This year’s Student Union Presidential Election is set to be the closest contest in years with four students vying for the position. Megan Fanning is a second year Economics students with significant society experience and a healthy interest in politics. She is a co-founder of the UCD Economics Society as well as its first auditor. She has also held the role of Vice Coordinator in the “Thinking Big UCD” Conference, store as well as holding the position of News Editor with the University Observer.

    Fanning’s Welfare policy is focused on continuing the services established by Maeve DeSay this year. This would see the continuation of services provided by external charities such as Please Talk. One of Fanning’s main plans for Welfare is to introduce a long term Zero Tolerance Campaign on Sexual Harassment and Assault, to be run in conjunction with Welfare and Campaigns and Communication. Fanning said sexual assault is a “major epidemic” and sighted shocking figures based on surveys of Irish universities.

    On the topic of Accommodation Fanning said that they can’t solve the problem of the lack of affordable accommodation but continued to say that “the Union needs to tackle it the best it can.” Fanning plans to establish a Student Accommodation Committee to provide students with information about accommodation, student life, and their legal rights. This would help to relieve some of the pressure on the Welfare Officer, who has been overwhelmed in recent years.

    Fanning is committed to improving student engagement with the UCDSU. While she thinks engagement has been improving, she believes that there is more to be improved upon. Fanning would like to see the coffee mornings hosted by the UCDSU continued after their success this year. She proposes to increase the scale and regularity of the coffee mornings by running them “fortnightly in each faculty.”

    Fanning would also like to improve student engagement through better interaction between UCDSU and UCD Societies. With the initiative, societies could avail of UCDSU funding for events, provided the event idea that would be relevant to the society and UCDSU. When questioned on whether funding would be available to Political Parties, Fanning stated that Political Parties wouldn’t be funded. When asked about how she would avoid preferential treatment of particular societies, she said “I couldn’t answer now, it’s something I could only answer once the situation arises.”

    Fanning plans to run a Re-Open day targeted at post-graduate students and their families. Some post-graduate’s she spoke to felt that events run by the union were more targeted at Undergraduates.

    A big focus of Fanning’s manifesto is centred around Entrepreneurship. She wants to run a Dragon’s Den style competition with UCD business orientated societies to encourage enterprise in students.

    There is a notable lack of sections on Education and Entertainment. When asked about it Fanning said her manifesto is based on feasibility. She would like to see a referendum on what method students would prefer for university funding. Her Entertainment policy is focused on improving engagement with UCDSU before securing any large acts.