The race for the position of welfare and equality officer will this year be contested by five students: Louise O’Toole, Conor Clancy, Aoife O’Brien, Muireann Montague and Liam Mulligan.
Louise O’Toole, a final-year social studies student, has completed four social work placements as part of her course. She has volunteered with S2S for several years and is the committee’s serving PRO. Her SU experience comprises of involvement in various campaign weeks and a year working as a welfare ambassador. She also taught with the Voluntary Tuition Programme during her first year.
Holding bi-weekly office hours in locations outside of the main campus, organising post-placement de-brief sessions for health science students and expanding the welfare ambassador system into a fully functioning service are some of the plans that O’Toole aims to focus on. She pledges also to build upon the SU’s landlord database system and to develop their Deal of the Week to include more diverse offers, such as discounts in pharmacies.
Final-year history student Conor Clancy is the present SU sports and exercise convenor, has worked on the TCDTalks and TCDListens welfare campaigns, along with various other SU initiatives, and has experience as a member of the SU executive forum. He is a co-founder of the Lighthouse project to facilitate meetings between off-books students and has volunteered with S2S.
Clancy intends to introduce an accommodation app that would assist Trinity students in finding term time residences and to design a Trinity taxi system allowing students to charge their taxi fares to the SU so long as they later pay the money back. He also aspires to implement an affordable menu of foods that could be purchased in the SU shop and cooked in the SU kitchen, to initiate a scheme whereby students may borrow laptops for study in the library and to design an online booking system for the college sports facilities.
Third-year computer engineering student Aoife O’Brien is currently serving as the SU’s first gender equality officer and is a member of the welfare committee and welfare team. She has previously held the positions of SU disabilities officer and class rep. Outside of the union, O’Brien has volunteered with S2S and is a co-founder ofDU Germanic Soc.
She proposes to organise clinics to assist students with medical card and student grant applications and to liaise with local hotels, hostels and B&Bs to secure emergency accommodation for students. If her campaign is successful, the delivery of fresh affordable food to halls and on-campus residences, the introduction of sexual consentworkshops as part of student orientation and self-defense classes for students will also be on her agenda.
Muireann Montague, a final-year chemistry student, has a long history of involvement in LGBT activism. She assisted with Q Soc’s campaign team as a senior freshman and was then elected two years in a row as the society’s liaison officer. Within the SU, she has worked on gender equality, the TCDTalks video and various campaign weeks and also served as secretary of the welfare committee and class rep for chemistry.
She promises to ensure that College’s commitments to student accommodation, as outlined in the strategic plan, are acted upon and to grow the SU’s digs database to provide a greater range of accommodation for students. Also among her plans will be to work with USI towards increases and greater flexibility in the student grant and student assistance fund and to develop a culture night in conjunction with international student societies.
Liam Mulligan is a third-year student of business and politics who was involved in the TCDTalks campaign and featured in the TCDListens video. He helped in the establishment of SusLiving, a charity that seeks to promote the advantages of sustainable living and environmentalism among school children and college students, and acts as PRO of Horse Racing Soc.
Among his planned initiatives are a new TCDActs campaign that will focus on educating students in how to help those suffering from mental illness, running non- judgmental awareness campaigns on substance abuse and introducing a sports week during which all students can try out the different sports that Trinity’s clubs and societies have to offer. Mulligan also hopes to make Trinity the first Irish university to receive the Amber Flag, an award that recognizes universities who have implemented sufficient resources to positively promote mental wellbeing throughout the year both on and off campus.
Watch Louise, Conor, Aoife, Muireann and Liam go head to head in our video debate:
Photo: Kevin O’Rourke