Louise Keogh is a second year English and Sociology student and is one of two students competing to become UCDSU Welfare Officer for the year 2015/16.
Speaking to The College Tribune Keogh states her interest in looking after the welfare of students as why she decided to run for Welfare Officer. “After this year, drugstore working in all the activities I did I got really interested in helping out students and I just want to be able to do that for full time next year,”
One of the main initiatives Keogh is seeking to introduce, if elected, is a ‘Buddy System’ for incoming UCD students. Although could be viewed as similar to the Peer Mentor scheme already present on campus, Keogh believes her new system will differ from this as it will be for the whole year, not “dropping off” as Keogh believes some Peer Mentees do. Although Keogh admits societies and sports clubs and Students’ Union are two different organisations Keogh would like an integration officer within each club and society who she can liaise with under this system in an effort to help students feel more comfortable joining societies.
When asked if the Peer Mentor scheme should be reformed rather than introduce a new system, Keogh argued that not all Peer Mentors know the members of every society or club, but as Welfare Officer she would make sure she knew all society auditors to be able to link students in with.
Another area in which Keogh is seeking to bring in new initiatives is her plan to introduce free STI testing on campus, something which has been promised before by Welfare candidates but never implemented. Keogh claims that the volunteer staff from the St. James Hospital clinic would be “more than willing” to come to UCD to do free testing if UCD were to bring it in. This initiative would be done twice yearly with a “hub” being placed in the Astra Hall for students to be tested. By doing this Keogh is seeking to break the stigma of STI testing amongst students.
One of the biggest initiatives Keogh is seeking to do if elected Welfare Officer is reform the Welfare section of the UCDSU website. One area especially is the accommodation section of the website which Keogh believes in “poorly laid out”. She would seek to amalgamate the three different sites for accommodation for UCD students so it becomes easier for students to connect and find a place to live. In terms of on campus accommodation, Keogh would organise a march to bring some focus back to the ‘Res Rights’ campaign.
Although failing to mention Mature Students in her manifesto Keogh assures The College Tribune that all Mature Students are more than welcome to come to her with any problems they might have. Again she refers back to her ‘Buddy System’ stressing its importance if put in place as it will benefit all students. On the topic of creating a space for Mature Students Keogh states that is something she will do if asked, “if that’s what they tell me they’re interested in, I will definitely create a Mature Student space.”
Although coming from a primarily equality background and
believing that equality and welfare are linked Keogh does not believe she will be focusing on equality over welfare. “I’m just purely be looking after student welfare and trying to improve the student welfare and well-being on campus.”