Outgoing sabbatical team discuss this year’s highlights

As incoming sabbatical officers get ready for a summer of hard preparation, the outgoing Students’ Union are set to say goodbye to DCU for the final time. But what stamp have they put on DCU during their time and most importantly, what do the students of DCU think of their achievements?

Reactions to this year’s SU have been mixed but Fiona Keegan (GI) praised the SU’s interaction.

“We’re always getting emails from them and I saw them around a lot too and found them really helpful and friendly”.

However, Mark Cowen (CCS) criticised their lack of communication, “I never notice anything that they do, these guys are more conservative and they communicate with students less”.

Outgoing SU President, Aaron Clogher says the setting up of an online voting system has been one of the main highlight’s during his time here and he hopes that next year’s team will expand on that and have online voting in place for the 2015 elections.

The passing of the recent Hub referendum also sticks out as a milestone during his time, after over 90pc of students secured a ‘Yes’ vote to support the structure.

“This was something we had identified as being necessary and the vast amount of students agreed with us.”

This plan, set to be completed in 2016, includes expansions to DCUfm and extra office spaces. Clogher is certain that such spaces will be used to benefit clubs and societies which operate around campus.

Limited space has already led to event restrictions for clubs and societies, after it was decided that major events could no longer coincide with Shite Night in the NuBar.

“We can’t really have any large scale events happening in the building on the same night as Shite Night”, Aaron explains.

Aaron describes a further expansion of Shite Night as “an avenue we don’t want to go down”.

“We don’t want to discourage people from having a good time but we don’t want to get back to a stage where we have incidents or antisocial behaviour in or around the campus” he says.

In an event that sparked controversy this year, the Mock Wedding was overshadowed by naked strippers at a student night in NUI Maynooth.

Speaking about the event, Welfare Officer Lorna Finnegan says she would have done the event slightly differently had she the opportunity to do it again.

“I just feel that Maynooth upstaged it in a way that it was such a big outing for them and their students could have been drinking from four o’clock that day”, she explains.

“If it was done next year, it’d be good to see it with St Pat’s” she continues. “A closer college might work better because it gets a bit messy trying to transport people back to Maynooth after a long night”.

Finnegan also highlighted the event’s success saying, “it ran well and we raised over €8,500 for our chosen charities and that was the main goal behind it”.

She praised new services to DCU students such as the healthy fruit and veg packs, car sharing and bicycle workshops but admits a dwindling interest in such initiatives in recent weeks.

“These were good when we launched them but have gone down since … But it’s something that’s there which wasn’t there before” she explains.

Throughout her campaign last year, Finnegan promoted the idea of just one or two major balls throughout the year so that the SU weren’t struggling to sell tickets for such events.  But does she think the reverse effect has happened following the recent crowds for summer ball tickets?

“The Summer Ball is different. It’s the last event and even the most disengaged students throughout the year want to go”, she says. “It’s the one event where for some people it’s their only engagement with the Students’ Union”.

Outgoing Education Officer, Ciaran O’Connor echoed the opinions of his colleagues by saying his highlights included smashing the SU target of €10,000 for the three chosen charities and passing the Hub Referendum.

In an interview with The College View, the Education Officer said that he is confident in DCU’s class representative system despite admitting that some representatives lack enthusiasm for CRC meetings.

“The class rep system and CRC are different animals altogether. Asking students to commit a minimum of 2 hours every week can be a large ask at the best of times, considering the amount of CRCs and the length of them” said Mr O’Connor.

This year, there are more class representatives than ever before and O’Connor noted that this was one of the highlights of his year. “We have over 330 reps, which is fantastic.”

Ciaran admitted that he was disappointed that his proposal to extend opening hours in the library didn’t follow through, but he’s confident that incoming SU President, Kenneth Browne, will succeed in doing so next year.

“He’s knows at first hand the struggle it has been so he will be able to start this task with knowledge of my attempts and how best to get this done”.

Elaine Carroll and Sharron Lynskey

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