Former president of the NUI Galway students' union and chemistry graduate Clare Austick has been elected president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Ms Austick, who previously held the USI position of vice-president for welfare, acknowledged that there was a lot of work to be done in the coming months to ensure students could return to campus “in a safe manner” in autumn 2021 while dealing with the impact of the pandemic on students nationwide.
The Galway woman, who will replace current USI president Lorna Fitzpatrick, said she was "delighted and honoured" to have been chosen for the role and was looking forward to working with the nine new faces on the USI executive team along with student representatives across the whole of Ireland.
“There is a lot to do and as we look forward to coming out of Covid, we will need to ensure that we focus on student wellbeing and how the pandemic has impacted students,” said Ms Austick. “There is a lot to consider, whether it’s mental health concerns or the impact on their academic achievements and much more.
“This is still a time of huge challenge for students, and for Irish society in general, and we will be there fighting to ensure the best outcome possible is achieved for students over the year to come.”
In her manifesto for the role, published last month, Ms Austick outlined the “passion, love, drive and motivation” she had developed representing students both at NUIG and nationally through her welfare role.
“I care, I act on my words and fully believe in the strength and potential of this organisation,” she wrote in the manifesto. “I promise to work tirelessly on your behalf and will ensure you have the best college experience.”