In Focus
Feb 26, 2024

Welfare Candidate Hannah McAuley on Championing Change in College

Hannah McAuley speaks to The University Times about the happiness they find in helping other people.

Sajal SinghSenior Editor
Photo by Bridget McBruiser for The University Times

Among the candidates vying for the role of the Welfare and Equality Officer in the Trinity College Students’ Union (TCDSU) Sabbatical Elections stands Hannah McAuley, a final-year Radiation Therapy student, whose passion for advocating student welfare and equality echoes loudly through her candidature.

McAuley’s dedication to serving the student body, having already made her mark as the TCDSU Off-Campus Officer for the past two years, is unmissable. Reflecting on her journey, they note, “I came to college to help people with my degree and became involved in the SU during my second year and found contentment in helping other students as well”.

Her experience in the SU, which began with the position of class representative, serves as the foundation for her candidature. Undeterred by the challenges posed by the pandemic, McAuley actively participated in Zoom councils, showcasing her resilience and adaptability. Before their current position, they served as the Therapies Convenor, illustrating her commitment to fostering a supportive community within College.


When questioned about her motivations for running for Welfare Officer, McAuley’s response is unequivocal. “Because, after closely working with the Students’ Union, I realise the impact it can make on students”, she asserts. Their resolve to continue the legacy of her predecessors while implementing their own vision is evident, emphasising their desire to build upon the groundwork laid by previous officers. She adds, “I want to keep the doors of the welfare and equality office in House 6 always open. Anybody at any time should feel free to come and have a chat”.

Addressing critical issues such as financial hardship and accommodation challenges, McAuley outlines their proactive approach: “I will ensure that we team up with the renters union in Halls to help freshmen find affordable accommodation for next year”. Moreover, she advocates for an increase in the SU welfare loan, recognising the pressing need for tangible support mechanisms for students facing financial constraints while continuing to put pressure on College authorities and the government to provide affordable student housing.

McAuley’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility extends to addressing period poverty on campus and promoting comprehensive sex education. They pledge to make free period products available across all university washrooms and advocates for ongoing consent training and the provision of sexual health resources.

Recognising the shortcomings of mental health services on campus, McAuley is resolute in her determination to effect change. “To improve this state, I would ensure that students who need immediate help have access to resources that guide them on what to do in times of urgent need”, they affirm. Additionally, McAuley plans to collaborate with mental health professionals to expand college counselling services and implement mental health awareness campaigns. She also aims to create a supportive environment where students feel comfortable seeking help and implement suicide awareness training for all PTOs and Sabbatical officers. 

Central to her platform is the assurance of reaching out to marginalised groups and ensuring their voices are heard. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, McAuley emphasises the importance of creating a campus environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

Their advocacy for responsible drug use is grounded in their personal experiences, showcasing their compassion and comprehension of the intricacies involved in this matter. McAuley anticipates programmes and campaigns that will help students who are struggling with substance misuse by bringing attention to the issue and offering support, with an emphasis on reducing stigma, increasing awareness, and promoting access to resources.

Throughout McAuley’s campaign, a separate emphasis can be seen on the St James’s community. She says: ‘‘It’s time Trinity recognised the state of health sciences students and provided better facilities to students who are off campus. This includes not only a SU café and better seating, but also adequate financial support for students on placement and the creation of a second school of medicine welfare support counsellor.’’

In response to concerns about the magnitude of the responsibilities accompanying the role, McAuley remains undaunted, drawing parallels with her experiences working with cancer patients. “To be honest, I am not too overwhelmed”, they assert. “I just have the zeal to help people, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to do that.”

For McAuley, being elected as Welfare and Equality Officer would be more than a title – it would be a fulfilment of a longstanding commitment to serving her peers and fostering a campus environment characterised by empathy, inclusivity, and support. McAuley’s dedication to helping others is evident in her willingness to take on challenging roles and her passion for making a positive impact. They believe that their background in working with cancer patients has prepared them well for the responsibilities of the Welfare and Equality Officer position. 

As the countdown to the elections has already begun, Hannah McAuley’s candidature stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication and passion that she brings to the table. With her vision for a more equitable and compassionate university community, she emerges as a formidable candidate poised to champion the welfare and equality conditions in the college. 

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