VP for Welfare & Equality candidate Olivia Nwachukwu: Cultural integration, removing stigmas and the pro-choice stance.

by Brein McGinn

Olivia Nwachukwu is a final year Health and Society student. She is the Chair of AfricaSoc and feels this privilege puts her in a great position to further integrate DCU’s wealth of varying ethnicities.

She said, “The big thing for me is cultural diversity. It is a bit hard for minorities to relate to other students if they can’t see them in office. I think if I was there, I would be a point of contact to make for minorities who are on campus.”

Nwachukwu has been planning on running for quite a while, with the origins of a potential campaign being seeded all the way back to an event during her first Fresher’s Week when she bumped into former Welfare Officer Eve Kerton, who she says inspired her.

She said, “Since I was 17, I couldn’t even drink and I couldn’t socialise like how you normally would and then I remember Eve Kerton came up to me and asked me why was I standing on my own?

“I said because I didn’t know anyone but she introduced me to other people and from then on, I made friends with people I’m still friends with now and I don’t think she realised it but she changed my life so I want to do the same, make a difference to at least one person.

Her manifesto includes tackling the important housing crisis. Nwachukwu promises to make the DCU accommodation page accessible to DCU students only, as well as forming an information night at the start of her potential term for students and landlords in order for them to meet and build relationships before agreeing to a tenancy deal.

She also wants to introduce healthy eating classes and create a student cookbook for students, made by students to help newcomers into DCU learn how to cook healthy on a cheap budget, as well as the planning of an inter-campus sports day.

“In my manifesto, I also want to tackle the mental health issues students have. I believe in prevention,” Nwachukwu said, “That means, finding out those certain triggers for you and trying to work your way around them and not letting yourself get in that way by creating practices of head-space and mindfulness so you can detoxify from certain environments for a few hours every day.”

She said these practices could be taught through management classes or workshops by guest speakers who come in and give advice for those seeking help.

Nwachukwu is a campaigner for minority rights and holds a strong pro-choice stance on the recent discussions of Ireland’s constitutional Eight Amendment. She said if someone from DCU held a different view to her on matters such as those, she would respect their opinions, unless they crossed a line.

She said, “Everybody has their freedom of expression just as long as it doesn’t impede on anyone else’s freedom to express themselves.

“I’m not going to try and stop their voice because it is different from mine, all voices are equal and they should be expressed equally but, for example, I would try and get in contact with any group who holds a different viewpoint to our pro-choice stance and see why they feel the way they do to create a healthy debate on such an important topic.”

Brein McGinn