What made you apply for this SU role?
I applied for this role because I’m passionate about the matters you get to deal with as the Welfare and Equality Officer. I’ve been an activist for mental health, housing, better drug policy, nightlife, sexual health and consent etc since I was a teenager so to advocate for these things within the student community and beyond as my job would be an absolute dream come true. This would be my dream job 100% and the only downside of it is that it’s not a permanent position!
Talk us through your manifesto and the main thing you’ll work on implementing if elected.
One of my main goals is to secure funding from NUIG for a consultant psychiatrist for our student health unit. We’re the only student health unit in the country without a consultant psychiatrist which is shocking to say the least. We’re also the only student health unit that is a separate private company and so isn’t fully funded by NUIG which means it’s responsible for generating profit in order to operate which is insane considering it’s supposed to be for students and they only charge 15€ an appointment. The entire operation needs an overhaul, the staff’s salaries haven’t been reviewed since 2010 which is damning. NUIG need to commit to properly funding the health unit if they want to be able to say they’re on par with other universities in Ireland. Hopefully this will start with securing funding directly from NUIG for a consultant psychiatrist.
Another one of my main goals would be to create a strategy to integrate consent training into the curriculum. I think most people know at this stage that it’s a big issue within universities and as a woman it’s something I experience every night I go out in Galway. It’s a tricky one to navigate as there will always be issues with consent training bringing up trauma for people, so I think if I am able to implement a strategy it will have to include a designated person that would have disclosure training that people could speak to if they needed to opt out of the consent training. I think it’s time we start educating people about this subject, 1 in 3 women in universities have been raped. It’s not okay and we can’t continue to keep doing nothing.
What do you think the greatest obstacle will be in your term if you were to be elected?
I think my greatest obstacle if elected would be to get the university management to prioritise student welfare as opposed to being just focused on profit. We’ve seen in the past couple years things like #RipOffNUIG trending multiple times and NUIG trending on twitter for various reasons usually to do with the lack of respect they afford their students. I’d love to make the management aware of the ways in which they can support students better which will cause retention of students and encourage people to apply to study here. It’s a win-win and I hope to be able to open their eyes to that.
What is something you hope to carry on from the previous officer if elected?
One thing I’d love to carry on and expand on is the current process of securing period products free of access in every bathroom on campus.
Finally, why do you think people should vote for you on March 3rd?
I think people should vote for me because I’m committed to helping students. I’m an empathetic calm person who is a good listener with a knack for advice. I think my friends and anyone who knows me could vouch for that! I think this would really help me when it comes to case work with individual students. I’m also known for being an outspoken activist and fighting for my beliefs no matter what others think of me. I think this will be really important when I’m faced with lobbying the university. I will always stand up for what is the best possible outcome for students, no matter what the university says to me. I will work for the students and the students only.