DIT Access and Civic Engagement hosts annual student volunteer awardsPosted: 19 May, 2017
Over 100 students were honoured for their remarkable commitment in volunteering at the annual Volunteering Awards Ceremony hosted by DIT Access and Civic Engagement (ACE).
The ceremony was held on Wednesday, 3 May in the beautiful surroundings of St Laurence’s Church on the DIT Grangegorman Campus. The night was a great success and celebrated volunteerism among access and disability students across DIT.
Students volunteered on a number of ACE initiatives and events, including: Access Student Leadership Launchpad, whereby student leaders help new Access 1st years adjust to college life; mentoring on the Thursday Club, a weekly club for students on the Autism Spectrum and students who find social interaction challenging, helping students to interact, work together and improve their social skills with their peers; helping to organise the annual tea party for local pensioners; visiting DEIS schools and the School for the Deaf in Cabra to provide mentorship and promote access entry routes to prospective DIT students. The success of these events and activities would not be possible without the commitment of our student volunteers.
A special award was made to one outstanding student, Dillon Smith,who is in his final year of an undergraduate degree programme in Interior and Furniture Design, and is profoundly deaf. Dillon received an award for his volunteer work with the Schools for the Deaf in Cabra as part of a DARE outreach initiative. Dillon, who is a mature student and attended the School for the Deaf himself, spoke of the lack of supports and awareness during his first attempt at studying at third level two decades ago. He spoke of the huge changes and improvements in supports for students who are deaf or hard of hearing since then, which enable students such as himself to fully engage in Higher Education. He has children in the School for the Deaf, and was proud to say that he could be a strong role model for them, stating: “If Daddy can do it, then so can they.”
The event was attended by Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, who praised the contributions of the students to the DIT community. Dr Noel O’Connor, Director of Student Development, also spoke, welcoming the students and praising their hard work, engagement and support to fellow and prospective students.
Directors and representatives of all four Colleges in DIT also attended and described the event as an “excellent event” and “something they look forward to each year.” Also in attendance were Dr Catherine Bates, Manager of Access and Civic Engagement Office, Ms Gráinne Burke, Access Officer, who acted as Master of Ceremonies, ably assisted by Bob O’Mhurcú, Head of the Disability Support Service.
The Access and Civic Engagement Office were delighted to acknowledge the extent of volunteerism of the students. Their commitment to volunteerism and giving back is an indication of the kinds of leaders these students will be in the future.