Chaired by Sam Griffin, candidates Oisin Kelly, Aaron Clogher and Lisa Craddock were present in a debate that covered a spectrum of issues relating to the position of Vice President for Education within the SU.
Lisa Craddock is a 20 year-old Education and Training student from Dublin. Currently she is the vice chairperson of the DCU dance society.
Lisa says she has experienced first-hand the many faults within the education system in DCU and believes the way courses are marketed is one of the biggest issues and needs to be tackled head on. She proposes a greater consultation between the Careers Department and Class Reps including training days for Reps who could then pass on information to students.
She also wants to improve on the feedback system and create a two-way mechanism so that lecturers can advise students, but also students can tell lecturers how they are finding classes through anonymous, monthly feedback sheets.
Another initiative Lisa has is to make lecturers available to students in exceptional circumstances whereby they are unable to make class (for example if a student was hospitalised for a long period). Lisa believes this could be achieved relatively easily with free streaming and webcams available in a lot of classrooms and even laptops.
Describing herself as a leader, Craddock believes she has the initiative and is realistic enough to be the University’s next Vice President for Education. She says she is by no means the ideal student (she says gets most of her assignments in at the last minute) but says it is precisely this that makes her more approachable than the other candidates.
In her appraisal of the outgoing Education officer Cillian Byrne, Lisa thinks he did a fantastic job and had no criticisms of the way he handled the job.
When asked how she thinks the race will finish up next Wednesday or Thursday, she thinks she will finish first, with Aaron Clogher second, Oisin Kelly third and fourth Anne Marie Tackney in fourth.
“I have a lot of initiative. I’m very realistic. I’m not the kind of person who will dream too big. I’ll always grasp within my reaches.”
Aaron Clogher is a 22 year-old final year Business student from Roscommon. He is currently co-chairman of the GAA club.
He says he has always been interested in representing people and believes Vice President for Education is the role with the most paperwork but has the most influence in helping students. From his advanced administrative roles in the GAA and various sporting bodies, he believes he has the experience and the track record to make a difference.
He considered going for the Student Union Presidency but says it is a role many people just go for the title. Clogher admits he also considered running for Welfare and says there is a lot of crossover between the two positions.
The Roscommon native says he wants to extend the SU out to students who may feel disenchanted by both it, and student politics.
He believes every year people make promises that they can’t keep and so is reluctant to say concretely what his plans are, though he has spoken to the Careers department and believes access to support services is crucial in students reaching their potential.
He is also a keen supporter of the Generation 21 scheme – a DCU initiative that aims to create ‘work-ready’ graduates – and promises this will form be a huge part of his approach to the role if successful.
Aaron also congratulated outgoing officer Cillian Byrne for his dedication to the role and had no criticisms of Byrne’s handling of the role.
If he does not win election, in five years’ time Aaron sees himself still living in Ireland. He is hopeful of finding employment somewhere in the area of sports despite the volatile economic environment.
When asked how he thinks the race will finish up next Wednesday or Thursday, he believes he will win out and said he couldn’t say how the rest of the field will finish.
“You hear people with these big ideas every year. Someone will probably say they will bring back toxic Tuesday. What the SU can do is lobby for change.”
Oisin is a 22 year-old Computer Applications Student from Wexford. He is secretary of the Drama Society.
He sees Education as one of the most important areas in the college and thinks a lot of work needs to be done to keep people in college. He thinks he could provide students with a lot of help if he did get this job. He considers Vice President for Education the most defined role of the three sabbatical positions.
One of the main things he wants to do is to develop social media into education purposes. He thinks it the fastest and most accessible means of communication but thinks the University is not utilising social media to the extent it could. Indeed, he will bring out videos and plans to have a big online presence during the campaign.
He is also a keen exponent of the Uaneen module which awards credits for extra-curricular involvement. Oisin wants to see more courses offering this module and while he knows this would not be easily achieved, he says he at least wants to try.
However he states hat a common pitfall of Student Union politics is making promises than candidates simply cannot keep.
When asked how he thinks the race will finish up next Wednesday or Thursday, he sees himself coming out on top and regards Lisa Craddock as his main rival as he believes the two are fighting for the same votes due to the strong relationship between the Drama Society and the Dance Society. This would see Clogher and Tackney battling it out for third and fourth.
“I think people should be awarded for all the great work they do in clubs and societies. When we look at what people have achieved outside of class, it gives us a much clearer picture who they are and what they’re about.”
Anne Marie Tackney
Anne Marie Tackney is treasurer of the Paranormal Soc. She was unavailable for interview but we hope to get in touch with her before the weekend.