#MSUelec12 Who Are These Crazy People?

And What Are They Doing In My Class? A 1st Year’s Guide to MSU Elections.

Every year, the MSU elections are met with a mixture of glee, confusion and contempt. For those who have been in college for a few years, avoiding the gauntlet of canvassers telling you to vote for X for position Y becomes a daily routine. However, we never take into account in what must be a very confusing time for the many 1st years gracing our campus. “Who are these people?”, “why are they wearing so many primary colours?” and “what the hell is a VP CSUD?” are all valid questions. Underneath, I attempt to explain this strange phenomenon.

What is an SU election and what are all these positions?

Valid question. The SU elections is when all registered students get to vote for who they want to lead their Students’ Union for the following academic year. These include four, full time paid sabbatical positions: President, Vice-President (VP) for Welfare and Equality, VP for Services, Events and Communications and VP for Clubs, Societies and Union Development. There is also the part time Irish Language and Cultural Affairs Officer. When elected, successful candidates will take over from existing exec officers in July for the on coming year. Elections to select faculty reps for the following year will also take place. These are Theology, Science & Engineering, Social Sciences, and Arts, Philosophy & Celtic Studies and are the link between the Students’ Union, the Class Reps and you.

Ok i get the representatives. But what do the sabbats do? Do they get paid?

The four full time sabbatical positions are paid jobs, which often attracts people to run in their final year. Those who run that are not in final year would take the year out to return to their studies the following academic year. The President is the main representative of Maynooth’s students. He/she represents the SU and its students to both the university administration and the MSU students nationally. VP Welfare & Equality is in charge of the general well being of us students. While they give us free condoms during KISS Week, they also are available to help out with other problems students are having. These range from mental health to financial problems or problems with equality. VP SEC is the mouthpiece of the Union. As well as being editor of The Print, VP SEC is also in charge of promoting the events run by the SU as well as improving existing services and communications on campus such as its online presence. VP CSUD, a relatively new position in its first year encompasses the old roles of Clubs & Societies Officers. In addition, it’s remit includes the open ended job of Union Development. This may include reviewing the SU’s constitution or improving the way the union is run.

So I know what the positions are, why should I care?

Having a good union is extremely important for the improvement of your experience in Maynooth. As a 1st year, picking the right and best candidate for the job can help determine how you interact with the union in subsequent years. Voting and being informed is the first step in doing this. You pick the union, and who represents you.

I was talking to a 3rd year and she said it was all rubbish and I shouldn’t bother. 

Many students who have had experience of the SU, or lack there of, are very sceptical of what the SU can do. Many have heard of wild promises that have never materialised in the past. This is not the fault of the union per say, but of the contents of the policies by those running. it is therefore important to question candidates on viable policies that will improve the union in following years rather than a second ATM.

Should I not just vote for the fella who’s a bit of craic? The rest just mumble and sound boring. He wants to bring in dragons and shit. 

While the fella who saunters in half drunk, curses and claims “if elected i’ll get a space elevator so the St. Pats students can be closer to God” may seem like a good idea when voting, remember this chap will be representing you in everything the union does. May want to re think and perhaps vote for the girl who wants to bring in some constitutional reform to make the union run better. Not as sexy as a space elevator I know, but a wee bit more practical.

What is the deal with the t-shirts?

Your guess is as good as mine. I suppose they are a bit eye catching. On the plus side, at least they are easily spotted if you want to avoid them.

What’s with the banners this year?

Banners have really taken off this year. It could be worse, two years ago the place got covered in chalk. I still have night terrors to this day. In fairness, it’s all part of the game. and a spot of fun. The main thing is to balance the creativity with plausible policies for the best interests of the students.

You’ve convinced me. When and where do I vote?

Wednesday March 7th. Voting commences between 9am and 6pm and you do this in the Arts Block and other satellite polling stations around campus . All you need is your student card.

-Pádraig McCarrick

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