Candidates have finalized their manifestos for the upcoming UCD Students’ Union Sabbatical Elections. The College Tribune has viewed the manifestos for the eleven candidates.
Only one candidate is running for the position of UCDSU President.
Current Welfare Vice-President, sovaldi Rachel Breslin, divides the main portion of her manifesto into five sections; Education, Entertainment, Welfare, Campaigns and Your Union.
Under ‘Education’ Breslin notes that the main purpose of college is to get the best education possible. She hopes to secure funding for the library as the current under-funding is “damaging both undergraduate and graduate degrees.” She also promises to work with the University to develop a procedure to assist students struggling to pay fees.
Entertainment will be focused on on-campus events to create a better UCD atmosphere. She hopes to have one main Ents night each week where possible, with €3 entry and drinks. Ms. Breslin plans to organise one large non-alcohol all-inclusive Ents trip per month.
Breslin promises to ensure that, if elected, she will hold a referendum on USI affiliation next year and present to students campaigns planning out UCDSU’s fight for third level funding, student grants and a postgraduate loan scheme.
She imagines a union that is exciting and useful, and plans to make it more inclusive through open union meetings. Class rep training will not be overnight but will be restructured to ensure better trained reps. Breslin hopes to implement new financial structures to ensure that the Union has learnt from past mistakes.
Campaigns and Communications
With four candidates, the office of Campaigns and Communications is the most contested. The candidates are James Atkinson, Karl Gill, Paddy Guiney, and Aisling Sheerin.
Final year Commerce student, James Atkinson, hopes to guarantee professionalism in a role that demands it.
His manifesto highlights campaigns to promote issues such as LGBT Week, Environmental Week, Gender Equality Week and Finance Week. If elected, Atkinson plans to run a campaign based around road safety.
Atkinson dedicates a large portion of his manifesto to changing how the Students’ Union communicates with its members; stating he will guarantee the setting up of a new website while making video reports on union activities every two weeks. He states that if he misses a report, he will donate €50 to the Welfare fund. The Wexford native also states he will donate 10% of his pay to the Welfare fund.
Former Student President of Sallynoggin College of Further Education, Karl Gill, wants to make the Union more accountable, democratic and relevant.
He states that he will bring class rep training onto campus; furthermore, if elected Gill will establish an Ents rep and a class rep for each class in the hope that the rep represents the class to the Union.
Gill is campaigning for “free education and nothing less”. His manifesto states that we need to maintain a call for a free and non-discriminatory education system. Alongside this stance, the second year Social Science student wants to use his knowledge of activism to continue the Union’s marriage equality and LGBT campaign.
If elected by the students of UCD, Gill will try to make Council more open to students by ensuring Reps attend and report back to their class. He will also issue a “Union News” leaflet to keep students up to date on issues of their Union. His manifesto states that students are to be consulted openly before any major changes are made.
This year’s Sports Officer, Paddy Guiney, is also in the running for Campaigns and Communications Vice-President.
His manifesto states top five priorities. He hopes to introduce a “credits for life” scheme whereby students receive academic credit for extra-curricular activities. He will introduce a meal deal of the week to provide students with a healthy cheap alternative while campaigning for more parking spaces for students.
On the Communications end, Guiney plans to introduce live video screens to play promo videos for campaigns, events and announcements; hoping to save money on paper and printing costs. He will ensure all sabbatical officers release weekly video reports. If elected, he will use social media to communicate with UCDSU’s members.
The 3rd year Arts student states that he wants to be an “approachable, accountable and active” Campaigns and Communications Officer.
The final candidate in the race for Campaigns and Communications is 20 year old Arts student, Aisling Sheerin.
Her manifesto states that a vote for her is a vote for “experience, new energy and enthusiasm”. Sheerin plans to relocate the Student Bookshop to a more central location, indicating the former Copy-Print station in the Library Tunnel.
Sheerin hopes to use online media to inform students of Union activities, including a live online stream of Students’ Union Council Meetings. She also wants to get thoughts on what students want done differently on campus and plans to introduce a suggestion box in emails. First years will be encouraged to contact Sabbats from the beginning of the year.
The Arts PRO hopes to increase awareness of healthy eating and a balanced lifestyle on campus and also organise a road safety awareness campaign. Her manifesto states that gender equality is “very important” and she will work with her fellow officers on this.
