Geopolitics and Global Economy MA student and current Graduate Officer Marc Matouc is running again for Graduate Officer. His manifesto is centred around inclusion and support, meaning that, if re-elected he aims to improve the lived experience of all graduate students and researchers in any way he can.
Current Graduate Officer Marc Matouc is running for a second term ahead of this year's UCD Student Union elections. After ten months in the job, his manifesto is focused on general student well-being and community empowerment across UCD. If elected, he aims to put his experience to use to continue to include, support, and empower graduate students.
Since the last race, Matouc has acquired more managerial experience within the Student Union and is now a veteran in bringing up issues related to the welfare, social life and academic well-being of graduate students. As a past class representative and peer mentor for the Social Sciences and Law stream at the American College in Dublin, he prides himself on his ability to get ideas off the ground and in helping them come to fruition with the best interests of the student body in mind. The Smurfit Community Survey, which he ran successfully earlier this year, proves his ability to organise, and has sharpened his focus on specific areas of the graduate specific campus that need to be given attention. During his interview, Matouc demonstrated a sound understanding of structures within UCD. Since his first run, his goals and ambitions while in the role have become less reliant on ideals and more informed by the actual resources and services available on campus.
I love listening to people and I like to find out from them what’s going on in each corner of college
For Matouc, in a post-pandemic climate, graduate students need a better student atmosphere, especially in Michael Smurfit School of Business, better wages for postgraduate researchers, attainable through collaboration with the PWO, and more accessibility to on-campus mental health services and workshops for graduate students. To him, the most important thing about being a Graduate Officer remains case work. He makes it his mission to be “the first point of contact for anything relating to graduate issues whether it be for a fifty year-old PhD researcher, a masters student, or a student pursuing a graduate diploma.” In this role, he hopes to mobilise his lived experience, on who to contact and refer to in the SU and the wider UCD administration, to resolve issues any member of the graduate community might face.
Matouc believes that students should vote for him because his experience speaks for itself. Throughout his academic career he has been a peer mentor, student representative and Graduate Officer. Despite this, he notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted his student experience and made him somewhat of an outsider, which he considers to be an advantage. “I love listening to people and I like to find out from them what’s going on in each corner of college,” he says. His plan to “make up for lost time” and salvage the authentic student experience for the graduate student body, is a concern he shares with members of the student body both as a student and as a Graduate Officer. Similar to last year, he identifies the three key issues students are facing right now as the struggle to find affordable student accommodation, a deterioration of general student atmosphere and loss of a real sense of school spirit, which he plans to restore by improving connectivity between the main Belfield campus and the Smurfit campus.
It’s about having incremental events constantly occurring to keep students informed and interested
When asked about the quality of engagement with the Student Union this year he explained that it could have been improved. Specifically, he highlighted how sustained effort and mobilisation throughout the year would be more effective in bringing about change rather than having one strong moment of involvement followed by a lull in SU engagement. “It’s about having incremental events constantly occurring to keep students informed and interested in what is happening, why it matters and why they ought to contest or support it,” he says.
One of the standout points in his manifesto is related to the partnership with newly formed PWO to raise the standard of living for postgraduate researchers. He aims to do this by lobbying for better working status and a liveable income for all student researchers that reflects the amount of time and dedication spent. As of 2023, postgraduate researchers are paid 22% below minimum wage in Ireland. He has made his personal involvement in this cause transparent and hopes to develop bonds between the SU, UCD and the PWO to secure better stipends, support and cooperation on a national level. Matouc hopes that in his time as Graduate Officer he can make the sometimes difficult transition from student to fully employed adult in active society more comfortable for all.