Brendan Lacey contested last year’s Campaigns and Communications race on the back of his experience as the first ever UCD Sports Officer, see a class rep and a member of the Academic Council, to name but a few things listed on his manifesto. Almost one year on from his election, how many of the promises on that manifesto has he fulfilled?
Arguably his most successful endeavour thus far was his part in the “Stop Fess, Save the Grant” campaign. According to his report from November 24, 2011, the march was “a huge success” with “3500-4000 of [the students] coming from UCD”. Lacey also noted that the final costs of the campaign were around €5,000, “a massive saving on previous years…something I am extremely proud of.”
His proposals regarding the Students’ Union included cutting the cost of class rep training through a campus swap, providing comprehensive training for class reps and modernising the way the Union communicates with students. Some of these plans proved to be unfeasible, while others are a work in progress.
Due to a lack of suitable accommodation, the class rep training campus swap could not go ahead, Lacey claimed.
However, he noted that he had reduced the cost of training this year by €4,000. His aim to provide students with better class representatives did not get off to a good start with the controversial “Run for Class Rep in UCD” video which featured Lacey dressed as a stereotypical nerd that students shouldn’t want as their representative in the Students’ Union.
When asked by the College Tribune how his plans to modernise SU communications were progressing, Lacey stated that he had achieved his first aim to reduce the number of text messages being sent to students. He also explained that he has “drafted communication plans for all eventualities” and put an emergency procedure in place with the university in case of unforeseen events like snow.
One of the more interesting proposals on Lacey’s manifesto was to bring a “World of Work” scheme to UCD to help students acquire the skills needed for employment. When asked about this scheme, Lacey responded that it was “a long term project that will be around long after I will.” According to Lacey, progress is being made in achieving this goal. “I’ve been in talks with some of the big businesses around different areas to see what they look for in graduates and will be working with the University to put together online, video tutorials and workshops…alongside face to face workshops already provided”.
Lacey has previously announced “the plans are there” to have the Dublin Bike Scheme on campus “in a few years”, something he focused on in his manifesto. However, his reports state that he is also working with a private company to have a UCD bike scheme, a process that is ongoing. “I feel it is something that students would really appreciate… something I think students will really see a benefit from.”
At one of the debates during last year’s elections, Lacey told the audience that it didn’t take a “rocket scientist” to adjust the UCDSU website, such as changing the background colour to make it easier to read. So far, the site remains as it was, due to the “unjustifiable” costs involved in changing it. Lacey puts this down to “one of those things that you don’t know about until you get into office.”