2013 Annual Networking Event A Great Success

June 1, 2013  |  Networking Event, News  |  Share

“It was a really great experience”. ” I’ve had a wonderful experience – I am delighted to have been able to participate!; “Great event – increasingly vibrant experience – well done”; “Excellent…”

The above are but a sample of the feedback received from the record number of delegates attending the annual CUSAI Networking Event hosted by the Heritage Hotel and Spa in Killenard, Co Laois on the 23rd and 24th May.

The event, now in its fifth year, is an opportunity for third level sports officers, students and their student union representatives in addition to national governing bodies of sport and local sport partnership staff to meet with colleagues to share best practices and exchange ideas.

This year’s event was also historic with delegates unanimously ratifying the association’s change of company name to Student Sport Ireland. The change in name was accompanied by the unveiling of a new logo and branding materials by Communications and Marketing Committee Chairperson Tim O’Connor.

The key note speaker and undoubted stand out presentation was delivered by (extreme) endurance athlete and motivational speaker Gerry Duffy. Gerry outlined to the delegates how he went from being four stone overweight at the age of 27 to running 32 marathons in 32 consecutive days in 2010 followed by competing in the DECA Enduroman challenge, which consisted of a daily 3.8km swim, a 190 cycle followed by a full marathon every day over ten days, in 2011. Gerry won the event by over 22 hours.

Awe inspiring, inspirational and fantastic were just some of the adjectives reported back by delegates of Gerry’s talk.

Another highlight for delegates was the Social Media in Practice presentation delivered by Union of Students in Ireland Media and Communications Executive Ronan Costello and his colleague Trinity College Dublin Welfare Officer Aisling Ni Chonaire.

The theme of the event ‘Empowering Students to Get Active’ was reflected by two key presentations delivered by students. The networking event commenced with an engaging presentation from Belgian student Margot De Lange who outlined those initiatives and activities undertaken by the student sports council at her university in Antwerp to increase physical activity levels amongst inactive students. On Friday morning USI Vice President for Welfare Denise McCarthy delivered a captivating presentation on how sports officers can work with their students’ union to motivate students to get active. Based on the feedback received following the event many sports officers will return to their college armed with information and ideas to implement in the new term.

A new element incorporated into the event was a group recreation activity session. The session, organised by Brian Mullins with vital support from six IT Carlow students judges who kept all in line involved delegates participating in a range of (unique) physical team activities. The activity session was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all participants.

The penultimate presentation of the event was delivered by Neasa Fahy O’Donnell who outlined preparations being undertaken in advance of the 16th European Network of Sport Services conference which will be hosted by the University of Limerick from the 6th – 10th November.


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