UCDSU Launch Skydive Challenge

In Photo: Caroline Cassidy. Photo by James HealyStudents are being invited to take part in a charity skydive next April. The campaign was launched on Wednesday 4th November by UCD Students' Union (UCDSU) in the Fitzgerald chamber. All the funds raised will go towards Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland (YSPI), a charity that receives no government funding. A date auction during UCD SHAG also raised money for YSPI.At the launch, UCDSU Welfare Officer Clare O’Connor claimed that the challenge was the largest fundraising event on campus this year. Participants will have to raise €500 minimum in order to do the skydive. UCDSU President Marcus O’Halloran notes that students are welcome to raise more and that he hoped that they raise “as much money as possible.” The Union states that they aim to raise €100,000 in total. Of the funds raised by the charity 23 per cent goes towards administration costs and the rest is used for the charity’s work.UCDSU have planned a number of events in order to help students fundraise. This includes a campus Christmas dinner, Christmas carols and the sale of a naked calendar. The funds raised from these efforts will be evenly distributed among each student’s individual attempt.The launch event was addressed by Caroline Cassidy, Ireland’s first female skydiving instructor. She is attached to the Irish Parachute Club in Co. Offaly, where UCDSU plan to run their skydive in April. Cassidy also encouraged students to participate in the challenge.Alan McKelvie the director of YSPI also spoke, noting how important it was to be working with a university. He stated that suicide among young people is increasing and that Ireland has one of the highest rates in Europe. McKelvie also noted the stigma that still exists around suicide in general, saying that insurance companies sometimes do not pay life assurance in the case of suicide. He quoted the motto of the charity that “one life lost is one life too many.”The charity focuses its work on outreach programmes to schools. Their aim is to educate people and reduce the stigma around suicide. In 2015 YSPI stated that they managed to reach 18,000 young people and they hope to reach 36,000 in 2016. The minimum amount of money raised from one skydive would allow them to reach 150 young people, McKelvie claimed.