Final Year BSc Physics with Astronomy and Space Science student Ryan Corley is one of the two candidates for the C & E Officer position, the only contested role in this year's Student Union election. He is the current Science College Officer and the previous year's Science Class Rep.
Corley's manifesto is grounded on personal experience and a passion for focusing on engaging with students of all disciplines on campus, especially with those from schools who feel underrepresented by the Student's Union. Solidarity is one of his big three goals if elected to the role, and he acknowledged that more work needs to be done to make the Union more easily accessible to students. He noted that the university is growing its student population at an outstanding speed. Yet, students tend to go through their degrees associating with the same friend group distancing themselves from the SU and other peers. He hopes to unite students by hosting weekly coffee mornings with the SU officers to create an informal yet safe environment for students to approach and get to know their sabbatical team.
Corley praised the work of the current SU team over the past year while emphasising that more work is needed when it comes to gathering general student opinion, which he believes needs to be put to the students. He plans to conduct a university-wide survey to determine what students need and want and how the SU can assist them, from more infrastructure to determining the source of their academic challenges. Corley believes that if the survey is successful, it will benefit not only this upcoming academic year but also the Union for years after.
Corley aims to have final assignments and exams weigh at most 70% of a module if elected
When asked if he would make any changes to the Union's HR management towards its employees, both corridor and shop staff, Corley admitted that he did not have enough knowledge on how the SU staff are treated and that he believes it is the role of the SU's president, not the C&E officer, to handle that aspect of things. He did, however, advocate that the SU shop staff be paid a living wage rather than a minimum one, and he was eager to maintain that practice.
Corley met with TCD's Stem Officer this year to discuss their assessment to gather information on how competitor universities assess their students to determine whether their review seemed fairer than UCD students'; he discovered that the colleges conduct examinations quite differently. Corley aims to have final assignments and exams weigh at most 70% of a module if elected, and has already begun working towards this goal as College Officer. Corley was passionate about the USI referendum since he believes that if our SU rejoined USI, we would have more opportunities to connect with officers from other universities to bounce ideas off of and that USI would make these communications more accessible as well as provide extra training for class reps, college officers, and the sabbatical team.
Another focus of Coreley's manifesto is to build upon the class rep training framework. He wants to expand the training by allowing them to sit on boards and expand the ones they are entitled to sit on, as well as enabling them to develop their social media skills by encouraging them to participate in social media takeovers. Another critical element regarding class reps is that Corley wants to provide more training on drafting mandates, as he believes that sabbaticals typically bring forward mandates.
I know how students feel; I have been there myself
Corley expressed his outrage when attending protests organised by the Cost of Living Coalition because he has experienced the consequences of the housing and living crisis. He told us about his homelessness experience for the first five weeks of the academic year while looking for affordable and adequate housing. He is horrified by the situation and realises he is not alone: "I know how students feel; I have been there myself." Corley wants to collaborate with organisations like the Cost of Living Coalition to host protests on campus to "bring it back home." He believes that students with packed schedules could participate by holding such events on campus. By working with such groups, UCD protests could gain national attention and impact nationwide.
Corley believes that this past year as Science College Officer, he has been able to interact and engage with students who have struggled with engagement, such as financial maths, engineering, and agricultural science students, and that he has been able to make them feel that the Union is not only available but approachable.
Corley remarked that in previous years, C&E officers had overlooked engagement, and if elected, he intends to bring it to the forefront by making it his top priority; "I know what it's like not to be interested in the union, and I know what it's like not to care about it."