Current UCDSU Gender Equality officer Vikki Banach looks to bring in a wide array of campaigns and initiatives in her campaign for C&C.
GENDER equality officer in this year’s Students’ Union, Vikki Banach has a campaigns-oriented manifesto, differing from the other candidates whose manifestoes have stronger emphasis on communications.
Banach plans to campaign for refugees to encourage “a chance for learning” and “if we set up a scholarship we will be able to have even more refugee students in here”. She is unaware of how this could fit in with the direct provision scheme but would work on getting funding from the UCD Foundation by using the “right arguments”.
To promote diversity across campus Banach plans a colour run “with hopefully the help of Isoc to do an event to promote awareness of different cultures and inform people about what colour run might mean to people in different cultures rather than just be this fun event that we have adopted”.
To do an event to promote awareness of different cultures and inform people.
Banach also wants to run “informational campaigns” for PrEP and repeal the 8th. PrEP is a preventative treatment for HIV: “if you tell people that there is this drug and it can help you to not contract HIV, their response would be well if it wasn’t dangerous it would have been something [to] use all the time anyway”.
For Repeal the 8th, Banach believes people view it as being “either pro-life: no abortions, or pro-choice: abortions for everyone always”. Her campaign, which would make use of guest speakers, information leaflets and posters, would aim to educate people to know “there’s different stances, you don’t have to be on one side or the other, you can have different views”.
The hot topic issue of this year’s SU election has been consent. Banach attended the consent workshops run this year and “thought they were brilliant.” However she did note the low attendance; “one of the many factors why people didn’t want to go to the workshops was because they were advertised as ‘mandatory’ and people thought they were just going to be taught ‘rape is bad’.” Banach plans to introduce consent classes during orientation week to target “open-minded and enthusiastic” first years, and she wants to extend the campaign beyond just workshops.
She wants to introduce “workshops for students on how to deal with SUSI effectively”. Banach believes the application system in place discourages students from continuing applications when they are entitled to receiving grants and these workshops would help students that have difficulties with the system.
Banach plans to continue the “What’s in the Pill?” campaign to educate students about harmful drugs they may be taking. The campaign has been done in the past but Banach feels “it wasn’t big enough and loud enough. If I haven’t heard being [in council] how has any other students heard anything?”
Banach includes education on safer alcohol use on her manifesto. However, she denied that this would a part of her campaign on safer drug use, saying “I just say students like to drink and party”.
People will see that the sabbatical team are only people.
From a communications point of view Banach hopes to re-design the website, introduce SU vlogs, and begin “Pints with the Pres”.
At present, “the Union does not have the full rights for the website” which makes things hard to change. Banach proposes hiring “a local web designer to design the website so then we would have the rights to change stuff but even if we weren’t allowed to change some stuff it would be easier to get the designer in” than getting someone from the UK-based group currently in charge of the website.
Although Banach says she does not have “much experience” with vlogging, she is “actually vlogging [her] whole campaign”. She believes vlogs are a good way to keep students up-to-date with the SU activities, as they are likely “to watch a 2-minute video”.
Despite the title “Pints with the Pres” this is an activity which Banach aims to include all sabbatical officers, and would involve the SU providing vouchers for drinks and an opportunity for students to “talk with your sabbatical officers in a more relaxed atmosphere”. She believes it would help “bridge the gap between the student’s union and the students”, and make the union more approachable as “people will see that the sabbatical team are only people, they were students, they might be students when they’re done”.
Regarding the upcoming referendum on fees Banach does not think “as a union if we do get mandated, we can really do much about it. I just don’t see it is going to be very effective if it does get passed”.
Banach does not feel the SU should join USI as “we are a big college we have so many thousand voices… We don’t need to be a part of it to have a voice on a national level”.