What made you want to apply for this SU role?
Last year when I ran for President, I saw so many problems that students were facing, and I really wanted to solve them with a proactive response. I think that the policies weren’t as strong last year in education, and it’s one of the things that I’m very passionate about.
I’ve been a class rep for three years and an academic councillor. I was also on the Irish Second Level Students Union and have done research with the university, so education just made sense and fitted for me.”
Talk us through your manifesto and the main thing you’ll work on implementing if elected.
There’s four main categories: Assessment, Educational Resources, Communication and Organisation, and Access.
I’d implement a reading week for all. I know it’s on the verge of happening and so I’d work on it and hopefully you’ll see timetables next semester with a reading week in the middle of it.
Another thing is open education resources. A lot of college books cost students lots of money and it’s harder for them to access that, so I’d move towards open resources. There are scholarships available for students to make their own resources and research as books as well. It’s already there in the university, so it’s about pushing it and making sure more people are aware and for more people to develop them.
Then there’s paid placements. Student nurses are terribly treated, they have long hours and they’re not even paid for it. Postgrad teaching students are doing tutorials with some being paid while some aren’t, again tying back to communication. It depends on who you’re teaching, what your scholarship’s like and what department’s school you teach in whether you get paid or not which just seems like very little consistency. There should be equal pay for equal work.
An increase in disability support funding, as a lot of the funding is allocated to different schools based on the number of students, they have who are registered with the DSS. Funds are allocated in ways that aren’t necessarily beneficial. Some schools are over-resourced, some under-resourced, so it would be great if there was a central port the DSS could use to allocate funds to where they see fit.
What do you think the greatest obstacle will be in your term if you were to be elected?
Time. I’ve been in positions before where it’s a one-year term, it’s amazing at how fast it goes. From the get-go, you need to start working.
I’m in a strong position to start because I know the structures of the university and I’m very aware of all the work that the SU has done. I’ve talked to other officers such as the Disability Officer, the International Officer, I’ve talked to Clodagh and to Emma Sweeney who was Education Officer the year before. So, I’m working on the shoulders on the people who come before me.
I’m also going to segment my year; I’ll do most of my research and planning in the summer and things I can do like upgrading the IT Building. If I can work it right and manage my time, particularly in the summer, I can get these things over the line and hit the ground running.
What is something you hope to carry on from the previous officer if elected?
One thing that a lot of students aren’t aware of is a strategic plan on education by the university. Clodagh worked with it alongside Roisin, and its first stage of implementation will be next year. It focuses on peer learning, and I was a CEÍM leader last year, so I’m aware of different methods peer-to-peer learning. I’ll bring a strong perspective to that. There’s points in my manifesto that will tie to that plan and into what Clodagh has been working on this year so I can pick it up where it left off.
Finally, why do you think people should vote for you?
I know what I’m going to be doing from day one. My manifesto is beefed out with a strategic approach and it’s not just vague points.
Also, it’s that I care. I grew up with dyslexia and a speech impediment and so that was incredibly challenging for me. It was something that defined my life and was a huge barrier to education for me, and it was only through great supports that I became the person I am today. If elected, I’ll endeavour to ensure students get a quality education and reach their full potential.