C&C: Katie O’Dea -A candidate set on bringing back radical activism

Katie O’Dea is a final year History and Politics student running for the position of Campaigns and Communications Officer. She is running for the role because she believes there is a lot of potential, which she believes she is able to fulfill, to make a positive change to UCD students. O’Dea has been involved with the Students’ Union through her role as Environmental Campaign Coordinator, where she began the social media pages for Eco UCD and organised green week. O’Dea also collaborated with the LGBTQ+ Society and Labour, and is a former Chair of UCD Labour.

In her manifesto, O’Dea states she wants to “bring back student activism”, leaning on the belief that the Students’ Union is “an inherently political organisation.” She would like to see the SU participate more in both national campaigns and ones inside UCD such as: housing rights, Climate Action, pushing for a reduction in student fees, as well as advocating for improved counselling services, gender-neutral bathrooms and affordable on campus accommodation. She believes that next year more attention should be given to the consent campaign and identifies the possibility of a “know your rights” campaign as being of bene t to incoming students. When asked if she would support a more radical approach to student activism she agreed, but only after alternative avenues, such as dialogue, are exhausted.

She recognises the fact that as C&C Officer does not hold any board seats as a potential challenge to her activism, but plans to work closely with the SU president, who she believes would be able to bring required issues to the attention of university management. O’Dea also believes that due to the new mandate for gender equality on university boards there’s a possibility she might sit on a board.

O’Dea’s experience as the Environment Campaign Coordinator and her passion for the environment are also expressed in her plans to support her successor to the role in continuing on the work on procurement and correct use of more segregated waste facilities and supporting Climate Action. However, her intentions to make on-campus accommodation cheaper for students,will put her in an awkward position with RES, whom she wishes to work with to introduce her “Great Donate” campaign. O’Dea admits there is a “delicate balance between radical action and campaigning for certain things on-campus, actually trying to work with those same bodies… It is just something you have to take as it comes, trying to stay on the good side of people, while at the same time, potentially putting pressure on them.”

Establishing more personal relationships between the sabbatical officers is a tradition O’Dea would like to see introduced, whereby the sabbats and college of officers would bring in food to different buildings around campus and talk with students, and allowing for students to directly express their concerns and question the sabbats on their work. She believes this would facilitate dialogue between students and sabbats on other occasions as well. O’Dea doesn’t believe the lunches would require too much preparation, given the sabbatical officer’s busy schedules and potential for spontaneous engagements concerning student cases.

Despite her involvement with societies, according to her manifesto“many students rarely set foot in [the Student Centre]” and would also like to avail of the Student Centre and hold more events there.

O’Dea would like to put on a drag show during Rainbow week, which has traditionally been produced between Dramsoc and the LGBTQ+ society. She believes, that as C+C Officer, she can help improve upon previous drag shows by promoting it more, which would help achieve better results, saying “we’re always stronger when we work together.” O’Dea states that she would like to continue typical C&C functions like organising nights out and inviting guest speakers.

Looking to improve the SU’s communications by posting more videos across the SU’s social media platforms, O’Dea wishes to continue weekly Instagram videos updating students on the SU’s work and hopes to ensure that the SU’s website contains correct information to date. O’Dea believes it’s an issue it has not been updated and explains that when the site was originally made it was too technically dif cult to manage “for anyone that’s not a coding expert”. According to O’Dea, a new website should be “up and running by the summer time”. She plans on using her previous background in maintaining websites outside of UCD in her management of the page, noting that she is experienced in the more creative aspect of website upkeep than the technical, but envisages collaborating with more technically experienced SU staff.

When asked about rejoining the USI O’Dea stated that UCD left “for a reason in the rst place” but that she is open to “[engaging] in dialogue” on the topic.