C&C Race - Analysis

THE role of campaigns and communication officer is multi-faceted. C&C has to act as a bridge between the student body and the SU, while also organising campaigns – both nationally and on-campus – and spearheading Ents campaigns.More often that not since the return of C&C, it often leans heavily on the Ents side of things. This is very clear with two candidates in particular: Zak Brophy and Cóilín Garvey.There is not much elaboration on consent or issues like Repeal on Brophy’s manifesto, and while social issues are not the whole role, his manifesto is much more focused on Ents, communication, and “SU Hubs.”Some of Brophy’s ideas sound better than others. His drug campaign – which would see him reach out to the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Ireland – is a solid one, and he spent a fair portion of his interview on the drug issue. He stated he would prefer waiting until getting the role before reaching out to SSDP, but communicating with them before putting it on a manifesto is the more sensible approach.Other ideas are less concrete. Brophy’s SU Hubs idea sounds more akin to simply putting SU logos on seating areas in Newman or the Science block rather than “hubs for student and union interaction.” While other candidates propose bringing their ideas straight to students as well, Brophy’s idea of having permanent hubs appears to be overkill. Brophy is also quite vague when it comes to “starting a conversation” with SUSI. While helping welfare grant aid for students is a positive idea, it may be beyond the scope of his potential position.Cóilín Garvey may not be as involved in Ents as Brophy, he takes on an even bigger Ents emphasis. Indeed, much of his interview concentrated on events and his time as a Red Bull representative. While students would undoubtedly love big varied events on campus, the Union is already running at a deficit as is, and a bigger events calendar is a massive drain on resources.Garvey’s concentration on more events is admirable, but will likely be scuppered by the realities of finance. His idea of a SU pop up event is a better idea, and appears to be a more manageable version of Brophy’s SU hubs. Communication was Garvey’s strong point, as he also stressed a stronger social media presence and clearer SU event schedule.Ulitmately, Garvey presented very little in regards to social issues; with his answers on topics like running consent or Repeal campaigns becoming significantly shorter than those regarding events. Garvey has no plans to campaign for the return of consent classes, and his views on topics like fees or the 8th were simply whatever students want.Away from Garvey and Brophy, Vikki Banach provides the most seasoned SU name on the list. Banach has a wide range of campaigns on her manifesto. She touches on a wide array of topics, including a number that other candidates did not mention such as continuing the SU’s support and information campaign for the anti-HIV drug PrEP as well as a return of a Diversity Week on campus.Banach is also looking to start a scholarship scheme for refugees, though that will certainly be a difficult task. Banach looks to bring back consent workshops. While not making them mandatory, she looks to shift the focus to first years by getting it up and running during orientation week.One of the ways Banach looks to bridge the gap to students is with her “Pints with the Pres” scheme. Echoed by all the candidates, it’s clear closing the gap between students the SU is an eternal struggle. Whether the president, or overall sabbat crew, are okay with Banach’s idea is not clear, but the idea is nothing if not unique. Banach also wants to redesign the SU website, but the site itself was redesigned already a few years ago, so it’s uncertain whether the budget will allow for a redesign that would likely cost a couple of thousand.The final candidate is Barry Murphy, who offers what is likely the most unique campaign of the four candidates. Murphy – an environmental biologist – is looking for the SU to improve it’s environmental awareness. His ideas include things like a car pooling scheme, as well as a concentrated effort to get recycle bins on campaigns, something that this year’s environmental co-ordinator has been working on.Like Banach, Murphy emphasis both the social as well as Ents side of the role. Murphy, of all the candidates, was very honest about his own shortcomings. He says he will look to his wider team when it comes to issues he is not well-versed in, such as consent. This approach is relatively refreshing and it acknowledges something that few other candidates do, in that the SU is a team, and not a series of individuals.His emphasis on environmentalism may not appeal to everyone, but it is unique, and gives himself some individuality compared to other candidates. Like the presidential race, it is tough to see where this race will end up.