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Students’ Union Election: Candidate Watch – Entertainments Officer

UCC’s annual Student Union Elections take place next week, with voting taking place on March 4th, 5th and 6th. This year, as part of the election registration process, candidates were asked to answer five questions for The University Express about their campaign, their manifesto and their plans were they to be elected. Each day, we will be running through the different positions and shining a light on each of the candidates. In this issue, we focus on the two candidates for the position of Entertainments Officer: Barra McLean and Sophie Sullivan.

 

Barra McLean

What made you choose to run for this position?

The position of entertainment officer for the SU is one that has always interested me and was a position I wanted to run for since learning of its existance. Being someone who lives for both having fun and entertaining others, I believe this job suits me down to the ground. Every year since first year, friends have constantly asked, even pleaded with me to go for this role, but in previous years I did not feel ready, however I now feel the time has come and I am more than ready, infact I feel I am now the perfect candidate for the job, having the confidence and natural drive for entertainment to bring this role to the next level.

If you had to choose one point from your manifesto as your main goal, what would it be?

With regards my manifesto, I believe I have sourced numerous unique ideas that would bring the excitement back to campus, but I must say my favourite point, and the one gaining much support, is my idea on a re-integration system. Having deferred a year myself in second year, I understand first hand how difficult it can be upon returning, with your previous friends progressing onto their next college year, leaving you in a classroom full of people already well acquainted. It would be my main aim to introduce a ‘Buddy System’, similar to the first-year peer support leaders. I would like to work hand in hand with each course’s entertainment reps to introduce these ‘Buddy Systems’ which would see the returning student being paired with volunteer student from the class. The volunteer student would then help the returning student to settle back into college life, be it with academic work or even just simply inviting them to class nights out. I believe that this idea would make life a lot easier and less stressful for students returning from a year out or equally an Erasmus year.

What do you think sets you apart from the other candidates for your position?

I believe my natural ability to entertain and my outgoing personality make me a unique candidate and the perfect fit for this position. My drive, determination, competitiveness and passion are other traits of mine I believe sets me far apart from other candidates as I will work tirelessly to give the students exactly what they want. I believe my realistic and very do-able manifesto is flooded with new ideas that will bring a new lease of life to the college experience, rather than imitating the same events each year.

What experience do you have that you feel will help you, if you get the position?

Being a current bar manager and having worked in a four-star hotel for nearly five years, I truly know the ins and outs of the smooth running of big events and functions. I believe this role will benefit me greatly if elected as I have also learnt fantastic organisational and people skills. I have an abundance of charity work experience which I believe would stand to me greatly. In September of last year, I independently raised over 1,000 euros for Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland through a social media campaign. I have also set up and organised another charity campaign called Dental Dashers, which is still currently ongoing. Dental Dashers is an event that will see UCC students compete in the Cork City Marathon to raise funds for UCC Dental Outreach. East Cork Rapid Response is another charitable group I have strong links to. East Cork Rapid Response provides voluntary pre-hospital emergency medical care to the East Cork community. ECRR host a number of events each year such as the Blue Light Boat Race, a big event in which I have aided in organising.

What do you feel was the SU’s greatest success this year?

The SU had a very successful year, making it difficult to pinpoint one main point, but having to chose I would have to say their vast improvements on RAG week. Co-operation between the Gardai, University, local residents and the Student Community Support saw the number of incidents more than half with only 61 on-the-spot drinking fines, down from 170 last year. While there is still a very long way to go, the SU have done a lot more than recent years in controlling and maintaining peace in and around the campus and therefore, for me, has to be their greatest achievement of the previous year and one I would love to try emulate.

 

Sophie Sullivan

What made you choose to run for this position?

Since entering the gates of UCC in 2015 I have been heavily involved in the organisation of events. In first year, I held the position of Vice Entertainments Officer on the Commerce Society which meant I was working alongside the Ents Officer on the organisation of the Comm Ball. Since then I have worked on various events throughout the years and this has sparked my interest in this field. I have always wanted to be on the Students Union in some capacity and I feel the Entertainments Officer would be the role that would suit me the best.

If you had to choose one point from your manifesto as your main goal, what would it be?

I feel very passionately about the well-being of students, especially mentally. College can be a very lonely place if you are not particularly interested in the typical social events that occur on weeks such as Freshers week and R&G Week. Not every student takes a liking towards alcohol-orientated events. I would really love to incorporate on-campus day time events into the social calendar. Events that don’t require the intake of alcohol. There are groups of students who have interests in areas such as politics, debating, science, religion etc. and I believe events need to be organised to cater for these students. Feeling isolated in college can lead to mental illness alongside feelings of social anxiety. Through the organisation of these events, I would love to help ease this potential distress for students.

What do you think sets you apart from other candidates for your position?

I believe my main strength is my experience. I have worked on events on a multitude of occasions over the past 4 years. I believe I have attained an ability to gauge the needs of the student in terms of entertainment. I have displayed my creativity and dedication towards events and I trust this will work to my advantage. Above all else, I am an extremely hard-working person who works well in a team and I will give 100% of my time and devotion to any project I lend my name to.

What experience do you have that you feel will help you, if you get the position?

Throughout the last 4 years in college I have sat on the executive committee of the Commerce Society. I have held the roles of Vice Entertainments Officer, Entertainments Officer and I currently hold the position of Chairperson. I have played a huge role in the organisation of the Comm Ball – bringing both The Magician and Denis Sulta to Rochestown Park Hotel in the last two years. I have organised events such as Bingo Loco, Fish Go Deep, DJ Welshy and Turn UCC Pink this year alone. I have worked with agencies, hotels, nightclubs and bars, through this I have built relationships which I believe will enable me to bring the entertainments here in UCC to the next level.

What do you feel was the SU’s greatest success this year?

I believe this year we had an outstanding SU. Their on-campus presence is what I maintain set them apart from previous unions. Each officer was incredibly approachable and this, above all else, is something to be admired. Alongside this, they were an extremely transparent union in terms of the work they were carrying out. Alan, Kelly, Aaron, Niamh, Faye and David did a fantastic job at representing an exceptional college.