Cian Rynne, a Senior Sophister Human Genetics student and the founder of the popular Facebook group Trinity College Doggos, is one of three candidates running for the Communications and Marketing position this year. He sat down with Trinity News to discuss his plans for the role if elected.
Rynne acknowledges that when it comes to relevant job experience, he may not be the typical candidate for an SU sabbatical position due to his lack of involvement in the Students’ Union thus far. He defends the absence of SU-specific qualifications on his CV, however, by evoking the words of Barack Obama: “If experience has gotten us to this point, then maybe it doesn’t count for too much.”
Discussing his initial thoughts on running for the Communications and Marketing position, Rynne admits that it may not have been an entirely serious decision on his part at first. He feels, however, that his campaign has evolved quickly and now he plans to make a “proper go at it”. His somewhat low-key campaign plan includes the formation of a smaller campaign team than those seen in previous years. He also plans to distribute less flyers and posters than candidates typically do, hoping his team can be more environmentally friendly.
Elaborating on his campaign promises, Rynne discussed his plan for the creation of internship and experience listings, pointing out that there is a “lack of outside experience and internships” for students studying in college. Rynne argues that College only provides assistance in finding internships to business students, something which he would like to see change.
To assist students find opportunities, Rynne wants to see the Communications and Marketing Officer and the SU “liaising with the careers service more effectively”. Having been on an internship himself during the summer, he learned that some companies are more willing to take on students than many would think, as opportunities are not being made visible enough for students. He hopes to establish new relationships between College and various companies, while raising student awareness of possible internships and programmes.
“It’s just a matter of reaching out to more tech and science industries, asking if they are prepared to take on students, because especially in this day and age everyone has a degree and you need some form of experience on your CV to succeed,” he said.
If elected, Rynne also wants to digitise the Students’ Union diary. Rynne believes the hard copy version of the diary is outdated and often thrown out or not looked at by students. He believes that by making the diary entirely digital, students would be able to access it all year round. A digital diary would also allow for expansion and improvement throughout the year when necessary. “It would be more environmentally stable and also financially to just make it entirely digital,” Rynne added.
Focused on sustainability and cost-saving, Rynne discussed the current financial state of the SU. The diary is just one area where he hopes to see cutbacks, he said. Rynne feels that the current level of financial support given SU publications, including the University Times, is too high. “Looking at the publications budget, it’s pretty clear that at moment TCDSU is overspending significantly and publications is perhaps an area where there should be some cutbacks or arrangements to make things more effective,” he argued.
Rynne added that although it is not mentioned in his campaign manifesto, he would like “to look into the possibility of re-amalgamating the positions of Communications and Marketing Officer and the Editor of the University Times”. He says decisions to create new positions like this are responsible for the Student Unions’ accounts “being in the red the last three years”.
He also proposes the introduction of a “hacks guide”. As he describes it, this would be “a little advice book”. He believes that many Junior Fresh students don’t know many simple things that would make their lives easier, such as the location of certain amenities on campus. “It’s only by the time you’re in third or fourth year [that] you actually learn how to college [sic]. It would be handy if in first year you knew where is a good place to go and eat your lunch, where can you go to print stuff.”
When questioned about social media posts he has shared in that past that indicates a personal support for far-right politicians such as Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, Rynne said: “My own views towards those politicians is not that of extreme positivity.” He did however admit that it was only when politicians such as Nigel Farage started to question how political institutions run and Britain’s membership of the European Union that he became more engaged with politics.
“Nigel Farage just sort of started my political awakening, I don’t think I was very engaged with politics until I started watching some videos of stuff he said and it was then I started caring about what is the European Union and things like that.”
Closing out the interview, Rynne discussed his Facebook group Trinity College Doggos which, he said, has allowed him to become more familiar with editing software and communicating with a community online. Students have told him of the group’s positive effect on their mental health and Rynne hopes to use the sabbatical position in a similar way. He also states that his campaign promise to make Trinity more dog-friendly is legitimate, remarking that “many people love dogs” and arguing that the removal of the ban on canines will make the college more friendly. He admitted that although it gives him some useful experience for the position of Communications and Marketing Officer, his status as creator and admin of the page alone is not enough to deserve the sabbatical position. Looking beyond his doggos Facebook group, Rynne hopes his cost-effective and informative plans will secure him the Students’ Union role.