Cian Conroy is a humanities student who is in the running for Vice President for Welfare and Equality. His aim for the position is to let students know that he is approachable and that no problem is too big or small.
Conroy believes that he is the man for the job as he has faced issues like homelessness and feels he can relate to students on a more personal level.
“What makes me stand out as a candidate is that I’m very approachable, people come to me wanting to talk, wanting assistance with things. One thing that sets me apart from the current candidates is I have been through the works, when it comes to social issues here in DCU, I was homeless for an entire semester and if was not for student support and development I wouldn’t be here right now,” Conroy said.
“The plan is to do anything and everything for them [students]. You have to be there for these students no matter what the problem. No problem is too big or too small. One of my aims if I were to be elected is to be more visible, it’s important everybody knows who the welfare officer is, who they can go to, who they can trust,” he added.
In his manifesto, he sets out plans to help students quit smoking. He doesn’t believe that a smoke free campus is the way to do this but has plans as to how it can be slowly implemented.
“I have been through the problems so I know what needs to be solved. Smoking is a big problem, there’s a smoking culture here in DCU. I want to bring in measures to help people quit smoking because one of the referendums is the smoke free campus, I think that is too big of a step, you can’t go from one to the other like that. To change the big, you have to change the small first. If we help people through talks and guest speakers, that will be needed because it’s an addiction, maybe there will be no need to bring in a smoke free campus because as time goes by, less and less people will be smoking,” he said.
Another item on his agenda is to create a commuter hub to allow for those travelling to DCU each to have space to heat up lunches and socially interact. By doing this, Conroy aims to decrease the dropout rate as it is commuters that are the largest group of dropouts.
“The amount of rooms here [the U] that aren’t being used, it’s a waste. Upstairs there’s a little kitchenette, there’s nothing in it, if there was a microwave and a kettle just to help people so they can heat their food up, make a cup of tea, to socialise. These commuters feel like they’re not getting the full college experience because they have nothing to do during the day. If there was an area for them to go and meet other commuters, this would not only build morale but lower dropout rates in commuters,” he explained.
Conroy also wants to implement inclusive sex education on campus and believes that this will not only benefit the LGBT community, but also the wider audience as schools throughout the country are lacking in this area in general.
“The way I would implement it, if it’s done right it can be done well, online information is very, very important, if I can get information to pass on that DCU can sign off on, I feel like that would be very important for these students, not only for the LGBT community who didn’t receive the education they needed, but for straight people as well. Schools hold back on some things because of their ethos and beliefs. Everything these days is done online and if needs be we can get a speaker in,” Conroy said.
Conroy is aiming to put proper measures in place for accommodation on Facebook and wants to ensure that no student is being exploited.
“I want to put measures in place, they need to send in pictures and breakdowns of the bills and if it’s justifiable then they can post it, if not then I’ll be like hit the road. We need to let landlords know that what they’re doing is not ok by taking business away from them. The welfare officer is in control of the page and they would be able to say yes no. I would want someone else to work with me or be trained in what’s good and what’s bad,” he said.
The biggest challenge in the campaign, according to Conroy, is running against the current VP Aisling Fagan as he feels it could be damaging to his campaign.
“For me, it’s very disheartening that someone is running again. You have your year, you do your year and make your difference. I’ve lived through the problems and know what needs to be done. When you’re in that office all day you don’t see this. From the position, you’re always looking from the outside in, but I’ve been on the inside,” Conroy said.