Niall Behan is a final year finance student, the current Business Faculty Rep and is one of five candidates running to be the next DCU SU President.
He plans to integrate TEFL courses on campus, instate a Daytime Activities officer and hold a multi-campus festival to celebrate the opening of the new Student Centre next year.
The College View asked Behan why he was running for the role of Students’ Union President.
“One of the main points of my campaign is to make DCU more of a community. I think the higher levels in the University have acted against the student body in certain respects. I don’t think there was much on a student level that could have been done, but certain people took the fall for it. I know there’s been a lot of blame thrown around,” he said.
“I think we’re better off looking progressively and positively towards the future, when there is so much potential that can be harnessed to really make DCU the one University on all three campuses, with everyone really feeling that they’re proud to go to DCU.”
Behan plans to celebrate the union of separate campuses under the Incorporation by holding a multi-campus festival in February next year. While most other candidates have also promised large scale events, Behan is confident that his experience will stand to him.
“It’s about how you lobby the University, how you put your events forward. I’ve worked very much alongside Peadar Gill this year in organising events, I’ve got a lot of events experience myself and if you plan, organise and tick all the boxes for an event, it happens. That’s how it works,” he said.
The festival will offer a range of a daytime activities spread over all three campuses and will culminate in Glasnevin, where the new Student Centre will be opened.
“It encompasses all that is DCU SU with regards getting everyone involved, but also shows people on the other campuses that they are still part of the University,” he said.
Behan also plans to integrate TEFL courses into DCU, which give students a qualification to teach English as a foreign language abroad. Behan plans to advertise the qualification in conjunction with Students’ Union campaigns and hopes to formally integrate it into the separate faculties.
“The main thing that I’d be working on would be to lobby the University to try and integrate it into student life,” he said.
“If we can lobby it to make it part of a certain school or part of certain subjects, as an optional module. I think it’s very important that students not only be able to speak other languages, but know how to teach their own.”
When asked which project he was most passionate about completing if elected, Behan said the instatement of a Daytime Activities officer. Having worked closely with current Events Co-Ordinator Peadar Gill this year, Behan identified the need for a second officer position to organise small events on a daily basis.
Behan said, “It doesn’t sound like a lot but it really does up the energy on campuses. It puts the power back in students’ hands and it really makes smaller events more accessible for all students.”
The College View asked Behan what the role of the President means to him.
“The President, at the end of the day, is the person on campus that people will recognise. You need a friendly face there. You need somebody that people will feel comfortable talking to, but also has the confidence, determination and drive to get DCU off the ground and represent the college to their full ability,” he said.
When asked why he should be elected over his running-mates, Behan was adamant that his track record sets him apart. When running for Business Faculty Rep last year, he promised to increase support for accounting students. After negotiating with the Business School, software was introduced to first and second year students on a trial basis that acted as an interactive learning platform.
“I’m happy with that because not only did I promise people I’d get that, it was something that came to fruition,” he said.
An active member of society life throughout his time in DCU, Behan believes that he can be a voice for all students and see out the promises made in his manifesto.
“I believe I’m someone who get things done. I have a track record and I’ve organised massive events over my time here in college.”
“I think I’ve gotten such a range of values from everywhere on campus that I have something in common with everybody.”
Image Credit: Rebecca Lumley