3rd Annual Trinity Student to Student Awards
JM Synge Lecture Theatre
Trinity College Dublin
26 March 2012
Thank you for inviting me to be here with you this evening for the 3rd Annual Trinity Student to Student (S2S) Awards.
As many of you know, the S2S Programme was successfully piloted in 2007/8 to a small number of first year Science and International Erasmus students.
Over the last few years it has been gradually extended to include more and more undergraduate disciplines.
And I'm delighted to hear from Danny Greening, Chair of the S2S Society, that the S2S Programme will encompass all first year undergraduate students from September of this year. This is a tremendous achievement and directly attributable to you and your fellow student volunteers.
As volunteers you will know that there are two dimensions to the S2S programme. The Peer Mentoring Progamme and the Peer Support Programme.
The Peer Mentoring Programme is designed to help incoming first years adjust and enjoy the academic and social life of Trinity. I can still recall my first year as an undergraduate here and how overwhelming those first few weeks can be in trying to get settled in a new life. It's fun but you can do with all the help you can get. In 2011/12 some 149 Peer Mentors provided assistance and support to an estimated 1,867 students.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Peer Mentors for looking after the newest members of the College, as only you can, and for helping this year's freshers begin their new journey on the right path.
I would like to acknowledge the role of the 26 Peer Mentors trained to assist international students because life for new students in a different country brings with it its own set of difficulties. You have pre-empted and superseded these difficulties, ensuring that students that come for a semester to study here in Trinity get a true taste of what it is like to be a Trinity student.
The Peer Support Programme is the second component of the S2S Programme and provides a one to one confidential support service by students for students.
In 2011/12 13 active Peer Supporters were given special training by the Student Counselling Service. Peer Supporters also help manage the discussion boards on the student mental health community website.
I would like to especially thank the Peer Supporters for dedicating many hours to training so that you can provide the one-to-one emotional support that students need in order to manage the varying difficulties that they may encounter throughout their time here at Trinity. You may never know the critical difference that your support has given those students you have engaged with as they struggle to cope and feel in control.
As volunteers, you have all acquired skills during this past year that will stand to you no matter what path your careers should take - as leaders and supporters, as helpers and organisers, as colleagues, classmates, and most of all as peers.
I would like to congratulate you as volunteers for your direct contribution to the success of the S2S Programme which is completely student led.
I wish in particular to acknowledge the role of the S2S Society which is really the nucleus for the S2S Programme and has a committee of 10 dedicated S2S volunteers who run events and activities throughout the year.
Its many initiatives include:
- The Head Mentor scheme to provide additional communication and support within each School/Area with 16 volunteers signing up to take responsibility for assisting their fellow mentors with the programme.
- Collaborative training with Student Learning and Development, who trained S2S volunteers to deliver workshops in time management, and with the HSE, who trained volunteers to lead relaxation sessions for their fellow students.
I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the support of the Senior Tutors Office and the Student Counselling Service in providing the support framework to facilitate this programme and to enable students to take the lead in supporting their peers.
Finally, to acknowledge the effort and time devoted by each of you as individual volunteers to helping the students around you, I would like to present each of you with a certificate of achievement.