UCD Students’ Union may change its structure to mirror the model used by most SUs in the United Kingdom, following support from authority figures in the university.
A survey will be conducted in the coming weeks by the SU to allow students to have input and involvement in such a remodel.
Structures of SUs in the UK have localised values and primarily campaign for better student services on campus, such as affordable accommodation and cheaper alcohol on campus.
In recent years, students felt that UCDSU focussed on national issues, such as fighting fees with USI.
Students felt problems they experienced with campus residences and other campus issues weren’t dealt with by their SU.
UCDSU also ran up debt of €1.4 million by June 2011 due to financial mismanagement and poor accountancy practices. This highlighted infrastructure problems within the organisation.
New President of UCD, Andrew Deeks and UCDSU President, Mícheál Gallagher have shown support for this shift in structure.
President Deeks was educated and worked in Australia, where the model of SU is similar and is involved with student politics. Australian SUs provide students with political services and represent the student body to university management as well as improving facilities and services for students. President Deeks said that he would like UCDSU to evolve into such an organisation.
Speaking to UCD’s The University Observer, Gallagher called for a SU that is a transparent organisation that has a fair, democratic structure.
According to The University Observer, UCDSU released their first audited accounts to students in week one of semester two, which Gallagher believes is a step closer to remodeling such a transparent organisation.
He hopes the survey will allow students to be involved in the potential remodel and will shape the SU’s strategic plan over the next two years.