Irish Traveller student society at NUIG secures national award

galway daily news irish travellers win award nuig
L to R - Michelle Whyte BICS Vice Chairperson, Owen Ward NUI Galway Traveller Education Officer, NUI Galway Mincéirs Whiden Society Committee Members Luke Silke , Aurora Gifford, Rebecca Sherlock, Jason Sherlock, Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer & BICS Strategid Development Officer and David Cuddihy BICS Chairperson. Winning Best Society at the BICS National Awards.

The NUI Galway Mincéirs Whiden Society has been named Best Cultural, Academic, and Social Society at this year’s National Board of Irish College Societies annual awards.

This is the first time that a university society for Irish Travellers has won the prestigious award.

Mincéirs Whiden means Travellers talking in the Cant language spoken by the Irish Traveller community, and the society was co-founded by Traveller students at NUIG in 2019.

The award was secured at a special ceremony in Wexford town.

“It was fitting that our Mincéirs Whiden Society secured the award on the eve of International Traveller and Roma Day which is celebrated today, April 8,” said Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway.

“Respect and openness are core values at NUI Galway and it is evident that it is these values that guide the ongoing work of the society, its committee, and its members. We are very proud of all its accomplishments.”

The Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) judging panel were impressed by the exemplary standard set by the society, the dedication and pride of its representatives and by its sense of community.

Founder member and NUI Galway alumnus Jason Sherlock said: “Every university and college should have a Traveller student society and we will support anyone to achieve this outcome.

“The key to our success is the strong relationship between the Traveller students and our allies within both higher education and the wider community. We want to personally thank everyone for their ongoing support.”

The Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) is an annual event that celebrates the achievements of student led societies on the island of Ireland.

NUI Galway’s Taveller Education Officer Owen Ward said: “The Mincéirs Whiden society has played a key role in creating a safe space for Traveller students on campus and acts as a model for good practice to ensuring Traveller inclusivity in education.

“This has empowered us all to continue to work together to create a more inclusive and diverse campus for all students.”

Awards won by NUI Galway societies at this year’s BICS ceremony

Medical Society – Best Departmental Society and Best Promotional Campaign for 100 Miles with Medsoc

Energy Society – Best Green initiative for Anti Fast Fashion Week

India Society – Best Photo

Musical Society – Best Poster