What’s been firing up the kids lately? Climate change? Blasé. Trump? Dead horse. North Korea? God, I hope not.
No, nothing gets the ball rolling in student circles more than the friendly faces down at House Six. But since only the loudest voices get heard, which in this day and age are the people who can muster up the effort to give three-page long public Facebook comments, many can feel that their opinion is drowned out.
In an effort to bridge the gap between students, we gathered a broad a variety of students to give their anonymous opinions on the Trinity College Students’ Union (TCDSU). We hope it’ll give you an insight into a different perspective, but if not, you can always pick out the one you agree with and nod sagely to yourself whilst wilfully ignoring the rest.
Senior Freshman student, Science:
“The SU have their stances, and they are entitled to them democratically, but they are not entitled to force me to be a member of their union, a union which takes stances I fundamentally disagree with. The recent behaviour of the TCDSU has shown no regard or respect to people who don’t agree with them, all they want to do is force their opinions into our lives.”
Senior Freshman student:
“I was surprised at how inclusive the Students’ Union was when I started as a JF Class Rep. Despite regular voting controversy during council meetings, the Union members continued to support student initiatives and welcomed positive changes across the academic disciplines. Taking part in these meetings ignited my interest in college politics, and as a result, I feel more passionate about SU campaigns.”
Junior Freshman student, TSM
“The impact a Students’ Union can have on the lives of the students it serves varies greatly across Irish universities. Before coming to Trinity, I, somehow naively, used to think that SU engagement with students was incredibly high in all college campuses throughout the country. It is only after lengthy discussions with friends that I now realise how misguided this preconception was. The SU are the backbone of life in Trinity, providing a network of support and representation which is unmatched in many other third-level institutions.Unlike the fearsome world of academics and administrative staff, the Union are constantly approachable, friendly-faced and ready to listen. Their participation in student life- from organising social events to safeguarding welfare- infects the college with a vital enthusiasm and appetite for change which is hard to ignore.”
Junior Sophister student, Human Health and Disease
“The Trinity SU are there to listen and to voice the opinions of the student body. In Trinity it is known that the SU is the centre of student life, transforming a group thousands of students into a tight-knit community. I am in the school of medicine and last year I was a class rep. Being involved in the SU showed me how much each individual student is valued; everyone’s voice matters. It is a challenge for those in the SU to connect with the huge number of students. College life is hectic with lectures, assignments, societies and the social aspects. Sometimes the needs of the students can be overlooked. The SU always have their door open for the students and that is heavily emphasised in the weekly emails we receive, in social media and in the events they organise for the students. Without the SU, we the students wouldn’t have a voice.”
Senior Freshman student:
“To the best of my understanding, the purpose of the Students Union is to act as a public representative of the student body, functioning as an instrument intended to enable students to address major issues which impact their daily lives. If this is true, I believe that Trinity Student Union has failed. I have often been enraged in the last year to see Trinity Student Union publicly present their views to media as the common view of the student population, especially when this umbrella of opinion has been contrary to my own. This has happened consistently without consultation. I feel misrepresented by this representative body, which never seems to allow for expression or consideration of student voices if they fail to comply with the “common” student voice. A true representation of the student body should and would include the voices of all students and not just those who shout the loudest. One side should not be lauded as the correct opinion and the voice of the other suppressed for fear of backlash or retribution. I would like to see the SU develop into a safe platform for the voice of all students can be, if not represented in equal proportion, at least considered and acknowledged as relevant.”
Senior Freshman student:
“Don’t have a clue to be honest. I’m late for lunch.”
Junior Sophister student, BESS
“I suppose my opinion on the SU is that I don’t have an opinion. I’m in third year now, and I’ve never really had a reason to dislike them or love them. I’ve voted in every election for the people I thought would do a good job, and to be honest I think they do a good job in the end. To me, the SU are like the organizing and overseeing body of the college and I appreciate all that they do to make college an interesting place. So in the end I can’t say I love or hate them, I guess I’d just thank them for making college somewhat more enjoyable.”