returning to education later in life.
“My son Liam has always encouraged me to go back to college. When I turned 40 it all fell into place. I had wanted direction and stability and although I had spent years working in different jobs, I had no higher-level qualifications to my name and I thought it was time to get them.”
“I want to be a role model for Liam and also for anybody else. Like many others out there, I have had some quite challenging times in my life. I know what it is like to be unemployed and I know that it can sometimes feel impossible to pull yourself back. Education is a great enabler and I am living proof that that even in your 40s, things can come together”
Having officially commenced the role on 1st July, Maria, who is from Cooley, Co. Louth said,
“I have been busy putting plans in place so that come September, we will be ready to rock and roll.”