Sarah Michalek, 22, describes herself as a “craic dealer you can trust” in her latest manifesto for Entertainment (Ents) Officer of the Universality College Dublin Student’s Union (UCDSU). The Psychological Science Graduate is the current Ents Officer and is running unopposed for the second time. The role of the Entertainment Officer consists of organising the Union’s social and charity events while also chairing the SU Entertainments Forum. The College Tribune interviewed Michalek to discuss her year as Ents Officer and why she wants to run again.
When asked why she wants to be Ents Officer for a second year, Michalek replied “Primarily, I really, really enjoyed the role. But when I ran last year, originally, when I started collecting signatures, there was no pandemic…I would love the opportunity to be able to do something on campus next year.” Michalek explained that she has kept her manifesto “purposely vague” as although she wants to do everything she has promised, she can’t guarantee that everything will be allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Michalek’s colourful manifesto, which can be found on the SU website, proposes mental wellbeing events, a safe drug, and alcohol use campaign, and invite “big acts” such as Blindboy and the Happy Pear to campus. Her aims appear to be focused on post-lockdown events, when asked if she has made any provisions to make campus-based activities available online, she explained that she will avail of “every opportunity to get to students”. Michalek emphasised that the competitions, collaborations, workshops, and events on the entstagram will continue but she added that she will reach out to future second-year students a.k.a “The Forgotten Ones” and ask what events they enjoyed before planning anything for next year.
In her manifesto, Michalek focuses heavily on alcoholic events. However, Michalek insisted that she will “absolutely” hold non-alcoholic events next year. She continued that non-alcoholic events, such as the successful ‘Drink Tea and Draw’ event held last November, were “incorporated so seamlessly” this year and that she would love to continue holding similar events, despite not specifying it in her current campaign.
Michalek intends to collaborate with the Welfare Officer next year when organising mental wellbeing events for students, the UCDSU will work with Nightline to host workshops encouraging students to have open conversations with friends about mental health and helping students to cope with stress.
In last year’s manifesto, Michalek promised to introduce portable chargers made available from the SU, to be lent to students for studying in the libraries. When asked if she will continue with this Michalek responded that she had trouble with the orders but will try to have them available for next year. When asked if she will also uphold her promise to introduce healthier food options on campus she explained that she will “definitely be lobbying” for more variety but that she will also need to appreciate that restaurants are in a vastly different position now than they were a year ago. She continued that she would need to consider whether restaurants have the resources and if they are in the position financially to facilitate her requests.
Michalek is running unopposed for the position of Entertainment Officer for a second year. When asked if this is due to an engagement issue within the union, she replied “I definitely would have run anyway, whether I was contested or not, because it really was something I did want to continue and I do know I can give it another go that will hopefully be better depending on whether we can be back on campus…People are very aware that there is a pandemic, it’s a big job to take on especially when you can’t actually interact with students. I don’t think it is an engagement issue but rather the year that’s in it.”
Students can register to vote in the UCDSU elections now on the UCDSU website and voting will take place on the 31st of March and the 1st of April.
Emma Hanrahan – Assistant News Editor