MSU Elections Executive Candidates – Darragh Moran, VP for Clubs & Socs

Please introduce yourself?

My name is Darragh Moran. I’m repeating 2nd Year unfortunately and I’m running for the position of Vice President of Clubs, Societies and Student Engagement in the SU. I probably didn’t think about it but it probably stemmed from all the work I did in 1st Year. I did a lot of charity work and so on in school and when I came into college, I knew a lot of people in my year. In the first week of college, I went to the St. Vincent De Paul AGM and I said, ‘screw it’ I’ll run for something and I ran for Vice President and got elected. Since then I did a lot of work with St. Vincent’s De Paul in 1st Year. I was a rugby scholar in 1st Year only. I left that, I didn’t have the time, couldn’t balance it all. I was a member of the Cullacht na Gaeilge, I was just a regular member.

At the end of first year I was playing Aussie Rules with a club at home. We started up the Aussie Rules Club, we got in going. We got a few trainings in at the end of the year. It was our first year and we signed up 360-370 members which was class. Last year I was the treasurer for the Cullacht as well. At that time, I was sitting on 8 committees, so I thought Clubs and Societies was the way to go. I was on the Executive last year. I was elected the Irish Office for the Union, Oifigeach na Gaeilge.

Being in that, being in the SU regardless of the role you’re in on the Executive you get a taste for everything especially because I’m so close with Lorna and Niamh and even Dillion. I see a lot of what was going on. I know a lot of people like Brendan Ashe and Paul Davis, everyone that you’d need to know. I think that I, opposed to someone else would have a good start. Literally just after exams I said ‘screw it, I’ll run’ and here we are.

So why are you running for the position? What inspired you to run? Is it the work you did last year?

The Clubs and Societies gave me the experience. I would never run for something unless I thought that I would be the best candidate for the job. If I thought, there was someone who would do a better job then I’d let them do it. But I think that I have the right experience and background. On top of that I just looked at what happened this year and last year with the introduction to MSULife with huge numbers getting on that, I thought there was room for improvement. I think I’d be the best person to steer the ship in that way. As important as Clubs and Societies are and I will work with them a lot, Student Engagement is something I really want to push, like voting, I want to get the numbers up for everything. I want to get everyone who isn’t usually involved, engaged. People say it every year about commuter events and I’d definitely be pushing them. I plan to be pretty busy over the summer working if elected.

What are aims as a candidate for the role?

The main points would include online voting. I’ve done a lot work for this over the last few while. I’ve been talking to the current President Dillion Grace about it. I’ve met up with a couple of PhD students in Computer Science about it, getting their input on it and I’ve been talking to a couple of companies that roll out these programs and systems. I’ve been getting prices, timescales. I’ve doing a lot for it and I plan to build it into a platform on MSULife which in a couple of years’ time should have 9,000- 10,000 people on it on campus. So, if you have the number on it with the online voting platform there as opposed to having something like 2,600 votes last year, you could be hitting six. You’ll never know, obviously the first year will tell. I’ve been doing my best to get that off the ground and get ready, so that when I go into the job, if I’m elected, I can hit the ground running. The timescale is looking at about four months. If it goes well I could trial it for a few class reps. This brings it back to engagement, about getting everyone involved.

I don’t know if anyone has seen in about three years, its outdated. The only reason people go onto anymore is to get tickets and at that it’s pretty slow. I would ensure that gets a good revamp. The ideal revamp would be to have it slightly faster, better looking. I would like to have an interactive map on the website for campus, something similar to Google Maps for the campus as a way to make it easier to find those really hard places to find campus like Lower Loftus. It will just be a lot more efficient and more integrated to get more people on line and want to use it.

I want to upload videos which at the moment is called ‘Officer Question Time’. I’ve contacted Birmingham Students Union and what they do every term, twice a semester is ‘Officer Question Time’. Its basically for three hours a day our sabbatical officers or maybe the entire Executive would be set up right in the middle of the SU Foyer for anyone to come up and talk. It’s basically a Q&A for everyone. Its more relaxed and it’s about getting students because now not every student knows everything about the SU. I want them to know more. It works really well in Birmingham and after those 3 hours what they do is they take notes on the recurring questions and the next day, they’ll upload a video answering the questions put to them. There’d be four videos for each sabbatical officer and they’d be up every term.

What would you do to help a newly created or fledgling club or society get off the ground?

The best I can. I know from Aussie Rules and I think Melly (Melissa McMahon) set up Hogwarts as well, it is hard. Not to take away from Melly, I think it is harder to set up a club than a society because it is all intervarsity except trainings. I’m going to have documents set up about this because at the moment it’s a bit hazy setting up a club or society. It’s very confusing, especially if you’re a first year. I will have all the paperwork organised and it will just be a matter of doing what’s on a checklist and bringing it all back to me. From there, we hit the ground running. Trying to set up a club or society takes up a lot of time, maybe that’s why I’m repeating.

Is there anything you’d like to say to people who are considering voting for you?

Please vote. I really want people to read my manifesto, I don’t want people voting for me was I handed them a lollipop. Obviously, I’ll take advantage of the fact that I can but I really want people to vote for me because they think I’m the best candidate for the job and they know I’ll do a good job. At the end of the day, I want to sit down and answer people’s questions. I love telling people why they should vote for me so please vote. Ask. Do anything, just get involved.