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Who Am I? Â
My name is Lauren Ronan and I am running for the position of UCC Societies Guild President 2014/15. I am originally from New Ross, Co. Wexford and I am currently in my final year of Music. This is my 4th year involved with societies and I know that I have so much more to give! When I first came to UCC, it took me a while to settle in. In fact, it was not until I got involved with societies that I really began enjoying myself. I was the First Year Representative on the Dramat committee and straightaway immersed myself in all things society! However, being involved in societies can only come second in line to studying and our degrees. On May 14th, I finish all of my exams and have nothing to focus on other than being the best Societies Guild President I can be. This year as an OCM on the Societies Guild Executive I was allocated the tough portfolio of finance. However, as difficult as it was, I took the challenge head on and have made a difference during the short year. Being Finance Officer has given me a really strong perspective of the Societies Guild as a whole and the work involved in being President. I have been able to gain exposure to a variety of the portfolios while being involved with various different projects throughout the year. I will be the first sabbatical female Societies Guild President, if elected, and I know I am the best person for this job. With my experience and knowledge of this fantastic community, I can be the strong voice for societies not only within the University, but in the greater Cork area. That is why I want to be YOUR next fulltime paid Societies Guild President for the 2014/2015 year. Please take a few minutes to read my manifesto of concise, realistic ideas and I hope you and your society will consider voting Lauren Ronan for UCC Societiesâ€™ Guild President on March 27th.
What Have I Done? I would not be running for the position of Societies Guild President if I felt I did not have enough experience. Below is a quick outline of my experience in UCC over the past 4 years.
My Experience Over the Last 4 Years
4th Year · Finance Officer on the Societies Guild Executive · Elected BICS Student Representative · Heavily involved in organising Clubs & Societies Ball · Guild Representative on Strauss Ball committee · Sat on the Strategic Planning Committee 3rd Year · Auditor & Founder of Musical Society · Gained experience with a small and new society · Successfully sold out 4 nights of our first full scale musical · Awarded Best New Society by UCC Societies Guild · Runner Up Best Small Society · Awarded Bene Merenti for my contribution to society life in UCC · Runner Up Best New Society in Ireland at the BICS Awards · Member of Strauss Ball committee · Production Manager for ISDA Theatre Festival 2nd Year · Vice Auditor/Finance Officer of Dramat · Gained experience with a large society · Awarded Best Creative Society · Member of Strauss Ball committee · Awarded a STAR (Individual Achievement Award) · Produced, stage managed and worked backstage on various productions in Cork and at ISDA in Dublin.
1st Year 路 1st Year Representative on the Dramat committee 路 Nominated for Fresher of the Year 路 Produced, stage managed and worked backstage on various productions in Cork and at ISDA in Galway.
What Will I Do? What I want to achieve as President are a set of clear, tangible and achievable goals that I have outlined below. I believe these will push the Societies Guild forward in a new direction, getting proper representation and recognition within the university, and securing the resources we need to grow as an organisation.
Finance 1. The Portal The portal is something that is sometimes feared by new committee members, and especially by Finance Officers. I think some simple changes to the layout and formation of the portal could make it a lot easier to navigate. I would work with outgoing committee members, David and the office staff over the summer to ensure these changes are made well in advance of Auditors Training, and particularly Finance Training. I will ensure no changes are then made after the training sessions and will avoid any confusion throughout the year. 2. Application Process Reviewing an application for a large scale event cannot be processed within just a few days. Generally, there will be further questions that need to be asked or some aspect of the application that will have to be reviewed. As a result, having applications in no less than 7 days before an event would be advised, but would not be implemented as a rule. To facilitate this I would move the weekly Guild Executive meetings to a later day in the week, to give leeway for last minute applications.
