VP Engagement and Development candidate, Siobhán McTague: Volunteering, class reps and the Open Badge system

by shirley donlon

Credit: Shirley Donlon

One of two candidates for the role of VP Engagement and Development this year, Siobhán McTague, is the prime example of a multi-campus goer in Dublin City University. Having studied Irish on All Hallows Campus and Irish and Media Studies on Glasnevin Campus, Siobhán understands that each campus has a different spirit.

“I think it is important to understand that we don’t all have to be the same. We need to remain different but work together. It sounds simple but it [the Incorporation] hasn’t been very simple so far,” she said.

McTague’s manifesto emphasises three main areas: clubs and societies, volunteering and the class representative’s system with an underlying emphasis of the Student’s Union awareness.

“Regarding class representatives, I want better training by working with the NStEP programme (National Student Engagement Programme) that is set up by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) so that will be training throughout the year for the class reps instead of just having training at the start of the year,” she said.

“The class representative system is the best way to connect with the greater student population, because from class representatives it filters down and that’s how we’re going to engage with students.”

A firm believer in participating in activities outside of lectures, McTague wants to continue the work of Eimear Maguire, current VP for Engagement and Development, and the rest of the SU with the Open Badge system.

The Open Badge system is an online LinkedIn accreditation that allows student’s involvement in extra-curricular activities to be recognised by potential employers.

“I want to lobby to get the university backing on that. It really is such a great thing to put on your LinkedIn,” she said.

McTague’s third area focuses on volunteering. Understanding of student’s lack of information about how to volunteer, she wishes to increase awareness about the whole process with DCU in the Community.

“They [DCU in the Community] run a volunteer exposition every year so I want to create that into a whole week. It would be a community engagement week where that would give DCU in the community a platform so students know where to go when they want to volunteer.”

If elected for the position of VP for Engagement and Development, one of McTague’s main aims will be to define the relatively new role.

“VP for Engagement and Development works in those three main areas that I keep mentioning; clubs and societies, volunteering and the class representative’s system. This year I think it has gotten a bit confused with the role of Welfare and Equality,” she said.

“It is not a welfare role, it is a stand-alone role and I want to make sure that it gets that recognition as a stand-alone role and as a position because it is just as important as the other four.”

While talking to The College View, McTague’s passion for clubs and societies, the class representative’s system and volunteering is evident, and her message about why she would be a good candidate for the role is clear.

“Engagement and development is all about getting the students involved. It is about getting them to step outside of their comfort zone and that is what I have done for the last three years and it has been the best thing I have ever done. I want other students to experience that,” she said.

“I think that once you engage and participate, you lead and succeed.”

Shirley Donlon

Image Credit: Shirley Donlon