UCDSU Election 2021: Welfare Candidate Molly Greenough

Image Credit: Áine Murphy

Greenough is a Stage 4 Law with Social Justice student and the current Mental Health Campaigns Coordinator for the Students’ Union. She is running unopposed for the role of Welfare Officer.

Greenough wants to reform the current Counselling Voucher system, circulate living & rental guides for International students in Dublin, and make consent training mandatory for all incoming first year students.

Greenough is well versed in all of the basics of the SU, and knows well the many duties and boards that the Welfare Officer sits on, such as the “ the UMT Student Experience Group, the Governing Authority, the ESHTE… also the Reopening Working group for Covid” and “… the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Board”. 

Greenough is experienced as an SU Member having been an active since she was in second year. She ran a successful election for Class Representative that year and went on to volunteer with the ENTS forum. She then decided to run for Law College Officer 2019/20 and subsequently won that election. She says above all else, what makes her most qualified for the job of Welfare Officer is her experience of some of the struggles UCD students face, saying  “the experience I’ve had in UCD, struggling with my own mental health… I feel like I really understand what it feels like to be on the other side of that table...That combined with my SU experience and the fact that I’m a very empathetic and approachable person make me the perfect candidate for the role”. When asked what she expects from the upcoming year she stated; “I’m prepared to be dealing with a lot of people that are angry, I expect people to be angry, and honestly I hope that people are because I’m very angry at the way that UCD has handled this pandemic”.

Greenough believes the most important work a Welfare Officer does is their casework and will focus on this above anything else. She wishes that UCDSU had a proper mental health professional as the first point of contact for students experiencing issues, and not just another student, but that she is okay with doing the work expected of her currently. She believes it’s important to “receive the proper training for SafeTalk and sexual assault disclosure” and that being someone that “students can talk to and listen to is the epitome of the role”. She also stated that if elected she will pursue ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) outside the current training SU Sabbatical Officers receive, and would be in favour of the re-introduction of mandatory ASIST training for all Sabbats. 

Greenough says that she sees “the benefits of re-joining the USI, there’s a lot to be said for collective bargaining power on larger student issues like accommodation and mental health… but at the same time it would be very expensive for UCDSU to re-join USI and at this point in time… I don’t think it would be fair to shift this burden onto students”. Greenough also stated that she believes there isn’t enough support amongst students to justify even discussing a referendum in great detail. 

When speaking about this year’s budget, Greenough stated that from conversations she has had with current Welfare Officer Ruairi Power, she won’t have to take money out of her budget for condoms and menstrual products as Power had already done so last year. This means she will have her full budget available to her, though the budget is reduced this year after Covid losses for the SU. She has not yet decided what exactly she is going to spend her budget on if elected, stating; “Honestly I haven’t really given it a great deal of thought". She did state that she’d like a good portion to be set aside for Niteline, the mental health support group. When asked, she stated she was unaware of SU constitutional constraints regarding funding of external organisations, which prevent Council mandating money be spent on external organisations.

When asked if she knew figures on how many students had called Niteline and SilverCloud in recent years, and whether these supports were worth the money required to promote them, she responded: “even if ten or fifteen more people found out about these supports, I think that would be beneficial”. Greenough also hopes to set up Welfare pages online, separate from the SU pages “so that people know where to go to find relevant information”. Greenough supports the re-introduction of a Housing Officer to the SU staff and would like to lobby the government for regulations for students renting in the private sector. Finally, Greenough wishes to bring in 4 week-long, mandatory once a week consent training for all 1st-year students, but did not clarify how she would go about making it mandatory.