Final year psychology student, Dean O’Reilly, is running for the position of Vice President for Welfare and Equality and wants to impact students’ lives on a practical level.
Speaking to The College View, O’Reilly said that the role of VP for Welfare and Equality has always played a major part in his experience in DCU.
Throughout his time in DCU, O’Reilly has worked closely alongside the students’ union (SU) as the former chair of DCU LGBTA society and the current chair of the Mental Health society.
Reflecting back upon the work of former VPs for Welfare and Equality, O’Reilly believes that more can be done to make a daily difference to students that has a lasting impact on their overall experience.
While also focusing on broader campaigns such as Rainbow Week, of which he helped establish two years ago, and consent workshops, O’Reilly also hopes to focus on more localised issues that would make a daily impact in the life of DCU students. For example, removing hot water charges and introducing microwaves and cereals onto campus so that the growing commuter population can make food for themselves throughout the day.
O’Reilly stated that over the years he has benefitted from knowing the VPs for Welfare and Equality, but that this is not an experience shared by the entire student population.
“If somebody has never met any of the VPs, why would they think they are advocating for them?
“I really think the students’ union could do more to be on the ground as much as they possibly can, making appearances at the events as much as they can, trying to be out of the office as much as they can,” he said.
In ensuring that campus is accessible for students with disabilities, O’Reilly is currently working on an accessibility policy with the Society Life Committee to ensure that societies are accessible.
He noted that the elevators in the U Building open up to double doors, making them inaccessible for students with disabilities. He said he would work alongside DCU Estates Office to find a solution to this problem.
O’Reilly believes that he would make the best candidate for the position of VP for Welfare and Equality as he has experience implementing policy in DCU, working alongside DCU staff to make changes and his manifesto includes a series of points that are achievable in both the long and short term.
“When it actually comes to what I am working towards, everything I have mentioned is achievable,” he said.
Image credit: Dean O’Reilly