Martha Ní Riada, a final year Law with Social Justice student, is running to be the next UCDSU Education Officer in this year’s only contested race against the opposing candidate, Daragh Kane O’Toole. She is the social secretary of UCD’s Literary and Historical Society, a member of the academic advisory group and a member of UCD GAA. 

Martha spoke to the College Tribune on everything ranging from her reasons for running in the election to her campaign. She’s running to be the next Education officer because “there are things [I] want to see in our education system changed”. The three biggest issues facing UCD students that need to change are “communication regarding academic supports, educational supports themselves and awareness of diversity and inclusion in the student body as lecturers presume that students come from a certain background”.

Martha believes she is qualified to be the next Education Officer because she “has passion and is willing to put the work in.” What makes her different is that  “[I] have experience with working with staff and focus groups with students to find out what the main educational problems are and because [I’m] on societies, I know how UCD works and what’s good and bad about it’”. 

When asked if she has any experience in the Union, Martha said no but that “it is a positive thing because the Union can come across as very cliquey”. She said it’s good “to get people from all areas of UCD involved in the Union”. She agreed that her opponent’s campaign has the advantage of having prior experience in the Union but she does not believe that the experience means that one will be a better education officer. “I have experience coming from other areas which I think will also be helpful”. 

“I think being approachable is really important” as an education officer, “having a lot of casework, people need to feel comfortable to come and talk to you”. As well as this, Martha says an Education Officer should be able to “work alongside staff and committees” and “someone who is innovative and can think outside of the block to try and get the ball rolling on problems down the line but also work on day-to-day goals”. 

When asked about the Creative Showcase which Martha would like to establish in her role as Education Officer, Martha said that “my idea of education is a holistic approach […] in the working world, creativity is so essential. You use it day-to-day but people tend to treat it like a side thing, but being creative is where innovation comes from. I think this needs to be valued for students”. 

When asked what sets her campaign apart from her opponent’s, Martha said her campaign has “more tangible goals for this year and not just things continued from past years”. She believes that she will be a better Education Officer than her opponent because she “has the passion to do it […] and the points of [my] manifesto and the things I want to get done are better”.

Mahnoor Choudhry – Co-Editor