3. Speed of Decision Making The Finance Officer is a part-time OCM, completing their study at the same time as their role on the Guild Executive and can often be inundated with college work. It can be incredibly challenging for them to find the time to carry out the administration of finance decisions straight away after the Guild Executive meetings. I have a simple solution that would solve this problem: the morning after a Guild Exec meeting, the President will take on the administration duties of updating the portal with the finance decisions, along with publishing the blog of decisions. This will speed up process of allocating finances and give committees a regular time at which decisions will be published. 4. Transparency & Communication This year has seen a huge improvement with both transparency of Guild funds and the communication regarding what the money is being spent on. I intend to continue and improve on this ensuring that the university, our students and our societies are thoroughly informed regarding where the money is going. This will include both the money being allocated to societies and the money that the Guild Executive itself is spending.
Awards Â 1. BICS The Board of Irish College Societies have introduced a new position this year for each member college, allowing a student to interact with the awards process and organising of the national awards. This position is to be chosen by the colleges. I would like to see the Secretary & Awards Officer to take on this role as it ensures the officer is fully immersed in BICS and has a constant contact with regards to the awards and the process.
2. Portfolio Training One of the most time consuming things associated with the awards is putting together a portfolio. Trawling through photographs, gathering references and sticking and pasting until your fingers are stuck together can be a nightmare. I would like to see us provide a small training session at the start of the year, guiding societies on how to keep a scrapbook or even a diary type document throughout the year. This will save the need for panic at the end of the year and is also a nice memento to have for future committees. 3. Awards System This year, and in previous years, the awards system has proved to be slightly difficult to deal with. Although I am not overly au fait with regards to computer systems, I am still aware that this needs to be reformed in order to avoid similar issues popping up next year. The time of year that awards applications are due is stressful enough with college work so I want to make this process as stress free as possible. I will work closely with the societies' administrative staff and an IT professional so as to identity the problems that have arisen so as to implement a fully working and accessible system.
Membership Development 1. Department Links We have a huge amount of academic societies, who do not necessarily create links with their respective departments. Creating a relationship with the departments and speaking in classes will improve the societyâ€™s membership. I will encourage and assist societies in creating and developing these links.
2. Satellite Campuses Societies have a fantastic presence on Main Campus, but not necessarily on our satellite campuses. I would like to see electronic sign up to societies available in satellite campuses on Societies' Day, as most societies are unable to have a presence on campus and off-campus simultaneously. I would also like to encourage students to go to or contact relevant campuses regarding certain events. For example, for the last three years I have been on the Strauss committee, Iâ€™ve offered to meet music students in Sundays Well (the UCC Music Department) and get their money for the tickets. Something as small as this has made a huge difference to ticket sales over the years. 3. Electronic Signups The electronic signup system that we have introduced this year gives us access to the information that is hardest to compile how many overall signups we have on a day, how many signups for particular societies, etc. I will encourage more societies to use this system and even to have it at society events, during orientation, and Freshers' Fest, and to use it for other events. The scanner can be used for ticket selling and for tracking the amount of people at events by just scanning student cards.
Entertainments 1. Developing Relationships Built This Year I would like to see us develop the relationships we have created over the last few years with hotels, bus companies and various different businesses within Cork, and build on these further. It is possible for us to put into place more solid deals and agreements with certain venues and companies, as we are a large organisation providing opportunities for additional business throughout the year.
2. Collaboration With the Students' Union Although the Societies Guild is an autonomous body in UCC, we should be collaborating with the Students' Union much more. The larger the budget, the larger the event. By collaborating with the Students' Union and encouraging societies to do the same, we can only improve on the quality of events and entertainments, and also avoid unnecessary clashing of events. 3. Timetabling of Events This year, there has been unfortunate and unnecessary clashes within societies and also between societies and the Students' Union. At the beginning of my term, I will sit down with the SU sabbatical team so as to plan out our respective key dates for events throughout the academic year. This list of key dates will be updated as the year goes on, both with key society events and any SU events planned, so as to avoid any unnecessary clashes. 4. Collaboration I have seen incidents throughout the year where two separate societies have run similar events, or where two societies did not realise they were looking for the same speaker until the last minute. On Facebook we now have two pages which we use to communicate with Auditors and committees â€“ the Auditors Noticeboard and the All â€“ Committee Noticeboard (a Facebook page which will include all committee members of all societies). Through these pages, I will encourage conversation regarding events societies wish to run. If there is collaboration, there is a chance to receive more funding, so societies aiming to host large events or well-known, high profile speakers, should be encouraged to try and collaborate with other societies.
