What made you want to apply for this role?
I applied for the role having been a student of NUI Galway for 5 of the last 6 years. Throughout that time, I have dealt with my own, and witnessed many students struggle during their time here.
Unfortunately, the university’s core values of “Respect, Openness, Sustainability, and Excellence” have slipped in standards, and I believe that students welfare and experience has fallen from the priority of university management. I want to strongly advocate for students and challenge University Management to put students first, having been neglected for so long.
Talk us through your manifesto and the main thing you’ll work on implementing if elected.
Overall, I have four primary goals I want to work on throughout the year. Firstly, using the momentum from the past two years to push for recording lectures, having all lectures transcribed, and removing mandatory attendance where possible. Secondly, working to improve student welfare by improving the provision of period products on campus, improving the funding for the Financial Aid Fund and Student Hardship Fund, and provide students with free breakfast and lowered prescription costs. I would love to see Mental Health Funding hugely increased.
Thirdly, accommodation must be affordable for students to engage with third level. I would work to ensure there is a rent reduction in university campus accommodation and prevent the university from charging the exorbitant prices proposed for their new builds on campus.
Lastly, the environment and sustainability are close to my heart. I aim to challenge the university to expand its sustainability goals, provide students with more active transport, expand park and ride facilities, and improve the green labs and similar initiatives across all schools.
Overall, I want to ensure students time here is as straightforward and accommodating as possible. Socio-economic and access concerns should not be preventative to people attending higher-level education!
What do you think the greatest obstacle will be in your term if you were to be elected?
Frankly, I believe the greatest obstacle by far will be the University Management. I do not believe the interest of management are in-line with students prosperity but ensuring shareholder and academic satisfaction. In my experience in dealing with Management, anything that strays from the status-quo is seen as too difficult, obtrusive, or labour intensive. This is completely the wrong attitude to have as those charged with the success and well-being of students.
What is something you hope to carry on from the previous officer if elected?
There has been a fantastic history of SU Presidents in recent years. I would love to carry on the work firstly of Pádraic to abolish the repeat exam fees, and expand on that removing fee for appeals and ensuring all exam transport is free for good. Secondly, I wish to expand on the work Róisín has done to improve the Irish language’s prominence on campus. Protecting and enhancing the Irish language should remain a priority of the union, and university, for years to come.
Finally, why do you think people should vote for you on March 3rd?
I am hoping people who know me can advocate that I have consistently worked to improve the livelihoods of those around me. With the experience I have working with SpunOut.ie, Text50808, as a class rep, as a member of Academic Council, and the Governing Authority, I can assure people can see that I am dedicated to their representation and I appreciate the challenge. I do not expect the University to be thrilled if I were to be elected, and this is exactly why I, and people like me, should be elected.