Zak BrophyAn officer on the Ents forum, second year student Zak Brophy looks to translate his experience with Ents into the C&C role.[br]ZAK Brophy is the youngest of the candidates running for Campaigns and Communications Officer this year. The 19-year old is a stage 2 History and Politics student. To date he has been involved with the Students’ Union as a class rep in 1st year and this year as an officer on the Entertainments (Ents) Forum.One of the main ideas he outlines for improving communication is that of “SU Hubs”. According to Brophy’s manifesto these will be “chill-out areas where students and SU representatives can hang out”. Brophy feels that currently there is a “disconnect between the students and the Union” but that the SU Hubs idea could help bridge this gap and help to create “more open lines of communication”.When questioned about the possible pressures that SU hubs could put on already over-subscribed social areas, within Newman in particular, Brophy responded by saying that “there’s definitely space for more social areas around UCD. There’s spatial plans in Newman that are just terrible. There’s so much open spaces that just aren’t utilised.” However, Brophy did not detail how he would go about installing hubs in these unutilised spaces.
There’s so much open spaces that just aren’t utilised.Regarding advertising for this year’s SU campagins, he agreed that advertising for SHAG Week was poor and that he “didn’t see much about it”. He hopes to run more eye-catching campaigns next year on top of just postering. He says that, for example, walking around campus wearing sandwich boards could work well, based off previous experience.Brophy is also concerned about the dangers of drug-taking among students. He acknowledged that “a huge amount of students use drugs”. Brophy hopes to improve students’ knowledge of safe drug use by working in conjunction with the Irish branch of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an organisation that promotes discourse among students about safe drug use. They currently have chapters in a number of third-level institutions ncluding UCC and DCU.Brophy says that it would be “a campaign to encourage being safe when people are on nights out”. In response to a query that the Union might be seen as promoting students taking drugs Brophy clarifies that “the campaign isn’t condoning or condemning drug use at all. It’s just acknowledging that there is an issue with safety there and that the Union should be doing everything they can to ensure that the students are safe”. When asked if he has contacted SSDP about the campaign Brophy said that he hadn’t yet, preferring to wait until he may be elected.Brophy did not know what the Campaigns Forum consisted of, a forum he will be chairing if elected. The forum is made up of a variety of co-ordinators who focus on campaigning for particular areas of interests to students like gender equality, mental health and disability rights amongst others.Brophy mentions that he wants to improve student input into Ents events, to increase the diversity of activities happening around UCD. He plans to do this by having drop boxes where students can leave ideas, and also by holding an open forum; a day where students could come and talk to him and brainstorm ideas for events.Brophy also suggested having incentives for UCD artists and musicians to get involved with Ents, like competitions. He sees these as a “small incentive to bring together a nicer...more involved culture in UCD because there’s definitely so much talent in this college.”
Just because it’s not in my manifesto doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in working with it.While there is a large focus on Ents in Brophy’s manifesto there is no mention of issues such as the Consent or Repeal movements and any campaigns relating to them. With reference to Repeal, Brophy states that “I figured I wouldn’t include it because...the [Repeal referendum] had already passed...Just because it’s not in my manifesto doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in working with it.”Brophy came out very strongly on the pressures college fees are putting on some students and their families. He plans to set up a fee relief scheme for students who fall outside of the the threshold of the SUSI maintenance grant. He says the scheme is for those who “are outside this bracket of welfare but are still struggling”. He plans to do this by having discussions with both the Department of Education and SUSI, although he has not approached either of them about this to date.Brophy also aims to run a campaign to reduce resit fees. He feels the best way to do this is to get a seat for C&C on the governing authority in UCD in order to push for a vote on lowering resit fees. However the SU Education Officer already has a seat on the governing authority. In reaction to a suggestion that C&C run a campus-wide campaign on the issue rather than trying to get a seat on the governing authority, Brophy said: “It’s a possibility but I think two voices are better than one.”