Welfare: O’Dwyer on working with local landlords, healthy eating and an approachable SU

Ciara is a third year Communications student from Tipperary, who has wanted to get involved in the Students’ Union from early on in her time at DCU.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about since the end of first year, start of second year” she says.


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Ciara availed of the SU’s help when she started first year in DCU and says they were a great support to her during her first year of college.

“In first year, I found it really difficult because I didn’t like my course … I moved up to the city and I was really homesick so I really didn’t like first year” she admits.

The SU at the time put her in touch with lecturers and helped her find her feet during those first few months. “I actually did end up changing my course and I was an awful lot happier when I did”.

From being involved closely in societies and in the SU, Ciara feels the main problem is that students are reluctant to approach the SU for help.

To combat this, she hopes to establish an anonymous chat forum whereby students can chat to the sabbatical officers without divulging their identity.

“At the moment, there’s a system … when you ask a question to the SU, your email pops up and they know your name and people weren’t comfortable with that”.

“I have talked to ISS about it and it is a possible system” she explains. “This’d be the first step I’d take to counteract the approachability of the SU”.

A healthy campus is important to Ciara and if elected, she promises to work alongside voluntary organization, Bodywhys to implement that ethos.

“I got in contact with Bodywhys who want to work with me … I’d work with them to provide free fitness classes”.

In regards to healthy eating, Ciara feels that the NuBar needs to provide more healthy options for students.

“It’s the NuBar that we’d really need to focus on” she says. “It’s the only restaurant on campus that don’t really have any healthy food at all”.

Mental health is an area Ciara would like to tackle too and says that it shouldn’t be just discusses during Mental Health Week, but should be ongoing.

She has been in contact with organisations such as Bodywhys, ReachOut, Aware and Mental Health Ireland and hopes to work with them, if she is elected.

“Hopefully, as a large team we could create a lot of awareness and major events throughout the year”.

Another major issue for students, Ciara says, is that of accommodation prices and demand for housing.

“It is an issue … but it is one of those things I have to be realistic about”, she says.

“The only thing I can do is work with landlords to get prices a bit cheaper” she explains.

“It would be tough … but I’ve spoken to a few landlords and explained to them the demand”.

Sharron Lynskey

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