After no nominees contesting the role of graduate officer in the UCD Students’ Union executive elections, the upcoming By-Elections see 3 candidates on the ballot.

One candidate is a masters in Library and Information Science student, Matt Amenda, the current Class Rep for MA in Library and Information Studies. He faces Marc Matouc and Amit Wasnik in the race for the place on the 2022/23 UCDSU executive.

Below is the College Tribune’s interview with Amenda

1. Why are you running for the role of Graduate Officer in the By-Elections? 

Getting elected to class representative, and having subsequent good showings at council meetings, showed me that people like me around here and trust me to handle things for them in the political sphere. When Carla told us that her seat was up for grabs, I saw that it was an opportunity to step into a position with some real potential for positive impact, so I decided to go for it.

2. What made you want to run in the By-Elections?

I did try to run in the initial election cycle! But being a non-EEA national, when Carla and I discussed the hurdles of visas and legal working hours it appeared at the time that I would be unable to adequately perform the job with the restrictions put in place. However, when I next met Carla at a council meeting we discussed it further with other officers and based on their past experience having non-EEA nationals in the union we saw that those restrictions could be got around after all. So I got nominated and here we are.

3. Do you think UCD provides enough support to graduate students? 

I don’t think UCD provides enough support to any of its students. Even less it’s graduate students, and even less its international graduate students. Most of UCD’s problems are rooted in a wider underfunded educational system where university survival is based on who can most ruthlessly squeeze its students out of the most money, and UCD squeezes its international students the hardest. Did you have to charge us double what our local classmates have to pay in tuition, UCD? Or make us choose between overpriced on-campus accommodation or throwing ourselves at the mercy of the cruel Dubin housing market? Even the comically small and petty things, like barring non-EEA students from availing of the laptop rental scheme, which I would have dearly welcomed during semester one. Are you afraid of us robbing you, UCD? If so, how ironic!

4. What is the strongest part about your manifesto, in your own opinion?

The design ain’t bad! But aside from that, I think the simplified bit about international students being monetarily taken advantage of is my favourite. “We’re not piggy banks, we’re human beings” sums up my own feelings on the matter, and is pretty clearly understood I hope.

5. What skills do you think you have that will transpose well into the role of Graduate Officer? 

I’m working on my Master’s in Library and Information Science, which gives me an edge when it comes to quickly finding accurate information for people. I’ve got lots of real-world office experience, which has taught me how to be efficient with all kinds of projects in that environment. I’ve been an Associate Librarian, and among other skills, I gained from that I learned not only how to make fun programs and events, but how to go through a formal planning and approval process to make it happen. I know how to form profitable and positive relationships with policy-makers, executives, and prominent community members.

6. What do you think sets you apart from your opponents in the race? 

I feel my age and experience give me an advantage over my younger opponents. I have, for instance, 10 years of library, customer service, and admin experience that give me preparedness for a host of different scenarios, projects, or setbacks. They both seem to have more of a volunteer/community organizing background, whereas I have a more professional, “white collar” skillset which may serve me better in board meetings and other interactions with senior management. But in spite of that, I also like to take a less serious tone than the both of them. I consider myself to be an affable sort, easy to make friends with all kinds of people. Including, I hope, the people with the power to improve things around here.

7. Could you please provide a short, roughly 75-word bio and summary of the main parts of your manifesto.

Matt Amenda, born in Wisconsin. Hopes to be adopted by Ireland. Determined, or perhaps too dumb to quit. Class Rep, radio DJ, Karate champion, Dungeon Master. Enjoys heavy metal, video games, and schlock movies. Thanks to him, there’s a little library in rural Wisconsin that’s got one of the largest collections of Dungeons and Dragons books in the state. Led two successful health and respect campaigns as a class rep so far. Professional goof.

  • 1. Students ought to be better educated on what a Graduate Officer is and what one can do for them.
  • 2. As Graduate Officer, I would focus especially on the unfair burdens facing international graduate students.
  • 3. I bring 10 years of working experience with me into this race, including civil service and liaising with executives and prominent community members.

Mahnoor Choudhry – Co-Editor

Conor Paterson – Co-Editor