Half of DCUSU Election candidates speak at first round of Glasnevin hustings

By Hayley Halpin

Candidates running SU positions gave a quick introduction of themselves, discussed their manifestos and took questions from the floor.

The second round of the Group One hustings for the 2017 Students’ Union elections took place on the Glasnevin campus today at 1pm.

The sabbatical positions covered at the Group One hustings were VP for Academic Affairs, VP for Engagement & Development, VP for Welfare & Equality and Oifigeach na Gaeilge.

Candidates running SU positions gave a quick introduction of themselves, discussed their manifestos and took questions from the floor.

VP for Academic Affairs

First to take the stand was the sole candidate for Academic Affairs, Brendan Power.

Power told the audience that he “values the substance of this role over other roles”.

He went on to outline that he wishes to focus on grinds and tutoring programmes, look into refining library issues, bring back Careers Week.

The current DCUSU VP for Academic Affairs, James Donoghue, asked Power how he plans to remain enthusiastic throughout the year to come.

“It’s a place where you can give back to people that need help. I wouldnt like to be in a suit and tie every day. I want to speak to students on a peer to peer level,” he replied.

VP for Engagement & Development

Up next were the candidates running for Engagement & Development.

Running for this position are Shaun Kerrs and Siobhan Mc Tague.

St. Patrick’s College BEd student Shaun Kerrs is currently on teaching practice and had a representative speak on his behalf. His rep outlined Kerrs manifesto points. Kerrs plans to bring in extra counsellors to work on both the Glasnevin and Drumcondra campuses, expand the intercampus bike scheme and complete engagement surveys and campaigns.

Siobhan McTague stated that if elected, she would continue to work with the NStep programme, run a Careers Expo and continue the work of the current VP for Engagement & Development, Eimear Maguire, with the open badge system for extracurricular activities on LinkedIn.

Similar to Kerrs, McTague wants to ensure funding for the bike scheme and work with what’s already there. McTague stated that she wants to “empower the body of the SU so that people know where to go.”

Oifigeach na Gaeilge

Caoimhe Ní Chonghaile is the only candidate running for the position of Oifigeach na Gaeilge.

She wants to campaign to get rid of the Gaeltacht fees, which BEd students are currently obliged to pay.

“I’d like to use the position to make sure Irish plays a more integral role in SU campaigns,” she said.

Ní Chonghaile also plans to develop a Gaelcharta, host a Ball Gaelach and work alongside societies to make an Irish language calendar for charity.

VP for Welfare & Equality

The final VP position to take the stand and to round off the hustings were the candidates for Welfare & Equality.

Running for this position are Jason Bolton, Padraig Henry, Maria Lawlor and Olivia Nwachukwu.

Focusing on mental health, Bolton stated that it is “something I really want to focus on”. If elected, he plans to begin an online platform for counsellors to engage with their patients with outside of consultation hours.

He also discussed plans to make DCU’s accommodation website accessible to DCU students only, whereas anyone can currently view it.

Padraig Henry believes that the “relationship with students is the most important part of the role.”

Following with the theme of accommodation, Henry wants to create more lenient rules around overnight guests for on campus residents and create a dedicated accommodation website for DCU students studying abroad.

He also wants to alleviate library fines during non-exam periods as he believes that short term loans can be too expensive for students living off campus.

BEd student Maria Lawlor is currently on teaching practice and had a representative speak on her behalf. He outlined the points of her manifesto including; an open door policy, always have tea and coffee in the office to encourage students to visit, begin a “Humans of DCU” social media campaign and focus on all aspects of student health.

Finally, Olivia Nwachukwu took to the stage.

“Representation is a big thing for me thing year. As a minority student, I have seen how hard it can be to access things,” she said.

Unlike her competitors, Nwachukwu plans to run a Culture Week on campus. If elected, she also wants to bring in healthy eating and sleeping classes, along with sexual empowerment classes. She suggested monthly seminars with experts in the mental health field.

The final round of husting take place this evening at 6pm on the Glasnevin campus.

Campaigning for all positions will begin on Wednesday March 15th and end on March 22nd. Voting will take place between March 21st at 9am and March 23rd at 5pm. Results will be announced on the evening of March 24th.

Hayley Halpin

Image & Tweets: Brein McGinn