Allan Stevenson hails from South Africa and is studying a BSC Education and Training. He’s sat on the Class Rep Council for three years as well as sitting on the Education and Training Programme board.
He firmly believes that the office of the President of DCU is all about student engagement. Stevenson plans to set up a Facebook page specifically tailored for student-President communication as he knows that it isn’t always easy for students to talk face-to-face with a member of the sabbatical team.
He’s in favour of implementing a class rep buddy system where a first year class rep is paired with an experienced class rep in order to assist them with their studies.
What makes you the ideal candidate for President of the SU?
When I first came to DCU, I was lost. It was a case of trying to find my place. The experience I’ve had in DCU has brought me out of my shell and I am just so passionate about DCU and that’s what I want to bring to the students of DCU. I want them to have the experience that I’ve had and I believe that I can make that come true for them.
What differentiates you from the other candidates?
Life experience. I haven’t been involved in the executive side before but I’m more of an on the grounds kind of person. I will be around campus talking to students and that’s what makes me different. I am on campus. Most days I’m here from 8.30am to 5:00pm every day. I’m always meeting people, and that’s what I’m about. It’s just fantastic. We’ve such a great university. I want to get engagement with the students and the only way to get engagement is through communication.
What would you do to promote student engagement with the SU?
I’d make myself even more available. I’d visit classrooms. There is a lot of work involved in being president but, there’s also time. Time has to be made to meet the students. Get out there, not just during campaigning, but after campaigning. When you’re president you’ve got to get out there, interrupt a lecture if you have to, the lecturers will be more than delighted to see the President becoming more involved. Speaking to students, I’d find out ‘what do they want?’ It doesn’t matter if it’s small. Take the Science building, for example. They want benches or couches. Every other building has it, why can’t they have it? Small things like that.
What would you do to increase student turnout at referenda?
I think students need to realise that the sabbatical team are there for them. Once they realise what the team can do for them, that should increase the turnout. Also, once again, communication. Let them know what’s happening and when it’s happening. I was speaking to some students this week and they were asking questions like “when do we vote?” and “where do we vote?” There’s obviously a lack of communication and that is something we need to address.
Do you think online voting is a good idea for future referenda and elections?
We got rid of the bugs in the system. I know we haven’t got a programme that correlates with how the SU elections are conducted. I do like the idea. I think a lot more students who are abroad should be able to vote. This is their university and they should have a say. Once you’re a member of DCU, you’re part of the family for the rest of your life. Students don’t know this. If you want to go to Canada, for example, you get onto the Alumni Office and get in touch with alumni in Canada and I can almost guarantee that alumni there would help, because you’re a DCU student. It’s all about networking and jobs. We’re part of a massive worldwide community.
Why do you think students should vote for you?
I am passionate. I love DCU and I love the students. I want them to have a similar experience to the experience which I’ve had. I’m hardworking and I’ve got experience so get out there and vote.
See how Allan fared in our opinion poll here.