DCUSU Presidential candidate Sarah Sweeney: Campus unity, food festival & free gym plan

By Hayley Halpin

Sarah Sweeney is a final year Business Studies student. She is the current chairperson of the DCU ladies soccer team. She believes that she can push the idea of unity across all campuses.

“I’m running because I think it’s something I could do a really good job at. I know it’s something I don’t have as much experience at as the other candidates but I think my fresh approach is something that could be really, really good for the SU and it’s something that they need,” Sweeney said.

“I do think I’ve got some great ideas and I really want to push the idea of unity across all campuses. Next year, which I think speaking to St. Pat’s, CICE and Mater Dei students, they just feel like they haven’t been involved and I want to change that,” she said.

Her manifesto proposes an increase on the student levy to supply free gym membership for all, a food festival, support systems for students on placement and reduced rates for driving lessons for students.

The College View asked Sweeney what she thinks the role of the president actually entails.

“The president is the chief representative of the SU. I want to have a really good relationship with the other elected sabbatical officers and the other faculty reps are as well.

“I think it’s really important that the president actually holds everything together and makes sure that the team works well,” she said.

When asked what she would bring to the position that was not done this year, Sweeney said that she wants to be more approachable.

“I want to be seen more, I talked about it a lot at hustings, how important a physical presence across all campuses is.

“Obviously you can’t be in two places at once but just to have better time management skills and get out there and meet as many people as possible,” she said.

When asked about the feasibility of a food festival on campus following the failure of the SU to sell out Oktoberfest this academic year, Sweeney suggested that people will engage because people are always interested in food.

“I think it’s something different, people are always going on about food. Oktoberfest, when the main version of it was on in town, it’s reliable and everyone always knows it’s going to be good. Why go to DCU when you can go to that,” she said.

“The food festival, I think it’s something different that again, the demand would be there for which is so important.”

Sweeney wishes to implement an increase of around €150 to the student levy fee to provide free gym access to all students in DCU. When asked by The College View about students reaction to this possibility, Sweeney is certain there will be an appeal for it.

“Obviously you have to ask students first if it’s something that they want but I don’t think there’ll be any problem with that. I think there’ll be a huge demand for it.

“€43 obviously isn’t that much. Most students pay for the gym anyway so I feel like once they see that they’re getting value for money. I know a lot of parents would pay fees so parents will want their children engaging with exercise,” Sweeney said.

On getting reduced driving lesson fees for students, Sweeney said that she has been in touch with local and national driving schools and they have shown expressed interest.

“Not even on a local scale, but they’re national so it could even be the case that we could get some kind of cards and they could still have their discounts at home,” Sweeney said.

When asked about her opinion on the Union of Students in Ireland, Sweeney said that it is important to keep DCU’s good working relationship with the Union.

“We saw the Citizen’s Assembly and it was great to see Annie Hoey speak so brilliantly and she’s a great representative of students. It’s important for us to have a good relationship with them and we voted to stay affiliated with them,” she said.

The College View asked Sweeney how she would engage with students on campuses that she will not be based on.

“There is always the opportunity to go down to Pats. Even if it’s a case of bringing your work down there, there’s no reason you can’t spend a couple of days down there,” she said.

Hayley Halpin

Image Credit: Hayley Halpin