The Students’ Union annual Class Representative elections are set to take place on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th of October. With nominations at an all time high, it is expected that all 150 positions available will be filled.
The newly elected class reps will attend a training weekend at a yet undisclosed location from October 7th to 9th along with the President and Vice-Presidents of the SU. The aim of the weekend is to equip the new reps with the skills and information necessary to deal with issues they will face within their constituencies in the coming year, as well as to organise social events for their classes.
Class rep training has been a contentious issue in recent years, especially in light of the alleged damages to property caused by the UCD class rep training weekend which took place in Wexford in 2008. Subsequent Students’ Unions have been keen to change the perception that the class rep training weekend is just a three day party funded by UCD.
The cost of the weekend has not yet been revealed, but SU Campaigns and Communications Officer Brendan Lacey has guaranteed that it will cost less that last year’s €11,000. Lacey is responsible for organising the weekend, including the venue, accommodation, dates and itinerary.
Rather than taking place in the familiar surroundings of UCD, the C&C Officer believes the training needs to take place off campus to better encourage reps’ attendance and participation as well as interfaculty bonding.
Lacey also refers to the Youtube video made to promote running for class rep, “for the most part, I think most people saw the video for what it was, which is a light-hearted attempt to engage people, to get the idea out there, to get people talking about running for class rep”.
The cost-cutting measure of the campus-swap idea proposed by Lacey in his campaign manifesto has not been implemented this year. The measure proposed that UCD class reps would use facilities belonging to another University during the day and stay in a hostel at night for the training weekend. Instead, reps will be staying in holiday home style accommodation this year. According to Lacey, “We were very close to getting it [the campus swap] done and circumstances just conspired against [us] that it couldn’t happen.”
Another of Lacey’s proposed innovations for the class rep system is the Class Reps’ Handbook, which will be introduced this year for the first time, although it will be a small, no-frills production in order to keep costs down, “Obviously costs are an issue so it’ll be very low-key, low-scale, but it will be there.”