Presidential profiles – SU elections 2015

indepth1Running for the position of SU president this year are Gabriel Adewusi, Nessan Harpur,  Conor O’Meara and Lynn Ruane.

Gabriel Adewusi is a third-year human health and diseases student, the SU’s current access officer and a volunteer with S2S. He also acts as PRO for the Afro-Caribbean Society.

He plans to use online resources to better identify the needs of students and to work with students to bring motions to council shaped around these needs, to ensure the implementation of a central complaints system for students and to create new SU kitchens, in addition to the current one, that are more accessible to EMS and HS students. Adewusi pledges also to ensure that College keeps its promises to incorporate student friendly spaces into existing buildings and new ones, to push for sabbatical officers to be allocated a space within the new building plans so as to make the officers more wheelchair accessible, and to introduce a number of ordinary seats on the SU council that can be filled by students even if they do not hold a class rep position.

Final-year student of mechanical engineering Nessan Harpur is a current class rep and previously spent two years volunteering with S2S. He works with a committee running the inaugural Trinity Film Festival and founded a branch of Engineers Without Borders in college.

If successful in his candidacy, he will prioritise the introduction of semesterisation, the improvement of the sexual and mental health campaigns within college and helping Erasmus students to integrate into Trinity life. Harpur also intends to extend the reach of the SU through a mobile app, to maintain SU support for the extension of library hours during the exam period, to seek increased funding for the Trinity Access Programme (TAP) and to ensure that the Sports Department delivers on its promises to further develop facilities.

Conor O’Meara, a third-year BESS student, is the SU’s present BESS convenor, a former president of Trinity Halls’ JCR committee and a former class rep. He previously served on the SU’s communications and campaigns committees. Outside of the SU, he was elected as the Cancer Society’s awareness officer for this year and is an active member of Trinity VDP.

O’Meara aims to expand the SU’s accommodation advisory service database through, to hire and train more staff for the service and to launch a housing support campaign week for students. Also among his goals are plans to grow and publicise the SU jobs list, to design a grinds database allowing students to tutor their peers, to create opportunities for all Health Science students to take electives and to lobby against the ban on gay men donating blood.

Lynn Ruane is a third-year PPES student. She serves as the SU’s student parent officer and works for Depaul Ireland. Employed as a drugs worker at the age of 17, she developed a programme to combat the rise of heroin use among local teenagers. She later became a community development drugs worker with Bluebell Addiction Advisory Group and initiated the women’s group, Get Active Programme, after which she was invited to speak at the National Drug Conference of Ireland. In addition, Ruane has sat on various local community boards, including the Canal Community Local Drugs Task Force and Policing Forum.

If elected, she plans to focus on making Trinity more accessible to people living in disadvantaged areas and reassess college expenditure, identifying areas where this expenditure is not proportional to the needs of students and then lobbying the college to reassign money to where it is required. The re-introduction of regular office hours for part-time SU officers, the establishment of an SU protest innovation group, a new part-time officer position for off-campus students and a campaign for the reduction or elimination of the new student charges are also included on Ruane’s agenda.

Watch all four candidates debate the key issues in this year’s presidential race:

Photo: Kevin O’Rourke