The Students’ Union is seeking to hold their annual elections online for the first time in history. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused multiple delays in election voting for the Union. Should the Union receive approval from UCD to hold elections online, projections suggest voting will take place from April 21st at the earliest. Proportional Representation – Single Transferable Vote (PRSTV) will be used in the elections, as per the Union’s constitution.
Although that’s a little while away, we thought it best to get to know who the candidates are! The Tribune will be publishing detailed interviews with each candidate in the run up to the election, grilling them on their manifesto plans. Campaigns & Engagement (C&E) candidate Rebecca Leeson and Education candidate Brian Treacy have already dropped out of the race. Currently, no students are running for the position of Graduate Officer. C&E candidate Rekha Vishnu Nagargoje has not responded to requests for comment or interview.
Without further ado, here’s the Students’ Union Election candidates for 2020:
Conor Anderson – President
Hello! My name is Conor Anderson, and I am running for President of UCDSU. I am currently the Union’s Graduate Officer, a role I think I have done some good in. I have a M.Sc. in World Heritage Management and Conservation from UCD’s School of Archaeology, and I completed my bachelor’s at Occidental College in Los Angeles. I am a dual Irish and American citizen who has been living in Dublin since 2018. I am passionate about making UCD a better place, and in my spare time I go to the gym, ride my bike, and write.
Ruari Power – Welfare
I am a 20-year-old psychology student from Co. Clare. I am a co-founder of the Fix Our Education group and have helped lead the resistance to unjustified rent increases on campus. I am running for Welfare officer because I believe that student support services on campus are at breaking point. If the University fails to provide the proper resourcing, I will lobby politicians and fight for the Higher Education Authority to ringfence funding for student supports. UCD shouldn’t be spending more on luxury flights than on student health and counselling. Functional Mental Healthcare and Disability services on campus are the bare minimum.
Rebecca O’Connor – Welfare
Bex (Rebecca) O’Connor is a final year of English, Drama and Social Justice student from Derry. She has maintained a part-time job, lived in ‘digs’ and in student accommodation and, for a period of time, had to commute into college. She has seen what the Student Union can do for those who need it and how it can improve the life of the student body as a whole. Over her time at UCD she has been Class Rep, Inclusions Officer of the Musical Society and is currently Secretary of UCD Volunteers Overseas who she has volunteered the past two summers with.
Leighton Gray – Campaigns & Engagement
My name is Leighton Gray and I’m running for Campaigns and Engagement. I’m 21 and doing my masters in Gender Studies. In my four years in UCD I have consistently been involved in the SU. In the year of Repeal, I was the auditor of UCD for Choice. This year, I’m the LGBTQ+ Campaign Coordinator. I’m running for C&E because I think change is needed in the SU. It is not reaching its potential in terms of activism and engagement, and this is an issue that needs to be addressed. I have been involved in activism since I was 16. In my time in UCD I have loved and hated the Union. I think I can bring the critique and experience the Union needs to bring it to the next level.
Katie O’Dea – Campaigns & Engagement
Hey, my name is Katie. I’m a Gaeilgeoir and camóg from Dublin. I’m your current Campaigns & Engagement Officer and studied History & Politics before that. In final year I was SU Environmental Campaign Coordinator, coordinating UCD Green Week 2019 and starting The Great Donate. After a fantastic year as your C&E Officer, I have so much I want to continue to develop over the next year to improve student life and to fight for what’s right. I hope that you will trust me with your vote and re-elect me as your C&E Officer! My Insta handle is @Katie4Campaigns
Sarah Michalek – Entertainments
Hey I’m Sarah, I’m 21, finishing my Masters in Psychological Science. I’ve been involved in UCD life since day one, joining a large number of societies in first year, becoming auditor of the Hispanic society in second year and mental health campaign coordinator for the Student’s Union this year. I’m running to be your Ents officer for 2020/21 because I’ve come to really love the creative and social aspects of putting on events throughout my various roles. I’m passionate about making other people’s student experience as fantastic as mine was and I believe I can do so through hard work and consultation with students!
Darryl Horan – Education
Hi, I’m Darryl, I’m a final year student of History, and I want to be your next SU Education Officer. Originally from Laois, during my time in UCD I’ve been heavily involved in the fight for a fair and affordable UCD, whether it be in the campaign against the student center levy, fees or the high cost of housing. My main hobbies are reading history and Sci Fi, watching tv and being at the odd protest. I’m running because I believe that a union that fights for its students is a union that can overcome today’s challenges and make UCD a better University for all students.
Hannah Bryson – Education
My name is Hannah, I’m 28, I’m from Belfast, and I’m currently a repeating third-year Computer Science student. Having multiple disabilities: autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia and ADHD, I came to UCD hoping it would provide good supports for disabled students, but this is utterly not the case. I founded the Disability, Inclusion and Awareness society last year, and this year am the UCDSU Disability Rights Officer. In these roles, I’ve seen how inadequate UCD disability and financial supports alike are. As Education Officer I want to make sure the SU does far more actual campaigning to fight for better supports and conditions.
Conor Capplis – Editor