MSU Elections Executive Candidates – Melissa McMahon, VP for Clubs & Socs

Tell us a bit about yourself please?

My name is Melissa McMahon. I’m 20 years old. I’m a third-year student here in Maynooth. I’m studying Business and Music. I’m originally from Monaghan but I’ve been living up here the last three years.

In your own words, what do you think the role of Vice President of Clubs, Societies and Student Engagement is?

In my own words I think the role is about involving students as much as possible in the college, involving the students either through clubs and societies or through events that the SU running, engaging them as much as possible, making clubs and societies as easy to use as possible and as easy to sign up to. Clubs and societies are what makes your college experience and it’s trying to the make the college experience as best as possible

What made you decide to run?

Honestly, when I came in here in first year and had the meetings with the SU people down in the Venue and they were giving their speeches, that’s when I realised that I wanted to do that. The very first day of first year, I knew I wanted to do that. Through my three years here, wanting to be in that position has never changed. It’s been there from the very start college.

Why not run for Welfare and Equality or Education?

I feel like I would be the best for Clubs and Societies and Student Engagement because I’m very involved with Clubs and Societies. In 1st Year I signed up to so many societies like every first year does. I was the first-year rep for Dance Society and I helped form the Hogwarts Society. I helped found it. I’ve been involved with Clubs and Societies since day one of college and I know how they run. I’ve been a member of a society, I’ve been on a committee. I know exactly how they run. Through this I know a lot of people on campus and I know how to engage with people, how to talk to people, that’s why I feel I’d be better at that job rather than Education for example.

What do you think you could bring to the role?

I think I’d bring a unique stance to the role because of the fact that I have been involved with clubs and societies the whole time. In 1st Year I signed up to the Harry Potter Society and it was inactive. My friends and I brought it back, rebranded it as Hogwarts and now tis one of the biggest societies on campus with over 400 members, I think. I can bring my knowledge of clubs and societies, my knowledge of how committees run. I can bring my experience with all this and I can also bring my general chattiness, the ability to talk to people. I hope I don’t come off as a very standoffish person or anything like that, I’m a very chilled, relaxed person. I can come and talk to you no problem at all. So, that’s what I think I can bring to it.

You said that you help set up Hogwarts, how would you help and assist a club or society that’s been inactive for a while and wanting to get back up on running?

So what we did with Hogwarts was we had an official relaunch. The club had been inactive, I think for a year and a half. Everyone had left the committee, so we took it up. Shortly after the Halloween Break of 2014 that we had our relaunch, we had a movie night with the first movie (Harry Potter) playing, we had an AGM where we elected people, we had pizza and sweets. It was very successful. I think there was about 50 people at it which at the time there was only about 70 members. You just have to be very dedicated to your society, know what people want. People want movie nights, people want free food so you just bring that to the people.

Could you tell me about your aims and hopes for the role if elected?

One of my goals would be to try and make as many commuter events as possible. I’ve been talking to a lot of students over the last few days and asking them questions about what they’d like to see differently about Clubs and Societies this year and the biggest answer was commuter events. There’s over, I think 60% of our students are commuting. There’s not enough events on during the day for them or even for students that do live here but have to go home. I’d also like to put a lot of emphasis on the Charity of the Year and have a hands-on role in the Charity of the Year with the students.

We are students, we don’t have a lot money to donate but a lot of people would like to help in other ways with charities. For example, if it were for St. Raphael’s, they’re using our donations this year to build a sensory garden. If they couldn’t get enough donations we could go and help them physically build the sensory garden. Another thing I would like to do is to have more training times for committees. I know myself that one training day at the start of the year is not enough. You need lots of them during the year for new committee members and for people that commute, people who go home at weekends. You cannot just have one day at the start of the year, you need at least 2 or 3 days at different times so people can actually go to them and of course, monthly training for PRO’s and Treasurers. That’s just a few of my points but there is more on my manifesto on Facebook.

Is there anything you feel has been neglected or in need of improvement in relation to Clubs, Societies and Student Engagement?

I think that the Student Engagement part needs to be worked on. I think as a role of Vice President of Clubs, Societies and Student Engagement, the last part is often forgotten about. You need to think about going out and talking to people, have a constant social media presence. As well as keeping the Club and Societies and all the students up to date with what’s going on.

Finally, what would you say to anyone who’s unsure about who they should vote for?

I would say that I’m a nice person. I have realistic and achievable goals for the next year. They’re not farfetched, they’re not empty promises. They are realistic, achievable goals that will help students that will encourage clubs and societies to do more things which will encourage students to do more things on campus. I’m not going to promise that I’m going to build a new restaurant on campus and everything’s going to be free in it. I’m not going to promise anything that I can’t do. Also, like I have already said, I have a really good background in clubs and societies. I know exactly how they run and I want to try and make them as commuter friendly and as student friendly as possible. Hopefully if you give me your Number One vote on Wednesday the 8th of March I can achieve all those goals.