The College Officer Elections: Meet your Candidates

Image Credit: Sinéad Mohan

A reflection of the Sabbatical Officer race, many of the College Officer positions are uncontested, with some candidates not having published manifestos on social media at the time of publication - just days before the Students’ Union elections.

In addition to the Sabbatical Officer Elections on March 31st and April 1st, there are eight non sabbatical executive seats up for grabs. These are the 8 College Officers representing 7 colleges, and the Oifigeach na Gaeilge (Irish Language Officer).  Only two of the eight positions are contested, those of Science College Officer and the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) College Officer, and there is no candidate in the running to become the new Business College Officer. This state of affairs is not unprecedented as during the 2020 Student Union elections the role of College Officer for both Business and Health Sciences went uncontested, with only one candidate in the running in each instance.

All eight of the candidates have a presence on social media, with the preference being for Instagram above all other platforms, although the amount of content put out on each one varies widely, with Meserah Abdullah (Architecture and Engineering) having zero posts in comparison to Shane Lynch’s (AHSS) ten. It is worth noting that Abdullah is running unopposed to become the Architecture and Engineering College Officer, while Lynch has set his cap for one of the only two contested races, which may account for the disparity, however, Maria Wall (Agriculture, Food, and Veterinary), Louise Costello (Health Science), and Eoin Martin (Law) are similarly without competition but have all posted information on their respective campaigns.

Maria Wall is a Dairy Business student at the School of Agriculture and has also served as a Class Representative. One of her key goals as a college officer is to create a dedicated page for UCD students that will aid them in making sustainable choices about their food consumption "by providing information on farm produce and husbandry practices", which she writes are not "as readily available as they should be". Wall describes herself on her page as "highly motivated" and the "ideal candidate for AFV college officer".

Louise Costello is a first-year student of Biomedical Health and Life Sciences who "strongly believe[s] [they’ll] make a big difference in the School of Health Sciences". She lists three main aims on her page: increased engagement with the Health Sciences Instagram page, continued support of campaigns pertaining to health students (such as fees freezing), and improving communication between Class Reps from different years and courses.

Eoin Martin, a twenty-one-year-old student of Law hailing from County Clare, is the hopeful candidate for the school’s Law College Officer position. He is running unopposed, and at time of writing has not shared his manifesto on social media. His manifesto includes points on student resources such as the library, Sutherland functional issues such as increasing the downstairs seating, at distance learning issues such as maintaining recorded lectures, as well as promises to be accessible to his constituents such as operating an Instagram page. 

The position for the School of Science’s College Officer is being contested by Billy Egan and Eoin Fagan. Egan’s manifesto highlights issues such as the availability of recycling and compost bins on campus, organising opportunities for science students to interact with "industry experts across different scientific fields" via Q&A sessions and talks, arranging Freshers events, "establishing a science book exchange", and designating budget towards vouchers for science textbooks, as well as reinstalling microwaves in the science building. Fagan, a third-year Experimental Physics student, has made lobbying for better student facilities in the O’Brien building (including microwaves), "more funding for the student health services", reading weeks for science, computer science, and BAFS, as well as "driv[ing] class rep recruitment with the aim of filling the traditionally hard to fill spots" key points of his manifesto. Fagan has served as a Class Representative these past two years, in addition to sitting on "student-staff forums, teaching and learning forums and the programme board for science".

Of the seven colleges represented in this election, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is the only one to have two seats available. The race for these places consists of Ronan Cloney, Shane Lynch, and Miranda Bauer. If elected, Cloney intends to "[focus] heavily on the community aspect of AHSS" and hopes to bring up levels of student engagement with the SU by hosting a range of events. He also emphasises the importance of communication in his manifesto, and wants "students to clearly see the work being done by their Class Reps [and] College Officers and know that their votes are being put to use in their best interest!" He is also concerned with standards of online-learning and navigating the transition back to in-person learning once such an issue becomes relevant. Lynch, who is running with the slogan "Our voice, your vote", is committed to sustainability, social enhancement, and career enhancement for AHSS students. In addition, he hopes to use the position as College Officer to lobby for improvements to the Newman Building; such as improved WiFi service, an increase in seating, and an increase in available plug sockets. He has committed to lobbying building management to ensure the Newman Building is entirely wheelchair accessible. Bauer’s manifesto is divided into four points: Diversity, visibility and career help, advocating for separate college officers for AHSS, and student supports and office hours. She wants "to know the students from a grassroots level" and promises "to be there whenever students feel that they’re not being listened to or whenever they see themselves struggling, either mentally or academically". Bauer has also made available a survey for AHSS students, requesting input on things that could improve their experience at UCD.

Sole Oifigeach na Gaeilge candidate, Louise Mahon, is a Law with Irish student. With experience both as the Cumann Gaelach secretary and a residential scholar in Gaeltacht UCD, Mahon hopes to make “almost every service and aspect of campus to be bilingual”. Her manifesto itself is short, with only three points: “Ensuring services on campus are available through Irish”, “Starting discussions about modules being taught through Irish in various disciplines across campus”, and “Publicising existing Irish services in UCD more among students”

Voting for College Officers and the Oifigeach na Gaeilge will run in conjunction with the race for Sabbatical Officers, and commences on the 31st of March at 9:00 and ends on the 1st of April at 21:00.