Candidate Interview: Niall McKenna, VP Clubs and Societies

Interview conducted by Amy Slack, features editor, @amyizzylou

You’re the current VP for Clubs and Societies. What made you decide to run again?

I enjoyed the role. I felt that I was doing a good enough job and I am passionate about improving all the systems that are currently in place. I didn’t think there was anybody better in terms of experience to get real change to happen in the next year.

What has been your proudest achievement in the role this past year?

I suppose maintaining the services we provide even though there’s no staff member for clubs and societies. Obviously I’ve had help from a few interns but the large part of the work has fell to me. At least four days a week I look after all the clubs and societies, you know any events that are coming up.

My biggest achievement was probably organising Refreshers’ Fair all by myself, and if I get elected I’ll probably be organising Freshers’ Fair all by myself. Big events like that would probably be my proudest achievement.

Is there anything you plan to change or improve about clubs and societies this upcoming year?

I think we need to take a real strong look at the subvention for societies. I’ve already started looking at different universities and looking at how they’re resourced, how much money they get, how many societies there are, you know. I’m drawing up a plan basically to bring across the university to get the subvention increased. Ultimately, they make the call on it, but having a quality plan or report in place will be a big part of getting it increased.

Also probably the financial system will need looking at. I wrote that in my manifesto. I just think at the minute it needs cleaned up, some of the systems. It’s too hard for some of the societies to function in terms of getting finances out and buying things.

You mentioned subvention. Could you clarify that for anyone who doesn’t know what that is?

There’s a clubs and societies subvention every year, money given from the university for all our societies but it’s never enough.

VP Clubs and Societies has been uncontested for two years running. Have you any thoughts as to why this might be an unpopular position to run for?

I don’t know why it wasn’t contested last year, and I don’t know why it was uncontested this year either. I don’t really have an answer for that. Clubs and Societies is probably the thing that engages most people within the Students’ Union, so I felt there was going to be a lot more competition this year compared to last year, and I was surprised that there wasn’t. I think next year there’ll probably be a lot more running for it. I always thought it would be most contested.

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