STUDENTS who participate in extra-curricular activities may be eligible for a new award, established to encourage contribution to extra-curricular organisations. The Recognition for Voluntary Engagement Award (ROVE) is to be award to students who are involved in student societies or clubs.

Manager of the Centre for Service Learning, Community Engagement and Volunteering, Orlaith McGourty, explained that the award was set up to recognise and award those who contribute to university life. “It is a way of acknowledging those who are involved in student activities and say well done, we recognise what you are doing. Keep up the good work.”

To qualify for ROVE, applicants must have done a minimum of ten hours of voluntary work or activities to be eligible to apply. They must be also able to provide evidence to support their application.

Ms McGourty illustrated that although there are already awards for society invovlement, ROVE is not “duplicating [other awards], it is something different. It’s recognising voluntary contribution.” She added that the awards scheme “is an initial thing, perhaps over time it may be refined”.

Acknowledging that there is “a push across the country in different universities to give credit for extra-curricular activities” and stated that although she felt that “some form of recognition would come eventually”, she was unsure about whether such recognition would be in the form of academic credits.

While supporting the ROVE award, SU Education Officer, Paul Lynam stated that he would like to “see it as a stepping stone for a credit system”. “There’s definately a feel that it should happen” explained Mr Lynam.

“To get other students involved and to enhance their non-academic education, it is important to get extracurricular credit and this is being actively pursued by a lot of people”.

Listing the lack of a committee who are solely responsible for assigning academic credits as a barrier to an academic credit award system, Mr Lynam said “We cannot have schools here and there, we need an actual programme board to take over the running of it, to give out credits and to assess how it is being done”.

Awarding credits for non-academic activity is currently being explored by other universities across the country and has already been implemented in Dublin City University, (DCU).