Final year business student Jack Callaghan is confident his experience of leadership from his clubs and society roles and involvement in student life will give him a unique perspective on leading as President of DCU Students’ Union (DCUSU).
If elected Callaghan will use his leadership skills gained through his various roles in student life at DCU. As chairperson of the Snowsports society and his position as a class representative, he knows what it takes to successfully lead.
“I know what it’s like to be a leader amongst students, especially from holding my class representative position and liaising with people about that,” said Callaghan.
For the next academic year, Callaghan’s “biggest idea” to reintroduce student life is a freshers festival over four days with the other big universities in Dublin.
“We have been robbed of so much time from Covid,” he said.
Callaghan continued: “ I’ve been robbed of my final year no matter what the result of the election, and that’s horrific, so I can only imagine what the first years and second years feel. Especially the second years who would’ve completed two years in college and would’ve only been on campus for a semester and a bit, like that’s ridiculous.
“So I feel we need to do something massive and big and audacious to be normal again, even though it’s going to be a new normal.”
If Callaghan is elected as the next DCUSU president, he hopes to carry on the work of the previous SU, but has plans to improve on areas like revamping INTRA, commuter facilities and support, the library toilets, and mental health services in the university.
Improving mental health services at DCU is high on Callaghan’s priority list. He said: “I actually have a lot of friends that utilise the counselling services in DCU.”
“[Covid’s] taken such a toll on all of us, like nobody can say that there hasn’t been a massive toll on students and I feel like there need to be more supports for students. Especially with what’s coming out recently in the past week with the [Sarah Everard] case in England.
“Students need to feel safe on campus and it’s something I didn’t have the opportunity to include in my manifesto, but it’s something that I’m definitely going to look into,” he said.
Another aim of the SU presidential candidate is to revamp INTRA which he feels is essential. “I feel like there has to be so much more contact. There has to be more conversations between the college and the actual student on placement,” said Callaghan.
Another issue Callaghan raised about INTRA is the offer acceptance process. “One thing I hate about the INTRA process is you have to take it [your first job offer] and I would love for that to be changed,” said Callaghan.
“Those companies are doing us a favour by letting us [work for them] and there needs to be a degree of certainty, but I think it should be more of ‘we’ll give you an offer… And you get back to us’. I feel like that’ll be more fair,” he said.
Recorded lectures and hybrid learning is something Callaghan believes is the “ideal situation going forward” and is something the university should be striving for as a staple of learning at DCU.
In terms of St Patrick’s College and its students, Callaghan has heard issues from the college student body regarding the SU area and its need of a revamp, and the importance of clubs and societies holding more events on the St Pat’s grounds, to bring more life to the campus.
Voting for DCUSU elections takes place on March 24 and 25, information on all candidates can be found at https://www.lead.dcusu.ie/
Image Credit: Jack Callaghan