UCDSU By-elections 2022: Entertainments Officer Candidate Josh Kerr Hanratty

Image Credit: Aoife Rooney

Boasting experience and passion for entertainment, Josh Kerr Hanratty is running for the position of Entertainment Officer

Hanratty has a catalogue of previous positions that would aid him as Entertainment Officer (ENTS). He has spent in UCD as drag queen Celtic Tigress, describing the role as a “part-time job, nearly”. He has also served as both Public Relations Officer and Vice President for Comhairle na nÓg in Monaghan, a youth council built to give young people a say in the developing of local services and policies. He does hold SU experience – working different events as LGBT Campaign Coordinator, as well as general events. He was recently involved in a Drag Brunch in UCD, which raised around €1,600 for Empowered Family. 

Commenting on the role itself, Hanratty speaks about the events run by entertainment as “a form of escapism.” When prompted on the traditionally apolitical nature of the ENTS Officer, he expressed an openness to contribute more to the political aspect of the Union should it be a “prominent issue”, but maintains that “not a lot of people are very political, so there should be an escape for people who aren’t as political, but certainly if it was a prominent issue that the ENTS Officer should get involved in some shape or form.” 

Speaking to The University Observer, he maintains that diversity is central to his approach as ENTS Officer. Commenting on the current level of diversity seen in UCDSUENTS events, he expressed an interesting in holding “more events for people of different ethnicities, for different races and cultural beliefs as well.” Part of this would entail getting more involved with “different societies and backgrounds” to gauge what would be appropriate. The aim would be to hold a different array of events, noting that “it doesn’t have to be, say, the nightclub style of events.” 

Hanratty’s manifesto for the role holds a particular focus on five key areas. This includes the introduction of the Just a Minute (JAM) cards to campus, alongside the implementation of training for staff and accessible events held for JAM card users. The manifesto also points to the expansion of events held to make the Irish language more accessible, an increased engagement from Agricultural students, an anti-spiking campaign aimed to make UCD a safer environment, and events surrounding safe sex and charity. 

Relating to JAM cards, the aim is to employ training for SU Staff, with the intent of expanding this to other staff around campus. 

Events backing the Irish language will work in conjunction with UCD Gaeltacht as well as the Irish Officer, with the aim to organise a Gaeltacht trip for students. Noting that UCD Gaeltacht offer beginner lessons, Hanratty aims to develop on this with a more “fun, interactive experience for students.” He aims for the trip to be more “college-like”, citing a previous experience in the Gaeltacht where the focus shifted from purely academical to “Irish as an everyday language” The aim is for the events to be held “Towards the end of the year, closer to the warm weather, for students of all levels able to attend.” 

Speaking on safe-sex events, he plans to work alongside the Welfare Officer in promoting a safer, more enjoyable sex-life around campus, but has a particular focus on addressing the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS positive people., citing this as something he is “passionate about” and would take on himself. He referenced Poz Vibe, a podcast aimed at people who are living with HIV, as a group he would explore the possibility of holding an event with.

Hanratty hopes to start an Anti-Spiking Campaign to address the issue, which he says “cannot evolve and continue.” As part of the campaign, he earmarks workshops discussing the signs of spiking and how you can protect your friends on a night out as possible events that will make up the campaign. Also mentioned was the possibility of lobbying for stricter legislation surrounding spiking. 

When discussing the possibility of large events, he recognised that there was a “hunger” to run a RAG Week among students, but noted of logistical concerns with running such an events over one week. Rather, he wishes to approach this on a more spread-out basis, commenting that holding it all at one time “wouldn’t be as successful.” He pointed to the possibility of a Euphoria dress-code ball as a possible idea.  In relation to charity events, he did not want to list a particular charity without further research, but hopes to work alongside LGBTQ+ or HIV/AIDS organisations in some capacity. 

Throughout his points, Hanratty maintains a clear intention to bring a sense of inclusivity and accessibility to the work carried out by the ENTS Officer.