By Shannon Sweeney
The Jean Monet theatre hosted the Student Union election hustings last night.
The event, chaired by Declan Mills, was an opportunity for students find out about the candidates for the Student Life offices before voting day.
Welfare candidate Serena Hare says it’s important for students to use their vote.
“Whoever you vote for, it’s your choice but make sure you use your voice, your vote, make sure you are heard this Thursday,” she said.
Jack Scanlon and Leo Mckenna are running for President.
Serena Hare and Susan Sheehan are running for Welfare officer.
Colin Lynch is currently running unopposed for Academic Officer, but students can vote to reopen nominations.
Among the issues put forward by the candidates in their manifestos were funding for the counselling service, accessibility, sensible drug policies, accommodation charges, inclusion, and student engagement.
Some of the candidates intend to continue the campaigns started by this year’s Student Life officers namely the campaigns against Direct Provision and Sexual harassment on campus.
“I endeavour to ensure that every student who passes those flagpoles feels a sense of belonging,” said Jack Scanlon.
Some campaign promises have been controversial; one such promise was by Welfare candidate Susan Sheehan
Susan has promised to introduce take-home drug testing kits, which while she says they won’t stop students taking drugs, they will make it safer when they do.
The kits will help students to make sure that what drugs they buy are what they are taking.
“I have heard horror stories of people not getting what they bought, and that has led to health problems,” she said.
Students also had the opportunity to question the candidates about issues on campus.
The candidates were asked recent rebranding of the student union to UL Student Life.
Most candidates were positive about the rebranding, saying that it was a more inclusive name that better represents all that the organisation does.
However, Presidential Candidate Leo McKenna says the money could have been spent elsewhere.
“I have had my ups and downs with the rebrand, it was a lot of money that could have gone elsewhere, like the counselling service,” he said.
The candidates were all concerned about the level of student engagement with Student Life.
When asked how they might tackle the problem, Academic candidate Colin Lynch said:
“We need to get out there and ask, simple as.”
Voting will take place this Thursday online and in polling stations in the Student Centre and the Kemmy Business School Library.