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Gráinne Tyrrell


Being chairperson of a club of nearly 800 members has inevitably provided me with a steep learning curve. The Outdoor Pursuits Club (OPC) is a multidisciplinary club; thus I have had to employ a broad range of organisational methods to meld all aspects of the club together so that we may provide our members a safe space to enjoy outdoor activities. Communication and collaboration amongst the committee meant investing time and effort into understanding the club how we may best function within the overarching structure of the UL Clubs and Societies. The personal development, people skills and confidence I have gained through this venture has reflected extremely positively upon my academic work- especially when presenting and drawing upon communication skills. I have learnt to deal with disputes in a constructive and calm manner. I have learnt to get to know varying personalities and to understand how these personalities may work best in a team environment.

Since joining the OPC in first year I have had numerous positive experiences of self-growth and community. I quickly became a core member of the club and joined the committee in first year. Were it not for others who invested time into training me and being mentors, I would not have benefited from such positive growth and learning as I did. By volunteering my own effort into being a climbing supervisor, hike leader and committee member through the years is my way of giving back to such a wonderful club so that it may continue to be successful and allow others to reap the benefits of all it has to offer. I feel that finding a club where a student feels at home can be so important and hold a massive impact on an individuals college experience. As chairperson I hoped to foster this positive impact and to reach as many individuals as possible who could benefit from enjoying the outdoors through hiking, climbing, caving and orienteering.

The club ran approximately 120 in person activities this year. I interacted with officers of each discipline to organise these events and attended the majority of these to further assist. Volunteering for the Outdoor Pursuits club has been one of the most profound experiences throughout my college years. I have already experienced the benefit of this voluntary work during interviews as employers look very favourably upon such leadership roles. I feel a sense of confidence in my capabilities which I had not before my role as chairperson. This self-assuredness is likely to come across in future career endeavours. I have applied for funding for a Phd and being able to discuss the work I have done through the PVA has been key to fulfilling acceptance criteria. Allowing others to find happiness through outdoor activities has been unbelievably fulfilling and it has encouraged me to continue with my Rock-Climbing Instructorship training. This type of training and life experience is invaluable in future experience and in giving back to the outdoor community in any way I can.

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