With a tight race for C&C expected, third year Barry Murphy looks to have a wider field of campaigns, including a new emphasis on eco-friendliness.
THE position of Campaigns and Communications Officer is hotly contested in this year’s election, following a trend from previous elections. Barry Murphy, a stage 3 Environmental Biology student, is one of the candidates. Since the role has been brought back, the office has been heavily involved in events on campus, but there is the other side of the role to do with campaigns.
He wants to make several of the events and the campaigns more engaging to students, encouraging them to bring their ideas to the union so that the union can help them. Engaging students seems to be an eternal problem of the Students Union, and engagement is very much at the forefront of Murphy’s agenda. He aims to get more people involved with the union and union activities organising forum days and discussion weeks advertising via the regular platforms of social media and with an emphasis on lecture addressing.
He is very complimentary of the current C&C Officer and how he has performed in his role over the past year; having been known and visible from day one and for increasing the Union presence across social media platforms.
I’m a complete outsider from the union… I saw how it’d be a breath of fresh air.
One of Barry’s campaign areas is on consent. His manifesto mentions it briefly, saying that it is “vital for student wellbeing”. He agrees with consent classes, but in a more inviting informal context, so as not to come across as condescending. He also places an emphasis on changing attitudes through education and discussion.
Murphy does not have an outline as to how this attitude campaign will occur, fully admitting that consent is not an area he would regard himself as an expert in, but also that he “would much prefer to work with people who have studied it, or who are already working on campaigns in that area and give them the outreach the student union can”.
An area where he feels more comfortable of his knowledge in is that of the environment. Murphy is very keen on doing more to reduce UCD’s carbon footprint. He has not been involved in any environmental campaigns in UCD this year however he worked with UCDVO focusing including bringing visible recycling bins onto campus and providing wash stations in SU shops so that more people will be willing to use their own flasks and beakers for coffee, reducing the amount of paper cups being used on campus.
Murphy is very keen on doing more to reduce UCD’s carbon footprint.
Despite the fact the current environment officer has had difficulty in getting recycling bins, Murphy is adamant that “it can’t be that difficult”, that the SU needs to argue better with UCD for them and be sterner in their approach.
In line with this, he would like to create a carpooling system for UCD students, to cut down on costs and unnecessary hardships for students commuting to college, especially in the case of uncertain bus routes and bad weather conditions which aren’t conducive to walking or cycling. However, he also believes that there is a need for more parking spaces in UCD and believes that some of UCD’s green spaces could be used as temporary car parks.
While Murphy is a new face to the union, it does mean that he may not understand the inner workings of the union the same way as some of his competitors. However, this is something which he feels will be an advantage rather than a hindrance to him “I’m a complete outsider from the union, I haven’t been a class rep… The more I thought, the more I saw how it’d be a breath of fresh air.”
RAG week is something which Murphy feels has died a little in UCD, and is something he would like to revitalise by having more students involved, similar to levels in UCC and NUI Galway and would like to involve celebrating successes of students, academic and sporting. While it is good to acknowledge those who may otherwise go unheralded, it is not entirely clear how celebrating student successes will contribute to raising money for whichever charities UCD decides to fundraise for.
C&C is still an evolving role, and to date each officer has brought a different angle to the position. Murphy as C&C officer would look to be a very environmentally oriented one, not necessarily at the expense of other campaigns, but it would certainly be a shift in focus.