It is becoming more apparent that the Government is giving little foresight to what will benefit individuals who become the building blocks of their future country, students. The College Tribune believes that the government’s public policies seem to only further capitalist ideals rather than offering structured regimes which can further student security as they navigate through university.
The necessity of affordable and reliable housing seems to be a constant concern among students over the years, especially with little government intervention to quell rising rent rates. The government remains reluctant to take action which may provide sustainable options to students such as providing public land to universities for them to build affordable accommodation or providing a control on rent for those who seek accommodation outside the university. This results in students finding unsustainable alternatives that are not conducive to fostering structured learning environments especially during COVID-19, such as couch surfing.
UCD offers little support in finding off-campus accommodation save for Facebook groups riddled with scams. New accommodation and infrastructure built on UCD campus to appear progressive on the outside but in reality old accommodation is in a regressive state as it undergoes little maintenance. This leaves students with a less than adequate standard of living.
As governments cut funding for universities it causes universities to rely on a business model to sustain spending. Students bear the cost, especially international students, whose fees at UCD are nearly 6 times the amount of the average Irish student. Students are exploited for what little finances they have to offer to their universities through paying not only tuition but other college expenses as well, which can cost future salaries.
At UCD the library operates at a critically low capacity, the James Joyce library seats 3000 students which would be generous if the college was not populated by 30000. UCD seems to be rebuilding everywhere but the place that would enable students to access essential resources to study and therefore directly impact their ability to further their education.
Most student culture in university revolves around drinking, this is not a new revelation and with the government announcing Minimum Unit Pricing on the 4th of January, well, this pastime just got more expensive for our notoriously broke student population. In the coming months and years what we will see is a shift to cheaper alternatives to alcohol being used – drugs. Drugs have not been decriminalized and government policy has opted to completely ignore drug culture rather than acknowledge how to use them safely if we are indeed going to use them. This just causes more harm than good as students try, mix and purchase drugs without knowledge.
What do students do when we have nowhere to live, nowhere to learn and nowhere to drink? Well, we protest, we adapt and we do better than those who came before us for those who come after us.