Interview with Rory O’Ceallaigh, Furness JCR Presidential Candidate – Michaelmas Term Elections 2023


Caitlyn Taft from SCAN interviewed Furness JCR Presidential Candidate, Rory O’Ceallaigh, on why he is running for Furness JCR President.

Over the past few days, I have interviewed various JCR Presidential candidates across campus. I asked them all nine questions, two tailored towards their personal lives and previous work on the JCR.

  1. What are your reasons for running for Furness president?

Rory is currently VP Socials for Furness JCR, a role, he told me, he has enjoyed thoroughly.

“As VP Socials, I’ve been working closely with Owen [Coppack], the current Furness JCR President. I know what work’s to be expected and I have that experience from working so closely with him over the past year.”

2. What are the main points of your manifesto that you would like to emphasise?

When he was talking to me, Rory outlined five key points in his manifesto that he wanted to focus on. These five key points are: continuing Owen’s work, keeping the JCR accountable for their manifestos, having a more proactive Welfare team, using media more, and overseeing all the subsections at the start of the term.

“Owen’s a friendly face and I want to continue that, being someone who people can trust but also feel comfortable enough to talk to. Owen has perfectly harnessed the Furness spirit. I want to hear new ideas from the new JCR members, and I want to help them achieve their manifesto goals.”

3. What sets you apart from the other candidates?

Rory continued to mention how he knows the responsibilities of JCR Presidents, thanks to his close work with Owen.

“I’ve organised the Winter Ball and helped out a lot with Welcome Week. The jobs that Presidents have to do—team managing especially—I have already been doing in my own roles. I’ve managed the socials teams and led the Extrav committee. Also, because I do engineering, project management plays heavily in both my degree and in my work in the JCR.”

4. What would your priorities be if you won the election? Alternatively, what would be your first priority?

Relating to what he said in the previous questions, Rory told me that it’ll be vital for him to know that the newer JCR members are aware of what they’re capable of. Highlighting the importance of working collaboratively with them to gain insight, Rory said:

“My first priority would be to sit everyone [newer JCR members] down, get to know them, and understand what they want to achieve. I want to be able to break down the walls and making sure they’re comfortable. Then, begin planning the year with them. I want to gain insight into their goals and help them achieve them.”

5. What do you want to change about your current JCR?

Although he praised the work of the current Furness JCR President, he relayed his points about utilising the Welfare team more.

“Having a socials model for Welfare would be good. This means we don’t have to rely on students coming up to Welfare to talk but having events where they know the [Welfare] team’s faces and engaging in relaxing activities, especially around exam season.”

6. Can you tell me a bit about your college and are there any parts of it (social events, welfare talks, group/JCR activities, etc) you are wanting to continue with/ develop on? 

Throughout my interview with Rory, he constantly made comments about the homely community that Furness has.

“I want to continue Owen’s work, like I said before. Keeping the vibes great. Furness is a lovely community, [it] has the right amount of spirit. Seeing that being nurtured, I want Furness to continue being unique.”

7. You’ve been VP Social for Furness since the Summer term and a Social Officer since the Michaelmas term last year, if I’m correct, have you gained any experiences from your previous year in the JCR?  

Since he started at Lancaster, Rory has been involved with Furness JCR in one way or another.

“I started at the bottom of the ladder, as a Social Officer. I’ve seen and had the experience of being managed and managing a team. I’ve engaged with the wider student body as someone who came from outside to a group of people I never knew.”

8. How have you found managing the social events in Furness, especially ones that can be quite crowded like the 15-hour bar crawl?

Furness has always been a small but mighty college. Ever since this academic year started, events have been selling out almost immediately.

“The engagement at social events is strong, and that’s due to leadership. The presence at Trev Quiz every Thursday is amazing. Along with the 15-hour [bar crawl], it keeps Furness in the public eye. All our social events have been managed well, and everyone’s pulled their weight.”

9. What’s your college slogan/saying/song and what does it mean to you?

As a Furness student, I already know that Angels by Robbie Williams is played at the end of every night. To Rory, the song is more about the accomplishments of the JCR.

“It’s a rallying cry, a song you play at the end of the night. It’s a song of victory, [it’s] a celebration. It’s a sigh of relief after events, you feel accomplished after hours and days of planning. It sums Furness up quite well in my opinion.”

Voting for JCR Presidents opens today. Check out the SU website to vote for your college JCR members this year.

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