Students of Incorporation feeling the loss of their Students’ Unions

By Laura Burke

St. Patrick's College Campus.

The merger of St. Patrick’s college into DCU which began last September has brought many changes to the make-up and facilities present across both campuses in the last number of months.

One particular change that has affected students of the three merger colleges, the Mater Dei Institute, Church of Ireland College of Further Education and St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra, has been the abolishment of these colleges’ independent student unions.

As part of the Incorporation Programme, students of St. Pat’s were told they would no-longer have their own Students’ Union based on the Drumcondra campus and that from September 2016 onwards any events taking place for St. Pat’s students would be ran by the DCUSU.

Illustration by Laura Duffy.
Illustration by Laura Duffy.

The decision to merge the Students’ Unions on both campuses has left a lot of St. Patrick’s students feeling that they are being left out of the brunt of activities that take place on the DCU campus, rather than in St. Pat’s.

Speaking about the matter, DCUSU Vice President for Welfare and Equality Cody Byrne said: “I completely get where they (St. Pat’s students) are coming from.

“I think that in general there are more events here in DCU and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t. I think the logic behind why there are more events in DCU is because there is a student bar here, its only a 20 minute walk away and there are about four times the amount of students here in DCU than in Pats. So that is the main idea and logic behind it.”

The lack of events on St. Pats’ campus is something that students feel strongly about. ‘’This is my third and final year here in St. Pats and since last September I’ve noticed that there are less events and things going on around the college as everything seems to be taking place in DCU”, said final year student in St. Pat’s Amie Kavanagh.

“I think the DCUSU is trying its best to hold events on both campuses but it is hard for St. Pat’s students to travel all the way to DCU for events during the day when we have lectures all day on our own campus.”

When St. Pat’s SU combined with DCU in September, the DCUSU received an extra €200,000 from the merger, whereas the year before funding for the St. Pat’s Student Union was a lot higher.

Byrne argued that DCUSU should have got a lot more money from the merger that could have been invested back into St. Pats throughout the 2016/17 year.

He also points out that while the majority of the merger has affected St. Pat’s and Drumcondra students in general, it has also affected students and events in DCU.

‘’There is not enough space here in DCU because Spar took our only space to actually hold events so there is no venue anymore. DCU is not actually what it used to be,” he said.

Construction work began on the DCU campus last semester which resulted in Spar moving to a temporary location in the venue which used to cater for large numbers of people attending DCUSU ran events.

Speaking about his role as SU Vice President for Welfare and Equality, he said that his term was going well but that some of the campaigns could prove stressful.

“Last year I had four campaigns and this semester we’re having five, but you try and keep the spending to under €1,500 per campaign. There are things that cost extra like STD tests in a bundle that cost around €3,000, but it’s important to provide these things for students and I’m really enjoying my role.”

Refreshers week is currently taking place across all DCU campuses, with Shite Nite in NuBar, a sex magician on the St. Pats campus, with Thursday marking the launch of Beg Borrow Steal.

Laura Burke