It’s the beginning of Semester 2, so we thought we’d take a closer look at our Student Union Sabbatical Officers. Union candidates have a history of promising a lot in their campaigns and not always following through. It’s over half-way in the year, and definitely time to start seeing results.
We took a look at every SU Officer’s election manifesto and looked at everything they promised you, the students of UCD. From that list, we calculated what they’ve done, haven’t done, and what’s still in the pipeline. So far, they’ve achieved collectively 52% of their election promises, an admirable effort at this point in the year. The question remains, how much more will the team get done by the time they get replaced in a few months’ time?
Let’s take a look at what each Sabbatical Officer has done so far, and what promises they’ve all but abandoned.
First up is our Entertainments Officer Tom Monaghan. So far he’s fulfilled 29% of his manifesto promises, the lowest of the SU Executive. Monaghan has fulfilled on promises such as holding a UCD Hell and Back, introducing Ents DJ Classes and running the entertainment focused SU ENTStagram. While he’s ran successful social events, Monaghan has so far failed to come through on many manifesto promises such as All Ireland Beer Pong Championship, SU Food Fair, a regular ENTS Podcast, Euro Mile Charity Fundraiser, reviving the ENTS Facebook page, running campaigns around Drug Harm Reduction Through Awareness and Responsible Drinking amongst many other promises.
Next, we come to Una Carroll, our Welfare Officer. So far, she’s completed 41% of her campaign promises. She’s successfully lobbied the university to reduce the waiting lists for campus mental health services, managed ongoing campaigns surrounding Disability awareness, sexual health and healthy eating, and works with the Access Centre to improve overall campus accessibility. Although Carroll has so far failed to come through with promises such as reviving the ‘House Hunterz’ student accommodation series, a campus-wide consent survey and a Red Box Sanitary project; Carroll can be commended for her tireless work on individual student cases.
Education Officer Brian Treacy has fulfilled 56% of his manifesto promises. Highlights include: helping students with SUSI grants, working with class reps to ensure lecture slides go up on time, working closely with the Careers Centre, etc. Some promises not yet fulfilled include: SU seminars to help students prepare for all forms of examinations, introduce standardised lecture recordings, introduce group chats for students to ask questions in modules. Treacy has been praised for his extensive case work in which he helps individual students with their academic needs.
The Welfare and Education Officers spend a large amount of their working time on individual student cases, an invaluable service to students, but evidently holds back their ability to follow through on some time-consuming election promises.
Student Union President, Joanna Siewierska, has so far come through with 62% of her election promises. Siewierksa has successfully come through on the majority of her core election promises, proving reliable to follow through on her manifesto. She has fulfilled promises to support the women and non-binary in politics group, support students in finding accommodation, promote sustainable initiatives such as the Great Donate, lobby for increase in higher education funding from the government, support students during first few weeks of college, etc. So far she hasn’t fulfilled election promises to run focus groups for students for students running campaigns on campus, establish a housing rights group to support students facing issues with landlords and increase staff for the UCD Health Service. The strengths of Siewierska as UCDSU President are evident, with a fairly scandal-less year for the union so far.
Campaigns & Engagement Officer, Katie O’Dea, pulls ahead of the pack with a 64% completion rate on her election promises. O’Dea has so far done things like work with estate services to introduce more waste segregation facilities, increase use of videos across social media platforms and push for affordable accommodation, amongst other things. She has failed so far at introducing more gender-neutral bathrooms to UCD, ensuring the SU website is up-to-date and increase SU events outside of the student centre. O’Dea has proved a strong C&E Officer so far, but time will tell on how much union ‘engagement’ will have increased under her watch.
The clear outlier in this group, Graduate Officer Conor Anderson, has effectively followed through with all 5 promises he made in his election manifesto. Anderson promised to do things such as change the way the Union engages with graduate reps and increase cooperation between the union and Smurfit Ambassadors. It’s hard to criticise fulfilling a manifesto that promised very little compared to his peers. Anderson has certainly filled the role differently to his two-year predecessor Niall Torris, but can be praised for his effectiveness in reaching out to graduates. A highlight of his term so far has been supporting the UCD Anti-Casualisation group who have been campaigning this year for better pay for graduate students.
So far, this year has been chugging along comparatively nicely when looking back at previous SU teams (i.e. Ascough Fiasco). Most are on track to fulfil the majority of their manifesto promises, the outlier being Tom Monaghan who promised a considerable amount which hasn’t been touched on yet. The hope is for our band of ‘merry men’ to come through on their words before their time is up in the Union, or else why should we trust the next lot who promise us the moon and back?
Conor Capplis – Editor