Three UCC graduates were elected to the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Executive at USI’s annual Congress. Annie Hoey, Daniel Waugh & Cian Power, who all served on the national union last year, sought re-election this year: Ms.Hoey, having been the Vice-President for Equality & Citizenship for the last two years, ran for the position of President; Mr.Waugh ran for a second term as VP for Campaigns and Mr. Power, serving as VP for Southern Area for a year, ran for VP for Welfare. All positions available on USI Officer Board were contested by only one candidate with the exception of Welfare, which was contested by Mr.Power and current USI VP for Welfare Aoife Ní Shúilleabháin.
All of the UCC alumni candidates were very involved in student life: Ms.Hoey, former LGBT Society auditor, was Deputy President & Campaigns Officer of UCC Students’ Union; Mr.Waugh, former Live Music Society auditor, was Public Relations Officer of the UCC Societies Guild; and Mr.Power, former Sofia Society Auditor, was UCC SU CACSSS Rep & Welfare Officer.
The elections followed months of campaigning & hustings, with candidates vying for votes from colleges around the country. Each college has a certain number of votes based on the size of student population; who these votes go to is typically decided at a hustings at the university’s student council, with appointed delegates being mandated to carry out these votes on behalf of the college. UCC Student Council voted on March 16th to support all candidates who were alumni.
Ms.Hoey received 181 votes, with 26 votes going to Re-Open Nominations (RON) and Mr.Waugh received 187 votes, with 19 votes going to RON. Being the only election contested the VP Welfare election was the closest. Despite being the incumbent Officer re-running for their position Ms.Ní Shúilleabháin narrowly lost out to Mr.Power by 97 votes to 106 (4 votes going to RON). This result surprised many, as it is usually believed that it’s a disadvantage to run for a general officer position as a regional officer, especially in the context of last year’s USI elections where outgoing USI VP for Southern Area Martin Lynch failing to be elected VP for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance (AAQA) against Jack Leahy, who wasn’t on USI Officer Board at the time. In a post on his campaign Facebook page Mr.Power was incredibly grateful from the support he received over the years from class reps & officers.
Also elected at USI Congress was Jack Leahy (Trinity College Dublin; 189 votes for, 18 RONs), who was re-elected as VP for AAQA. Síona Ní Cahill (NUI Maynooth;197 votes for, 10 RONs) was elected to succeed Ms.Hoey as VP for Equality & Citizenship. Maria Schäler, Niamh Murtagh & Michael Kerrigan were elected as VP for Irish Language, VP for Southern Region & VP for Border, Midlands & Western (BMW) Region respectively. This Officerboard will take over from the current Officers in July. This will be the last year Ms.Hoey will be on Officerboard, as you can only serve three cumulative years on USI Officerboard.