Candidate Interview: Seán Searle, SU President

Interview conducted by Niamh Mc Govern, news editor, @mcgovern_niamh

Are there any particular community projects you’ve mentioned in the manifesto that you feel make you suitable for the role?

I have been a community activist for most of my adult life, campaigning for their rights and services. As stated in my manifesto, through my time at Queen’s I have developed a sense of community with the students here, and as President I will protect and fight for the rights of the student community.

A community project that I have mentioned in my manifesto that I feel makes me suitable for the role of President is that I plan to continue and expand the current resistance to educational cuts. From listening to students, it is clear how much these cuts would affect their university life and our Union should be at the forefront fighting against these cuts.

Will you be working closely with VP Community, if elected, to support safe housing for students, and do you perhaps have some ideas to ensure students feel safe and valued within their residential areas?sean searle

Firstly, I would like to say that if elected I try and work as closely as possible with the entire VP team. As stated in my manifesto I want to reorganise and improve advice for students who are attempting to secure safe accommodation in Belfast. If elected, I plan to relaunch the SU Lets service in a different format so that students can be protected and made aware of their rights when renting. I hope myself and the next VP Community will be able to work together to continue the brilliant work done by our current VP.

How would you encourage students to utilise the services available to them in the SU?

The Students’ Union currently offers some great services to our students, but in my opinion these are not communicated well enough to our students. Our VP team, along with the SU President and individual schools within the university, should be promoting SU services as much as possible. I plan to encourage students to utilise the services that the SU has made available to them by working with the different schools within the university to inform and educate students about the services the SU offers.

Are there any specific areas you feel lacking in terms of how the university accommodates disabled students?

I feel that the university is still developing and learning how to accommodate disabled students. This however does not mean that Disability Services itself is not working to try and accommodate students. I feel that the individual schools within the university are letting disabled students down. Schools need to take a more proactive approach to disabled students. The Disability Officer within each School should make contact with a student two or three times a term to see if they are copying with both their studies and university life. Communication between the university school, Disability Services and the student must be improved.

What do you think makes you stand out from the other candidates, as there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for running this year?

There are a number of things that make me stand out from other candidates. However I would firstly like to say that it is brilliant to see so many committed and motivated people standing for this year’s election.
I stand out from other candidates because I have been involved in numerous leadership roles during my time at university. This year, as chairman of the Hurling Club, I was the founding member of a GAA tournament, which was praised for its professionalism and success all over Ulster. I stand out from other candidates because of my leadership, organisational and management skills gained from both sitting on the finance committee of the historic GAA festival and chairing the Hurling Club. I care about students, I want to try and make their time at university a positive influence on their lives and if elected I will work every day for this to become a reality.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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