Training 1.Sponsorship I would like to see sponsorship training being held next year as this is something that is rarely addressed. Societies are in a prime position to receive sponsorship, as we have the audience of over 19,000 students. This sponsorship does not only have to be in the form of financial aid; it can also include prizes for events, catering, or complimentary gifts for balls and conferences. 2. Professional Training I would like to see us provide further training from professionals, as there is huge benefit in learning from someone who has excelled in their area. Under these training sessions I would like to see us provide team management training for Auditors, and time management training for all committee members. During my time with societies, I have seen how difficult it can be to find a balance between college work and society commitments. Providing a training course on time management would enable committee members to find the time for both. 3. Crossovers It is important for societies to ensure a thorough crossover takes place between outgoing and incoming officers. It sometimes happens that people are elected with little experience or idea of what they are getting into. While this is great because it shows that people are interested and want to get involved, in order to ensure the standard of our societies, a simple 10 or 20 minute meeting between the incoming and outgoing officer could improve the quality of work and ensure the incoming officer hits the ground running.
Promotions & Marketing 1. Societies Corner Â UCC Societies hosted some extremely high profile and interesting speakers, as well as putting on over 1000 events this year alone. We currently do not get enough recognition or media attention for our efforts. I want to target Cork media, including the Evening Echo and the Cork Examiner, in order to provide a regular spotlight on society events. I have already contacted local Cork newspapers in the hope that they will facilitate this and work with us. 2. Utilising Free Advertising WhazOn Cork, www.peoplesrepublicofcork and various other websites are FREE to advertise in. There is absolutely no reason for us to not use these forms of promotion, and all it involves is sending them a monthly e-mail with our biggest events. Simple, effective and free! 3. Photoshop Training Professional and clean cut logos and designs can make a huge difference to the image of a society and their promotion. I would like to introduce a beginners and advanced level photoshop training sessions for our various PROâ€™s so that everyone's needs are being catered for. Photoshop is one of the most difficult tasks, especially for someone who has never used it. I would also like to compile a list of people involved in societies who are competent with photoshop and who would be willing to offer assistance/one on one training throughout the year.
4. UCC Societies Guild Website The current Societies Guild website is slightly confusing and a little bit difficult to navigate, if you are not used to it. With some simple re-design and re-formatting, the website could be made more user friendly and we may be able to increase its usage and the amount of online sign-ups we get through the website.
Other Issues/Ideas 1. Space Space is a huge issue for all of our societies. We are classed as a 5 star university providing a â€œworld class student experienceâ€? yet UCC will not allow us to use one of the numerous empty rooms as a society space. We need more storage, we need space for construction, we need an artistic and creative space, and we need a larger workspace. I will promise to follow on from Padraig's work this year and ensure we get the necessary spaces that we need to nourish the development of our societies and improve their quality. 2. All Committee Day Out At the beginning of the year, we hold Auditors Training which allows Auditors to meet and get to know each other. This proves hugely successful and can be the start of many great relationships. This year, I would like to organise an all committee day out which would be like our end of year barbecue, but would focus more on team building and would happen at the beginning of the year. Sometimes Auditors cannot focus on everything and an all committee day out would give all members the chance to network and make friends. 3. Students' Centre Whoever is elected President, will be the first Societies' Guild member with a seat on the Board of Management in the Students' Centre. If elected, I will utilise this seat to push for a more student focused attitude towards student activities. This will
include lobbying for the reduction in fees placed on student activities in the building and addressing any issues societies are facing at the highest possible level.
Thatâ€™ s All For Now, Folks.. As you can see from my manifesto, my aims for the year are straightforward and achievable. I have the vision and drive to push societies forward in the direction we need to go. From fighting for the resources that we need to grow as an organisation, to working within and outside the university to get recognition for work carried out by societies, I am the most qualified and able person for the job. Thank you for taking the time to read my manifesto. I hope that I have convinced you to give me your number 1 vote for Societies' Guild President on March 27th. I would love the opportunity to talk to you further; please feel free to contact me on 0860766476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.