Members of the Enactus NUI Galway Wallflower Initiative team, from left, Tom Hickey, Elaine Higgins, Megan Fahy and Ben Kenny.
Apr 14 2016 Posted: 09:08 IST

NUI Galway’s Enactus Society recently held their annual showcase which saw the student’s present five projects which they ran over the previous year. These projects benefit the world, socially, economically and environmentally and engage those most vulnerable in our society with members of the University.

NUI Galway was one of the founding Irish teams of Enactus Ireland and this year will mark its fifth year of involvement. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, participating students from all disciplines form a team on their university campus and apply business concepts to create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe.

Enactus NUI Galway students take entrepreneurial action to positively impact on the lives of those in need in their community. Partnerships with the community include Galway Simon Community, COPE Galway, Ability West, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Croí and The Olive Branch for Children.

Working with both the Galway Simon Community and COPE Galway, the Wall Flower Initiative involved training long-term homeless men on the development of vertical gardening pockets for urban spaces as well as how to grow plants from seeds. In the HeadstARTS project, a team of students organised weekly drama and dance sessions with teenagers from Ability West, while the CARA group engaged adolescents from CAMHS in a series of art classes under the tutelage of local volunteer artist Maeve Gallagher. Now in its second year, the Communication Awareness Project (CAP) led by students from the Discipline of Speech and Language Therapy, provides training programmes for staff in the service industry on how to communicate with members of our community who experience verbal communication challenges.

Future plans for Enactus NUI Galway include ensuring the sustainability and expansion of the current projects and to develop new projects. The OppTech Micro Finance team is working on developing a business training programme and a supplementary app to bring to Tanzania. They are accompanying volunteers from the Draíocht Society on campus this summer to deliver this pilot programme. New project “Whats the craic?” is focused at the concept stage and is looking to facilitate learning language exchanges at NUI Galway.

The current Team Leader and PhD candidate at NUI Galway, Orlagh Reynolds, has been involved in Enactus for over a year and also attended the Enactus World Cup 2015 which took place last year in Johannesburg, South Africa. Orlagh said: “From working with some of Galway’s key community organisations to travelling to the Enactus World Cup in Johannesburg, Enactus has given me insight into what is needed to make a sustainable impact in our community and beyond. Our showcase demonstrated the incredible work of our team and impact of our projects.”

Michael Campion, a lecturer at NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, and Faculty Advisor for Enactus NUI Galway, said: “The typical student who engages with Enactus is enterprising and passionate about making things better for others. Designing and developing Enactus projects is not easy due to the criteria laid down by the Enactus worldwide organisation. It challenges students to be innovative, enterprising and hard-working. It’s a privilege to work with and support such students in their Enactus endeavours.”

In May, Enactus NUI Galway students, along with nine other third-level institutions, will gather at the Chartered Accountants of Ireland in Dublin for the Enactus Ireland National Final 2016. The winners will represent Ireland at the Enactus World Cup, which this year will be held in Toronto, Canada in September.

-Ends-

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