With only one position contested in this year’s race for sabbatical success, The College Tribune sits down with the candidates for Campaigns and Communications. Last, but not least is Arts student Luke Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick’s experience with UCDSU stems primarily from his involvement with the Ents crew and his time as a class rep. Much of what’s outlined in his manifesto is centred on the digital space, with one idea floated being the ‘UCDCrew’. The concept is drawn from GirlCrew and what he feels to be the ‘spammy’ nature of class and society pages which many students currently rely on.
This initiative would be specifically targeted at first years, and is intended in part to bridge the gap between orientation week and peer mentoring and fresher’s wee, when society and club membership is offered. Fitzpatrick hopes to address this drop-off period when many new students feel isolated by offering the group as a forum for first years to connect and engage with one another.
Also raised is the prospect of building on work undertaken this year by current welfare officer Clare O’Connor with the ‘What’s in the Pill’ campaign. Fitzpatrick hopes to see the programme expanded to include promotion of the ‘Bad Batch’ app which can be used on the fly to give an approximation of whether pills available on the street are adulterated.
Specifically citing recent events in Cork, Fitzpatrick recognises that this may be a controversial move but maintains that approaching drug use from a harm reduction perspective is important. He also envisions that the testing concept can be applied to the issue of drink spiking by distributing test kits on campus in collaboration with the elected welfare officer.
Unique among the candidates in expressing a willingness to work with the recommendations presented in the Cassells’ report rather than setting out a stance, this could prove problematic if, as is likely to be the case, the report presents a finding which is in opposition to UCDSU’s own mandate.
The nature of the C&C role, as Fitzpatrick sees it, is to arm students with as much information as possible. Hoping to put his own stamp on the officeby building on the work of this years’ sabbatical officers, he also hopes to work closely with the Communications and Research assistant by utilising their skills to boost the effectiveness of ny campaigns run on campus.
Acknowledging the disconnect between the SU and the student population, Fitzpatrick feels that current C&C Cian Byrne has performed well but that there is a lot to be done in bringing the Union’s work to the wider student body. He feels this can be achieved by using online tools such as vlogs and social media more effectively in combination with lecture addresses and making personal connections with students.
Voting in the C&C race takes place tomorrow, March 8th and Wednesday, March 9th, with the majority of faculties voting on Wednesday. Polling stations and times are available here. You can view Luke’s manifesto here.
- Seán O’Reilly, Editor