Two students contest the position of Welfare Vice-President; Enda Conway and Micheál Gallagher.
Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy student, Enda Conway, states that welfare has played a huge role in his college life and he wants to return the favour.
Conway wants to seek sponsorship for welfare to enhance the current budget. He plans on publicising the UCD Welfare fund to ensure all students know why the funds exist and how to apply for them.
His manifesto states that if elected, Conway will ensure that mental health campaigns are taken to a wider audience. He hopes to create a peer support scheme for students struggling with work placements.
The 20 year old plans on creating a number of campaigns such as “Know Your Welfare”, “Fight Your Addiction Week” and a “Welcoming Drive”; while also promoting services assisting students struggling with body disorders.
If elected, Conway hopes to put the “WE in Welfare”.
The other candidate in the race is Micheál Gallagher, a 21 Social Science student. He believes that his involvement in Welfare Crew and the Students’ Union gives him the experience needed for the job.
Gallagher’s manifesto looks at the issue of mental health and he plans to campaign for and support students who are affected by this. He states that he will organise a counsellor to run a “first reach clinic” while plans for a yearlong ant stigma campaign.
If elected, Gallagher states he will actively campaign to re-instate the post-graduate grant and lobby to ensure grant payments are on time. He will also expand the Student Support Fund.
Gallagher plans to work on campaign for LGBT rights, disability rights while working to support international students and first years.
His manifesto states that a vote for him is “a vote for you”.
There are three candidates vying for the position of Education Officer; Shane Comer, Sam Geoghegan and Patrick Wolohan.
Running on the slogan, “Our education matters” is 20 year old Shane Comer who states he is dedicated to making himself “accessible, visible and active”.
Comer plans to support access to education by lobbying the government and Minister for Education on the issue of fee increases. If elected, his manifesto also promises that he will work on the creation of an Erasmus fund to cover costs of certain students.
Comer hopes to provide information for students on internships on his proposed Education blog; including what internships are available and how to apply for them. He plans to support postgraduate and mature students through study seminars and a student lounge.
If elected by the students of UCD, Comer states that he would “put everything I have into serving students.”
Current UCDSU Education Vice-President, Sam Geoghegan, is running for re-election; his manifesto stating that no one is “better placed or more experienced” to represent students. In his view, UCD is Ireland’s flagship university and should strive for the best.
He states that he will fight any changes that jeopardise equal access to higher education. He will also maintain pressure on County Councils to strive for punctual payments of grant payments. The 21 year old will lobby USI to introduce a Post-Grad loan scheme.
Geoghegan plans to protect library opening hours if re-elected while demanding an effective and efficient library budget. He states that he will also insist on adequate facilities for the proposed 24 hour study space in the new Student Centre.
He wants to introduce audio recordings of lectures, ‘iTunesU’.
In Geoghegan’s view, UCD is Ireland’s flagship university and should strive for the best.
Patrick Wolohans’ manifesto contains a large number of promises and key issue he outlines for the greater good of UCD students. His Key issues include Lecturer Accountability, Academic Innovation in the form of the use of systems like Google Docs instead of blackboard, Academic Support such as workshops and the introduction of new library books in the Library.
Amongst the section entitled ‘Pats Plans’, include reducing the resit fee to €150, improving community spirit, reducing library fees and the introduction of a new grind scheme.
Only one candidate is running for the position of Ents officer.
Eoin Heffernan, is a twenty one year old Agriculture Science student from Dublin. He vows to make 2012/2013 the best ents year UCD has ever seen.
Amongst his many ideas he plans to train up an ents crew of over forty people, an overnight mystery tour along with a possible trips away to festivals like ‘I love Techno’ and ‘SnowBombing’. He also plans to make use of the new student centre by holding the latest blockbusters in the cinema, along with guest speakers in the new theatre. Amongst his manifesto is the heading ‘Alco free ents’ which explains his desire to create many campus events that don’t resolve around Alcohol. Along with the revolutionising of rag week along with major sponsorship deals, he plans on raising in excess of €30,000. Amongst the acts he hopes to bring to the UCD Ball include Wiz Khalifa, Azealia Banks, Ellie Goulding, The Vaccines and 2ManyDJS.