New candidate for Campaigns and Engagement Eoin Fagan is a final year science student specialising in Physics. He was class representative twice and is now RAG officer on the ENTS Forum.
His manifesto aims to increase student engagement by improving communication and making the Students Council more accessible to the wider student base. “Fundamentally, the role of the C&E officer is to run campaigns which are beneficial to the students in UCD to fight for student rights and fight for the issues that are close to their hearts. And as well as that, to ensure that there's a good relationship between the Students Union Council and what we're doing with the student base on a wider scale. At the end of the day, it is supposed to be a ground up organisation, and the voice of the students are supposed to be the most important”. Fagan deems himself a veteran of UCD and UCDSU life who understands the challenges that come with being the C&E Officer: “you can’t engage with students, if you’re not running campaigns that they want, and you can’t run campaigns that they want if you’re not engaging with the students”.
Being a by-election candidate himself, Fagan believes that the reason why there were so few candidates in the first round of executive elections was related to the last two years of online classes and student engagement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Ultimately, this is probably the year where the Students Union has probably had the highest level of either lack of awareness or indifference”, however, he believes that this year was better for Students Union engagement than it could have been considering the COVID restrictions. When asked why he waited until the by-election to run for the position, Fagan said that it had more to do with timing than with lack of motivation. He had always been interested in running for a Sabbatical position, “I always said that if there was a by-election, that I’d probably throw my name into the hat. I suppose I'm not usually one to believe in a sign. But certainly, you could argue that this was probably a sign that I should consider it at least. It’s not that I didn’t think I would do a good job, I was kind of waiting to hear about my own prospects before I decided”.
His commitment to increase change is based on clear communication and going “out and about on campus” so that the Students Union has a visible presence: being more presence in orientation and encouraging people, especially with the upcoming constitutional review, as it will shift the Class Reps’ role towards policy. Additionally, Fagan believes that a good working relationship with Class Representatives “sets the foundation for a good working relationship between the union on a wider scale and the different schools”. One of the points in his manifesto is to work with the ENTS officer to integrate student issues into events. For Fagan, the main student issues at the moment are student fees, the cost of living in and around campus, and the Student Health Service. He wants to get a more “hands-on approach” by making sure that the student bases are aware of when events are happening so that they can be more engaged in actively combating issues that affects them all.
If elected, Fagan wants to work with different groups and lobby. In terms of activism, his agenda includes the following: reinvigorating the on-campus movement against rent increases and fees, working with Green Campus and Fridays for Future to keep the climate crisis on UCD’s agenda, campaigning for more and cheaper public transport, and engaging with national bodies and other students unions to fight for the removal of barriers for international students to run for election and looking for work. “International students on and off campus enrich the culture and enrich society as a whole. The fact that they can be excluded in this manner from bringing their different viewpoints to a body like the Students Union is not good enough”. When asked, however, Fagan was not aware of the current schemes under which non-EEA international students may remain in Ireland post graduation.
If elected, Fagan believes he will prioritise hard work, stating “At the end of the day, what I can 100% promise is that I will not stop working, I will be given a 110% for as much time as I possibly can. […] I think hard work is going to save the Students Union from the engagement crisis. And hard work is something I've never been afraid to put in at all times. I'm not going to sit here and promise the world to anyone, because, I mean, everyone has been around long enough to know that that's not necessarily achievable. But what I can promise is that I'm not going to stop working on on all of the things that are close to students hearts”.