Student Levy Referendum: Vote Yes
UCD’s campus offers its students some of the best facilities in Ireland, but it can do better. More room for societies, more space for sports, more time for gym members. UCD’s population has increased from 21,140 students in 2005/06 to 33,973 students in 2017/18 but its facilities have not always kept pace with this growth. The 1996 and 2006 levies pushed UCD students to the forefront of their many pursuits. Voting to maintain this levy means voting to stay in front. In 2006 students took a leap of faith and we are the ones that have reaped the rewards of this leap. We don’t want to be responsible for stagnating the progress of our campus. We want to become a part of this legacy and take that leap for the students that follow us. Future generations of UCD students should come into a better campus than we did, not the same one. Many of us come to UCD because of what it offers for sports, music, drama, debating and countless other activities. Our college is a cut above the rest of Ireland’s Universities (most of which have now adopted a levy) and that is where we want to keep it. Getting to the top required students before us to be brave and support ambitious plans, staying at the top will require us to be equally brave come April 1st and 2nd.
Voting yes secures the future of UCD student facilities and is the beginning of the next step for an ever-improving campus. If you are a musician, you will have more rehearsal space and exhibition space; if you are a sports person you will have more halls, courts, pitches and sport specific space to train and compete; if you are a performer, you will have more opportunities to act, dance, sing and display your skills; if you aspire to take your club or society to the next level, you will have more room to gather, socialise, plan and build; if you seek balance and a healthy lifestyle, you will have more gym space, more gym classes, more room to meditate and to step away from the hustle and bustle of college life; if you simply wish to spend time with friends, to play a game of tip-rugby, to have a picnic on the grass, you will be given even more space to do so. This is a campus for us, it will stay a campus for us, but we must be Always Moving Forward.
A college is not just a campus, it is not just a physical place, it is its people, its alumni, its staff, its current students and its future students who aspire to be part of it. UCD students come from all over Ireland and all across the world. You can study online, you can take courses from your living room, but as students of UCD that is not enough. We want to connect face to face. Our college’s motto is ‘Ad Astra’, meaning ‘To the Stars’. UCD aspires to develop the next generation of Irish leaders, be they teachers, business people, carers, politicians, writers, poets, farmers, scientists, doctors, judges, entrepreneurs or anything else in between, but to be successful we need the space and the facilities to gather and practice and display our work. We have been able to reach for the stars thanks to those who voted yes before us, let’s allow those who come after us to do the same.
This vote will be our legacy, it is what we leave behind. Be Brave, Always Move Forward, Vote Yes.
Rebuttal to the Vote No Campaign’s argument:
When you come to UCD you choose to come to one of the best campuses, if not the best campus in Ireland. The levy has funded large amounts of the facilities and services we use daily. We are ahead of other Universities as we adopted a levy earlier and used it effectively. Most other Universities in Ireland incl. UCC, Trinity and UL have now adopted a levy in an attempt to catch up.
The University exists to provide us with a formal education. The levy exists to provide us with a social education.
The levy legally cannot increase without the consent of elected student leaders, specifically the SU President. This is a vote to continue the levy, not to increase it.
The existing Health Centre has doubled in size since 2012 and was entirely revamped in 2013/14. It is at most a 2 minute walk from the original proposed site.
UCD’s population has increased by over 10,000 students in the last 15 years, this will continue to rise. The students of today are rehearsing in stairwells and on landings. Unable to book meeting rooms due to other society/club bookings. In semester 1 2018/19, a total 1% (26/2110) of bookings in the Student Centre were external parties.
We agree, exam stress, assignments, busy schedules and many more things that come with being a student can adversely affect mental health, but the facilities and services provided by the levy are one of the few things that counter these stresses, positively impacting students. A Free Gym, Free Fitness classes, a Theatre, a Cinema, a Debating Chamber, the Red Couches, Pitches, all of these enhance our mental well-being. Being involved with clubs/ societies, gathering, sharing ideas, making friends, being healthy and active are vital experiences in a UCD student’s life. The levy allows future students to have the same positive experiences, the experiences we now benefit from thanks to the students who went before us.
Let’s do the right thing and not let this be the problem of tomorrow. It is our obligation to the future student of UCD to give them a home they deserve to fulfil their potential. Vote Yes.
By Max Murphy – Vote Yes Campaign