Robert Sweeney

Third year economics and politics student Robert Sweeney is looking to lobby for funding, improvements to the library, and wider careers fairs in his campaign for Education officer.[br]ROBERT Sweeney is a third-year Economics and Politics student and plans to use his experiences as auditor and former secretary of the Economics society for the role of Education Officer.One of the main issues Sweeney intends to tackle, if elected Education officer, is improving the university’s funding. He believes increased funding would lead to improved degrees, improving library resources, an improved Maths Support Centre and would help improve UCD’s worldwide rankings.“You come to university to get a degree at the end of the day. You want to come out with a degree from a well-ranked university.”“[To have] properly-funded degrees [we need] the government coming in and giving the level of funding needed to keep education going and progressing. You’ve got the government promising €100 million in funding and what they gave out was €30 million [sic – the amount was actually €36.5 million]. In the average of developed countries, we see that Ireland is behind in terms of education funding.”
I would look into sequestering staff to the Maths Support Centre.
Sweeney claims he will lobby the government for increasing third-level funding and encourage students “to write to their TDs saying look education is at a critical time, we need more funding.”Providing more funding for the library is important to Sweeney. He quotes a 36% decrease in library funding and will campaign for “the university to assign more funding to the library. We’re seeing we have the funding to open up a dining club for VIP guests but not the funding for properly funded libraries”.Sweeney hopes to improve resources available for the Maths Support Centre, to combat high failure rates in maths and statistics modules. “Getting more staff, advocating for more specialised statistics staff. [If no more funding is provided] I would look into sequestering staff to the Maths Support Centre”Unlike past Education officers, and other candidates running in the current Sabbatical race, Sweeney does not plan to campaign for reduced repeat and re-sit fees. Instead he intends to focus on capping the cost of repeat fees at the current cost. “The university is not open to reducing resit and repeat fees, capping repeat fees is the best option.”To improve employment opportunities, Sweeney plans to continue running upskilling workshops. This year the SU ran a barista workshop, which Sweeney views as a success.“The barista workshop worked great this year we had 4 full classes”. He plans to continue the workshops and to add touch typing to the menu, a workshop he feels would be aimed mainly at mature students. “We’ve never had a touch-typing workshop it’s more aimed towards mature students. People [of a certain] age are used to typing and have grown up with the internet, but other people haven’t and they come to college and find it quite difficult to work word and excel. Aiding students getting through college and getting a job when they come out through touch typing workshops.”Planning for post-graduate employment opportunities, Sweeney would prefer a greater number of smaller career fairs in the relevant faculty buildings. “These big education career fairs they can be intimidating and what you get is 4 corporate law firms to the right and 5 accounting firms to the left, and it’s not that students don’t want to go into law and accounting it’s just that there are other areas available.”While Sweeney recognises that “the career centre does organise such events,” he claims that “what they do is they have one big fair in O’Reilly Hall but not faculty-based, and by faculty based I mean in your building where you can go between lectures.”
We’re seeing we have the funding to open up a dining club…but not the funding for properly funded libraries.
To combat the confusion of registration, Sweeney suggests training college officers to deal with registration issues. “I think the Tierney building would definitely partner up with us, I think they’re open to it. Then the Education officer [would] train the convenors with Tierney on how to run through registration. A lot of these things aren’t run by the programme offices. [Training college officers to] pointing students if they’re stuck in the right direction and getting though the questions that can be answered such as am I taking enough level 3/level 2 modules?”Regarding the upcoming referenda Sweeney “will lobby for whatever students decide in the referendum I don’t think my particular view on that is important because at the end of the day I will be arguing for whatever the students vote for.”Regarding re-joining USI, Sweeney believes “USI in its current form needs a lot of reform so my opinion wouldn’t be pro-joining USI because as it is it needs a lot of reforms.”