Over 100 seats vacant as Class Rep election results come in

The Class Rep election results were released last week with 135 seats on the Student Union council filled. With 204 nominees, many were disappointed, though more than 100 seats were left vacant.The polling for Student Union Class Rep elections took place over two days last week, on Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd October. The successful candidates were announced on the Student Union Facebook page last Friday. Class Reps are responsible for both the academic and social lives of their peers. They organise class nights out and also act as a link between students and lecturers.While Campaign & Communications Officer Thomas Monaghan did not reach his goal of placing 150 seats, he was gratified by the campaign, saying, “personally, it has been such a fantastic and rewardable experience having the opportunity to engage with so many students and meet so many new people, it has been such a positive start to the semester.”While there was a notable turnout from first years who made up almost half of the nominees, there is a continuous lack of representation from the more advanced stages. Postgraduates were responsible for over 50 vacancies as they only filled two thirds of their available seats. Postgraduates from the colleges of Health Sciences; Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine were left entirely without representation. 85% of nominees are in third year and below. This lack of engagement by students in their final year of undergraduate study and by postgraduate students is an ongoing trend for the student council.The most popular positions this year were found across the different colleges. The College of Law, Stage 1 had the greatest demand for positions with three times more applicants than seats available. Like every year, the School of Arts and School of Social Science continues to hold the most seats on the council. This is due solely to the School’s standing as the largest constituency and does not reflect the level of interest as almost half of the seats were left vacant. The College of Engineering and Architecture has the lowest percentage of vacancies with 85% of the available seats being allocated. The only areas where there were no vacancies was in stage 1 Colleges of Architecture and Engineering, Science, and Health Sciences, and in stage 2 Colleges of Architecture and Engineering, Law, and Business.Monaghan encourages students to apply for vacant seats in their constituency, adding, “I'd encourage everyone to have a look at our Facebook and see who will be representing you for the year. They will sort your class hoodies, class trips, represent you in Union Council and help you out if you have any issues during the year. We have some vacant seats which I am going to work hard to fill over the next few weeks. If you notice a vacant spot in your class all you have to do is fill out the by-election form that's on Facebook and if you have any questions drop down to me on the Union Corridor or email campaigns@ucdsu.ie."The SU has developed a reviewed training programme for class reps, with an emphasis on communication and representation. There are hopes that this will increase the effectiveness of the class rep system and raise the standard that the representatives are held to.