The two-day campaign period in the referendum on a new student centre has finished today, with voting taking place tomorrow and Thursday. Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) are proposing to build a €6.7m student centre for the college, covering 1,000m2.
The referendum proposes implementing a levy of €30 per year on each student starting in September 2019 to fund construction, with exemptions for those on financial hardship. The levy is set to run for 22 years. If approved, the centre must be built within five years. If passed, the first two years of funding will be put towards upgrading existing spaces with improvements starting this summer.
The proposed centre will contain a common area for all students accessible all day, multipurpose rooms for event space, break-out spaces, accessible offices for TCDSU officers as well as microwaves and kitchenettes for the use of students. The levy will also be used to fund new student spaces off campus in D’Olier Street, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) and Tallaght Hospital, as well as the existing student spaces in St James Hospital. In addition, the fund would also improve the 1937 Reading Room and provide accessible offices for the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU).
A previous proposal by TCDSU for a student centre failed in 2011. When asked why he expected this proposal to succeed, TCDSU President Kieran McNulty noted how the two referendums were “significantly different” with the previous proposed levy being €80, and at that time College was considering paying for the centre. McNulty stated that the exact location of the centre would not be known until June but that 1000m2 of space has been promised by College.
When asked why students should vote for the proposal McNulty said he believes “the centre is necessary for the simple fact that students don’t have a home in TCD” pointing out that “people have to sit on the floor for lunch”.
Voting takes place on Wednesday from 12pm to 2pm in D’Olier Street and TBSI, Thursday from 12pm to 2pm in St. James’, and Wednesday from 9am till 7pm and Thursday from 9am till 5pm in the Arts Building and the Hamilton.