UCDSU By-Election 2022: Entertainments Officer candidate Ciara Moroney

Image Credit: Aoife Rooney

Pharmacology student Ciara Moroney is running again for the role of Entertainments Officer

Fourth year Pharmacology student Ciara Moroney is running to be next year’s Entertainments (Ents) Officer, having lost out to the slew of Re Open Nominations wins during the executive elections. Moroney stated that she was proud of her first run, pointing out that she was close to beating RON. She believes that students voted to Re-Open Nominations due to “the issues that were raised, some were very valid...and giving more people the opportunity to do so[stand for election] which I agree with”.

Moroney stated that she has increased her focus on international students and events for Smurfit campus, such as trips around Ireland, due to feedback she received after her first run for election. She stated that she took it upon herself to talk to students when she started campaigning, and the small differences in her manifesto are based on that.

For over two years, Moroney has been a member of UCD’s Food Society, where she currently serves on the committee as auditor “I have experience in organising both online and on-campus events and, at all of our events, I’m there, present and connecting with students.” As FoodSoc auditor, Moroney has experience working alongside the students’ union (UCDSU), such as in planning for the annual Domino’s Ball. Her approach to the role of Entertainments Officer is collaborative. 

To Moroney, the most crucial duties of the Ents officer are “student connection and engagement, charity and fundraising…and working to put on events with UCDSU and sabbatical officers.” She also highlights the importance of student outreach: “You shouldn’t wait for [students] to come to you, you should go to them.”

Moroney has many plans to improve the experience of UCD students, and intends to assert her position on their behalf within UCDSU. She recognises the limits of the role, too; and has plans to utilise the role of Ents officer to combat the side effects of issues facing students through her engagement campaign. The high cost of accomodation forces many students to look off campus for housing, whereupon this distance can leave them at a social disadvantage. Moroney sheds light on the experience of commuter students, and shares her personal struggle to socialise while commuting as a first-year. “I couldn’t dream of affording to live on campus, let alone in Dublin,” she continues, “my first year was really difficult with the change from going to my school in my town to having to come to UCD everyday and meet new people there.” She mentions the importance of socialising as part of the student experience. However, her plans to achieve this are vague—a conscious decision—so as to not make “false promises.” Taking from this experience, Moroney vows to integrate students as Entertainments officer, whether they live a short walk or a bus ride away. 

Instead of completely uprooting the work done by Sarah Michalek, the current Entertainments Officer, Moroney aims to build upon many of the issues successfully tackled by her predecessors— “Continuing on from the commendable efforts of this year’s Entertainments and Welfare Officers, I’d like to carry on with the harm reduction campaign.” The issue of gender-based violence, especially on nights out, informs this campaign, and Moroney aims to combat this by informing and educating. “Information is powerful, and I believe providing students with the correct information on what occurs with drug use will allow them to make informed decisions as independent thinkers,” Moroney vows in her manifesto. She plans to achieve this in coordination with the Welfare and Campaigns officers, holding co-hosted “anti-spiking info-sessions” and first-aid training. 

Furthermore, Moroney seeks to improve inclusivity regarding the variety of UCDSU events. In her manifesto, she vows to “make sure cultures are represented by holding events which celebrate their lifestyles and traditions.” Moroney admits that drinking is a large factor in UCD Ents culture and mentions her plans to promote alcohol-free nights out, where she would encourage a healthier approach to substance use, as she aims to continue a harm-reduction campaign. In addition to inclusivity, Moroney emphasises the need for accessibility with ideas to employ a sign language interpreter at most performances, hosting events for hypersensitive students without flashing lights and loud noises, ensuring all event spaces are physically accessible. Summarising her plans for improvement within the Entertainment forum, Moroney affirms that “diversity has increased, but it can be a more common occurrence.” 

Adhering to her focus on engagement, she voices the need for improving UCDSU’s various social media platforms. “Social media is an asset,” says Moroney, highlighting the need for “promotions and giving more notice [of events].” In this manner, she reimagines her previous remark “you shouldn’t wait for [students] to come to you, you should go to them.” When asked of her concrete ideas to ensure engagement, Moroney first responds simply: “I want to put on things that students like.” She offers her ideas to announce events in a more organised manner by virtue of posting more on social media at set times. Invoking her experience as FoodSoc auditor, Moroney believes a “big reveal” is more impactful than “tidbits” revealed over time with these announcements. 

During her first campaign, Moroney stated “I want to make UCD a better community and a better place for students... especially after the last two years, I believe that students are more deserving of that now than ever” .