It’s a three-horse race for DCUSU’s Business School Faculty Representatives. The candidates are Sean Coffey, third-year business student, Eoghan Fleming, second-year business student, and Paul Simionescu, first-year aviation management student.
Coming off of a year where college life has been severely stunted, each candidate brings their own ideas to the table on how to turn the DCU business student’s university experience around in the next academic year, and beyond.
Eoghan Fleming wants to upgrade the INTRA system, adding that it “looks like it’s straight out of 2004” and that students have no way of sorting jobs by sector, which makes it challenging to use the interface efficiently.
On the heels of what is in many ways a lost year of college life, Fleming also expressed the importance of finding the good that came out of the pandemic and carrying it forward.
“The elimination of hardcopy materials would be beneficial – working online has shown that we don’t need them,” he said, adding that a paperless business school won’t only help the environment, but will mitigate stress for students.
“We’ve all seen the student in the library who is scrambling over their papers,” he said. “For students who don’t have access to printers at home, it can be a massive added stress.”
Fleming also emphasised the need for further notice on class and exam timetables when activities are on campus.
“This year, we got our exam timetables two weeks before we started,” he said. “A lot was online, so it wasn’t a big deal, but if those are in person, you can’t be telling people what classes they have two weeks beforehand. People have jobs, bosses will be asking for hours, students need to arrange campus accommodation, we need at least a month’s notice.
Paul Simionescu, a first-year student and the youngest of the group, wants to take a new approach to timetables entirely.
The aviation student said he will help try to give business school students the option to attend lectures in person or at home.
“In my year, we have lots of students that come from outside Dublin, and it’s hard to find accommodation; some have financial problems, lots have lost their jobs,” he said.
“We can live stream in-person lectures so students at home can access them if they can’t make it onto campus and still feel engaged,” said Simionescu.
Having seen firsthand the toll college takes on mental health, especially in a pandemic, Simionescu wants to ensure every student is aware of the services available to them.
“I want to have a tile on loop with a list of all the services the university offers,” he said, emphasising the importance of including not just direct mental help support, but peripheral academic supports like the maths learning centre that can help ease the stress of students.
Sean Coffey said: “A lot of the problems every student has had can be put down to covid, but I want to try to incorporate long-standing issues and long term strategic plans into my role that will help us no matter what the situation is.”
If elected, Coffey’s first order of business will be revamping the INTRA portal for students, which he says is in dire need of an update.
“The portal is dated,” he said. “Students are suffering from it, employers are suffering from it, it’s been talked about for several years and nothing has been done about it. It’s time for that to change.”
Coffey also wants to prioritise getting current first years involved with clubs and societies, which they missed out on this year.
“There are some things lectures can’t teach you,” he said. “There are lots of intangibles that only peer-to-peer engagement can develop, so we need to get a network established there for our first years, and everybody.”
Coffey plans to commit himself to scheduled office hours when students are back on campus, where anyone can come to him with their ideas and issues with the business school.
Voting for DCUSU elections takes place on March 24th and 25th, information on all candidates can be found at https://www.lead.dcusu.ie/
Devin Sean Martin
Image Credits: Eoghan Fleming, Paul Simionescu, Sean Coffey