Sarah Michalek is a 21 year old, currently completing a masters course in psychological science. She is the lone candidate running in the race for Entertainments Officer. She is currently the Mental Health Coordinator for the Students’ Union, and was previously the auditor of UCD Hispanic Society.
Michalek believes that the most important aspect of the role of Entertainments officer is “essentially putting on events and helping out the other college officers, class reps, sabbats, campaign coordinators, anyone in the SU put on events. Advising students on anything from nights out to trips abroad. The ents officer has a say in the charities chosen for the year and is in charge of putting on events to raise money for those charities.” While she has no issues with either of the charities the SU supported this year, she would like to see one of the homeless charities included next year.
She thinks that these past and current roles have prepared her for the job of Entertainments officer, telling The University Observer “ I would have put on a lot of events, whether they were weekly coffee mornings or monthly events like tapas nights, or salsa lessons. I also would have organised the trip to Barcelona which was a large group trip. This year I would have put on a lot of events as well as mental health coordinator such as World Mental Health Day. So I think I have experience with putting on events.”
On building student engagement, Michalek says that the SU need to “just try and really go out into the different buildings, because a lot of the events put on by the SU are in the student centre, which I’m sure will continue as well, because it is where the Students’ Union is based, but I think going out and putting on events in the different buildings, the way the graduate officer goes out to Smurfit, would engage with students more, the ones that would not normally pass by the student centre.”
She is optimistic about the online voting system that is in the process of being brought in, saying that “it could potentially end up with more student involvement, potentially, we haven’t done it before, but, in terms of getting people to actually go and vote, we all know that during the two voting days people are just bombarded by canvassers. I think people might be more inclined to do it as it would be easier for them.” She believes that it should be used in future elections, alongside in person voting.
If elected she says she will take an active role in all aspects of Student Union affairs, stating that she “will be engaging in anything that is going on, and I will be helping out at all the events. I think a lot of the sabbatical roles overlap and it’s about teamwork and helping each other out. I’ll absolutely be getting involved in everything.”
We spoke to Sarah on her manifesto, asking about the competitions she would run if elected, and she confirmed that she has already spoken to various organisations and groups, such as Drink and Draw and Coppers about them.
She sees the role as being one that could be more than it currently is, saying that she would be open to helping class reps and college officers, as well as everyday students, in organising nights out and trips abroad. She believes that given that the role is a full time one, she will have time for this kind of one-on-one time with students. Other aspects of her manifesto are less clear, such as the idea for portable phone and laptop chargers, which she has yet to cost. She also wants students to have more of a say in what sort of events and workshops the SU run, and let them vote for it on the Enstagram and other platforms.
Michalek has had experience in running events in other capacities, and aims to build on this in the role of Entertainments Officer. She has a strong grasp of what the role entails, having been involved with the SU previously. Given that the race is uncontested, it appears that Michalek will be the next Entertainments Officer for the Students’ Union.