James Cunningham has been elected as the next Welfare Officer of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU). He was the only candidate running for the position this year. He received 84% of the vote, or 2,935 votes. 560 students, or 16%, voted to re-open nominations (RON).
The total vote count was 3,688, with 193 spoiled votes, leaving a total of 3,495 valid votes.
Cunningham ran on a five-pronged platform of engagement, harm reduction, consent, wellbeing, and student finances. This was the first time in several years that the Welfare position was uncontested. In the last two years, there were five and four candidates respectively.
The results of a Trinity News poll conducted last week predicted a win for Cunningham. He gained a 76% share of votes, with 16% citing a preference for RON.
The Junior Sophister Politics and Economics student from Belfast plans to expand the welfare committee, alongside bringing consent workshops to campus. He also hopes to run an information campaign in relation to student poverty and drug harm reduction. Cunningham also promised to implement a food token system in the SU Cafe for students suffering from financial hardship.
Cunningham will “highlight access to other services” to reduce strain on the College Health Service and indicated that Niteline and S2S mentors were alternatives to counseling which could be consulted more.
Engagement, a central point of Cunningham’s campaign was a prominent theme in this year’s election. Cunningham mentioned, during hustings, his desire to promote welfare in college outside of campaign weeks. Cunningham said it is simply a case of “putting more effort in” to increase student participation in the SU. In particular, Cunningham will increase the variety of welfare events.
Throughout his campaign, Cunningham has emphasised his passion for the role and his commitment to helping Trinity students.
Cunningham was last year’s JCR Welfare Officer in Trinity Hall and served as the Halls’ Representative on the SU Welfare committee. This year he served on the same committee as volunteer coordinator.
He was also the former campaign manager to Laura Grady, last year’s runner up to current Welfare Officer Damien McClean.