Katie O’Dea is a final-year History and Politics and current Environmental Campaigns Coordinator for UCDSU, who is running, uncontested, for the role of Campaigns and Communications Officer. Beyond the Union, O’Dea has also been involved in LGBTQ+ society and stood in as chair of Labour for a few months last year.
Interestingly, if the upcoming SU constitutional referendum passes, this role will be split in two by the reinstatement of a fifth sabbatical officer role; Entertainment Officer. If elected, O’Dea will be in the role of Communications and Engagement Officer. Despite this likely change, she felt it was important to include Entertainment in her manifesto, as she is still running for the yet unchanged role of C&E. O’Dea would love to improve Rag Week, ‘I think that the promotion of rag week, for example, this year, wasn’t great, and a lot of people, I don’t think even knew it was on.’ A Drag show was another event idea O’Dea had, though she knows that Dramsoc and LGBTQ+ soc run their own show, so she would love to support their event and collab with these societies if they wanted to.
As Environmental Campaigns Coordinator, obviously one of O’Dea central manifesto points is Green UCD. Over the past year, she has been in contact with Estate Services, staff and students about the topic of waste segregation. There are already some spots in UCD that allow for the primary separation of waste, but the entire campus is the aim, ‘I don’t know how realistic it would be to get the whole campus covered in one year… but there is a lot of goodwill out there.’ The Great Donate is another initiative that O’Dea, and others, are already working to get in motion; ‘A huge amount of waste is thrown out when people move out of Res every semester, what we’re trying to do, instead of throwing it in the skip, is to store it over the break.’ so that it can continue to be used by incoming Res students.
A crucial aspect of the role of C&E is communication. O’Dea has experience in communications working in two small companies and would specifically love to improve the Union’s use of Instagram. When asked about the communication that is mandated, O’Dea says that her personality would drive her to perform to the requirements of the role; ‘I think I’m a very thorough, organised person… I would be very regimented about fulfilling mandates.’
O’Dea also spoke about her idea to ‘Connect UCD’ by bringing the union to different buildings. .’I think that people get the impression, rightly so, that most Student Union events are run in the Students Centre and on a campus this big I think it’s really important to get out and make sure that we’re connecting with students all over campus and bringing the student union to them.’ She would do this by organising lunch with sabbatical officers in buildings across campus.
The final aspect of the role of C&E that O’Dea highlighted was student activism. From the housing crisis rally to the Strike for Climate Action, O’Dea believes that ‘the interest and the passion is definitely there and I think we maybe need to do a better job of facilitating that.’ she would love the Union to continue to encourage student activism and coordinate with societies to ‘bridge that gap between the SU and societies and bring us together’ because ‘we are working towards the same general cause – engagement and bettering UCD for students.’
By Muireann O’Shea – CoEditor