UCDSU Election 2021: Entertainments Candidate Sarah Michalek

22-year-old Entertainments Officer and Psychological Science graduate, Sarah Michalek, is running for re-election as the sole candidate in the race. The theme of her campaign is building on what she has learned over the previous year, and collaborating with other sabbats and societies.

Sarah Michalek is a 22-year-old Psychological Science graduate. She is the current Entertainments Officer and is running for re-election as the sole candidate in the race. 

Regarding her past year as Entertainments Officer, Michalek told us that “I think I have done my best to adapt this year. I think I have still put on a number of good events, good workshops, good competitions”.

When discussing the SU’s involvement with charities, Michalek said “I think it was a wise decision to focus fundraising on one charity and focus time resources on the other charity”. As Entertainments Officer she designated monetary funding to Jigsaw while setting up a volunteer programme for Empower the Family. She considers this volunteer programme a success. Her manifesto states that she believes the charities deserve “more”. When asked about this Michalek said: “I just think there would have been more in person meetings”. She believes that in-person events would generate more fundraising.

Considering the move to online and its impact on engagement, Michalek said “I definitely do think people are saturated with computer screens. We’re on our phones even more, you have all your lectures online, if you haven’t seen your friends in a while you’re probably zooming them. So in terms of getting people to come back to the screen to come to an event that has been a barrier". She continued that she believes as the year has progressed people have accepted that “this is the way things are for now...for now this is my way of getting my entertainment”.

Michalek said that she would have liked to grow the Entstagram more. Regarding growing the Enstagram further Michalek said she would chat to the previous Entertainment Officer Thomas Monaghan, who started the account. She said that lack of in-person interaction has made it “kind of difficult to get the message across especially to first years, which is kind of where the growth mainly comes from”. Her plan for the next year is to have more collaborations with societies, keep up competitions and keep getting different departments in UCD to share things from the Enstagram. She also said she is looking into getting Ents cards moved online and using that to increase engagement. Michalek sees Instagram as “one of the more engaged with social media platforms”, she continued that she would “almost look into making a Tiktok because that also gets a lot of engagement from people”.

While Michalek is hopeful that students will return to campus, she said “I do think there will be at least some time that will be spent online”. Her plan is to continue any successful events, workshops or competitions while being more creative and innovative. 

Michalek said that “I definitely want to do something on campus and in person, and it will be great, but I don’t want to make empty promises. I just don’t know what is going to be possible yet”. Michalek has reached out to the Clubhouse and said they are open to collaborating but “they also don’t know what is going to happen yet”. She said she would definitely be open to having students perform at live events.

In her manifesto, Michalek emphasises events for next year’s second-year students who “never got the proper Ents welcome”. When asked about how she would balance this with events for incoming first-year students she said she didn't think it would be an issue. She had no specific plan for how this would be run, but plans on working with societies. 

Considering the specifics of the safe alcohol and drug use campaign she proposes, Michalek says she would brainstorm with the Welfare and C&E officers. She said that “one thing I have learned this year is that you get so much more done and more effectively when you collaborate with the other sabbats”. She hopes to “get creative with it” and not just stick to one medium. Nightline has approached Michalek regarding mental health-focused events and she is interested in working with other organisations.

When asked whether she believed she had done enough to dissuade students from meeting up or gathering in UCD residences, Michalek said that she has attempted to do this by leading by example and telling students that if they are meeting with other students do it safely and within their bubble. She thinks she has offered sufficient alternatives to keep bored students entertained.