DCUSU Hustings 2021 – Campus events, hybrid learning and support for nurses and teachers

Aoibhín Meghen

Campus events, hybrid learning and support for student nurses and teachers. The points made by candidates for DCU Students’ Union (SU) 2021/22 mostly focused on supporting students through Covid-19 and beyond, and the hopeful return to campus life.

Presidential candidates were asked how they can promise large scale events if the pandemic is still a factor.

In response, Seán Smyth said for that reason he has not promised a Freshers event, instead he plans to run an event for students next summer which will go ahead “whether it’s indoors, outdoors or online,” said Smyth.

Terence Rooney was hopeful for the return of on campus events next year.

“We’re already seeing the vaccines coming through, we’re seeing our grandparents getting vaccinated, so I really do believe there will be student events on campus next year,” said Rooney.

However, if these events must take place online Rooney says his experience in running online society events will allow him to run them successfully.

Jack Callaghan, a self-described “positive person”, promises to “strive for greatness” in regards to student events.

“I’ve had so much experience in hosting big events and I feel like I can do it,” said Callaghan.

Presidential candidates were also asked what they will do to benefit students on St Patrick’s Campus.

“Being a student teacher, being on Pats campus, I know what works, I know what doesn’t,” said Smyth. Smyth said he wants to increase the SU presence on St Patrick’s campus.

Rooney and Callaghan both hope to increase clubs and society activities. 

Rooney would do this with “a revamp of the Pats’ clubs and socs fair, meaning increasing the funding going into this clubs and socs fair and putting it first before the clubs and socs fair in Glasnevin,” he said.

Callaghan hopes to mandate clubs and societies to host some events on St Patrick’s campus. 

“They can see how beautiful of a campus Pat’s is and then they’ll probably want to stay there because the facilities are fantastic,” said Callaghan.

Running unopposed for Vice President (VP) for Academic Affairs, Kate Goodman wants to put pop up stands  and office hours in place for class reps to bring forward their class’  issues.

“I know a lot about business and I know a lot about my course but I really want to engage your class reps to make sure the work I’m doing corresponds to the problems they have,” she said.

Goodman also wants to increase supports for student nurses and teachers as well as Erasmus students. These supports include appreciation nights and Tips and Tricks events.

The three candidates for VP for Diversity and Inclusion all mentioned ensuring hybrid learning is available even with the return to on-campus learning. 

Micheal Long said he hopes to improve the student experience for Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) students by creating a diversity panel and “hearing exactly what HEAR and DARE students themselves are asking for.”

Long says this will mean he can hear from these students in a timely manner and he can put “meaningful changes” into effect.

Bobbie Hickey promises an open door policy, “whether that’s a literal, actual physical door” or online. 

“I want to hear from all of the students because there’s no point in me sitting here thinking and saying that I have all the answers,” said Hickey.

Olivia Sneyd highlighted the high number of HEAR and DARE students in DCU and hopes to introduce the Universal Design for Learning principles.

Sneyd said: “We all don’t learn the same way and I think it’s important that lecturers are recognising that and we’re helping people in the classroom who mightn’t work you know in that generic way.”

Candidate for VP for Wellbeing, Erin Byrne said integrating the first years is a “priority”.

“They have been deprived of campus and society life due to Covid. I would like to ensure that next year this is made up to them,” said Byrne

Dean O’Reilly wants to get students a free gym trial and establish a ‘gymginners’ programme.

He also hopes to establish a women’s health advisory group so his work is informed “by a variety of women’s lived experiences.”

Both candidates for VP for Wellbeing want to put in place a period product delivery service, building off the pregnancy test delivery service already in place in DCU. 

Byrne also wants to establish period product vending machines across campus.

Finally, Tadgh Jenkins and Ross Boyd both spoke about their plans if elected to the new DCUSU position, VP for Community and Citizenship.

With regards to sustainability, Jenkins hopes to reinstate ashtrays in some campus areas and work with a recycling company to manufacture the cigarette butts into plastic.

He wants to “make sure that anything that we are producing that is waste, we can try and use that in other ways.”

Ross Boyd wants to provide students with “safe, sustainable, affordable commuting” by increasing bike shelters and an affordable bike rental scheme to get between campuses.

Jenkins also hopes to improve community integration and voting by establishing a voting framework in DCU that makes registering to vote “a lot simpler and a lot easier”.

However, Boyd believes that it is important to keep people politically engaged outside of election times by providing workshops.

Polls open tomorrow, Wednesday March 24th at 7am and will remain open until Thursday at 7pm.

Aoibhín Meghen

Image Credit: DCUSU