This Student Union election season is turning out to be quite the interesting one, with four of the five full-time positions seeing only one candidate running for the role. The only exception is VP for Wellbeing, with four candidates battling it out for the job.
The election VP for Academic Life sees Eoin Crossen, a final year Primary School Teaching student running unopposed.
Crossen, a class rep for the BEd course for the entire four years, former first year officer of the Class Rep Council (CRC) and chairperson of the CRC for the past two years, is running his campaign on multiple manifesto points.
The role of VP for Academic Life is a “really heavy remit”, Crossen told The College View, in a wide-ranging interview. According to the DCUSU website, the role involves campaigning on educational matters, and engaging with external education agencies on policy development and implementation.
It also involves taking into consideration work-based learning, including placement and Erasmus, along with the responsibility of developing the class representative system.
Crossen is not concerned about whether he is unopposed or not, saying “I would put myself forward as best as I can either way”.
“It’s been brilliant to get out and speak to students. From a personal point of view, it’s been good to push me out of my comfort zone,” Eoin said.
“I wouldn’t be putting myself forward if I felt I wasn’t the best person for the job,” Crossen added, remarking “I’m confident that I’m a strong candidate for the role”.
Crossen said he is “very well placed” on giving class reps support, saying there are an “important link between the SU and the students on the ground.”
“If we have a strong class rep council, we will have a stronger students union to identify issues on the ground,” Eoin added.
In his manifesto, Eoin said he wants to engage with and lobby government for “meaningful chance for students”.
He explained to The College View that we wants to focus on barriers to entry into third-level education, saying it is “about standing up and saying ‘enough is enough’”.
“There’s been talk for three years about taking €500 off fees, that’s still €2500 of fees left. We should be looking at a significant reduction in fees,” Eoin said when asked about the recent failure of government to cut college fees in the cost of living package announced last week.
Eoin also said he wants to focus on the lack of financial support for students on placement, with a loss of income from part-time jobs, and the cost of travel to placements.
Also in his manifesto, Crossen wants to promote the Irish language, and improve the culture within DCU where “nobody is afraid to use whatever level of Gaeilge they have, even just on a casual level”.
Eoin said he is not “going at it from a militant Gaeilgeoir standpoint”, but instead wants people “to be comfortable to use it casually”.
“It’s a really important part of Irish culture… the little bits mean a lot,” Eoin added.
On the likelihood of fulfilling promises in his manifesto, Crossen said that things don’t change overnight on a national level.
“No matter if there’s a time limit on my term as sabbatical officer, it’s important that we start these conversations,” Eoin said, adding “we might not achieve that long term goal, but we’ll get that ball rolling to continue the work”.
Eoin emphasised that he is not in this campaign to advance himself.
“I’m in this to further the student movement,” he reassured.
On mental health services in DCU, Crossen said he is inspired by ideas from other campaigns, particularly from the candidates for VP Wellbeing, adding “whoever wins it [VP Wellbeing], I’d love to work with them and bounce off their ideas.”
“If you’re struggling to get food on the table and struggling to get out of bed in the morning, you can’t be expected to excel academically,” Eoin added.
Voting for the Students’ Union election opens on Wednesday 16th February at 7am on Loop, and closes at 7pm on Thursday 17th February.
Shortly afterwards, the results will be announced by the Returning Officer.
Image Credit: lead.dcusu.ie