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Elections for Auditor of the Literary and Historical (L&H) Society will take place earlier than initially expected, with members taking to the polls this coming Thursday, March 9th.

Last Wednesday, following the yearly tradition of prospective candidates for auditor running around the main UCD pond, nominations for auditor took place. Aisling Tully and James Brandon announced their plans to run for the position of Auditor of the 163rd session of the society.

The prospective Auditors have been heavily involved in the running of the L&H’s current session, having both served on committee in the current academic year.

Law with Politics student James Brandon played an integral role in the organising of popular society events such as the “Election Lock-In” last November as Social Secretary. His skills as an athlete also came to light when he made it over the finish line first in the annual sprint around the pond between the candidates. James’ running mates for the election are James Alkayed, who students may know as the L&H’s current PR secretary, and Ella McLoughlin.

Law with French student Aisling Tully played a monumental role in outreach in her job as Convenor of the L&H’s Junior Schools competition for schoolkids across Ireland. Tully’s name is also fresh in the minds of UCD students having won the prestigious Irish Times Debating Competition recently, and will soon embark on a tour of the USA. Aisling’s running mates for the election are Dara Keenan and Sinéad McCarthy, the L&H’s current Fellowships Officer.

Voting will take place next Thursday, with all paid members of the L&H entitled to one vote.

The winner of the election will be announced at the Annual General Meeting of the Society, open to all members, on Thursday evening. Location of the AGM is yet to be confirmed.

The newly-elected Auditor will then be handed the reigns of the 163rd committee from the current Auditor, final year Science student Donal Naylor.

Both Tully and Brandon gave statements to The University Observer for an insight into the platforms under which they are running for this position, and what they feel makes their campaigns stand out.

 

Aisling Tully; Law with French Law Student

The main aim of our campaign is to turn the L&H into a society that facilitates for all students in campus and focuses on giving our members the skills and opportunities they joined for; things like being able to address a crowd, being able to do well in an interview and getting a chance to meet other students who aren’t doing the same degree as them.

We want to get back in touch with all of our members by organising events they want to go to like an Oscars night black tie debate, dinner and sleep in and an L&H Freshers masquerade ball but also smaller things like mystery tours and cable tie pub crawls things that students couldn’t organise themselves, things that are different. We want a wider range of guests to suit more people’s taste, sports stars and Nobel Prize winners as well as actors and politicians. We want to introduce round table discussions where we give 5 to 10 minutes of context and then let students in attendance discuss with the people at their table what their opinion is on the issue. We want to come back to the H in L&H and organise trips to historical sites like the rock of Cashel, the blarney stone and Kilkenny castle followed by an overnight stay and a chance to go out in the biggest nearby city.

Ultimately we think the L&H isn’t working enough for its members, every member should have at least one event a year that they really want to go to whether it’s a debate, a guest, a formal event a night out or a trip and every member should feel like the L&H is supporting them at developing skills and preparing them for professional life whether that be through interview workshops, class presentation workshops, round table discussions or public speaking workshops.

If you are a member of the L&H for the €2 you pay you deserve to be listened to. You don’t have to go to three events a week to matter to the L&H. We want to change the direction of the L&H and turn into a society for all the students in UCD and a forum for all the things we care about.

 

James; Law with Politics Student

Accessibility is our campaign in a word. The greatest challenge the L&H faces today, bar none, is engagement with its membership. An elitist image and disconnect from the wants of our members has left us in a situation where the largest society on campus still struggles for attendance at all of our events. We want to do all we can to fix this image, and bring UCD’s student society back into the hands of the students.

The first way we are going to do this is through our House Debates, the bread and butter of the society. It is a fundamental problem that current House Debate motions are decided on by just 25 members of committee, with no input from the student body as a whole. We want to change this, so that any student with a motion to debate can put it forward, have it voted on by our entire membership using our Facebook, with the most popular ideas filling the chamber every Wednesday.

Secondly is in terms of Inclusion. The society’s elitist image can often extend to the point where people look at it and see an old boy’s club. This needs to change. To ensure a strong drive in our committee next year to create as inclusive a platform as possible, we are going to create a sub-committee dedicated exclusively to this area. From all-female panels in House Debates to a range of new and interesting guests, we have full confidence that this committee will get the job done. Our inclusion platform will culminate in an L&H organised ‘Women’s Week’, a week where we will work with other societies to spread this concept campus-wide.

Thirdly we need to put an end to the idea that a debating society is only relevant to certain faculties. We are going to bring the society to every single faculty we can by running events such as public speaking and speech-writing workshops, skills that are applicable to everyone, regardless of course. The L&H is home to a vast amount of talented speakers, it’s time to put that to use.

Through these new policies, and many more, we hope to drive the idea home that regardless of who you are, the L&H is your society.

 

 

Brandon and Tully at the annual race for L&H Auditor

Tully and Brandon at the annual race around UCD Pond for L&H Auditor nomination

 

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