I can't believe it's been so long since my last GMG blog. Perhaps I'm mellowing out? Or am simply ignoring things that annoy me? Or is just that I wasn't arsed to type about anything up till now cos I'm a lazy bastard????? I'll let you figure it out...
Regardless - Issue 17 is here NOW!
Is Student Unions, or more correctly how they work. Don't get me wrong now before I start, I understand the benefits SU's have such as book shops, normal shops, exam help services, study services, counselling, health screening etc. but I'm not working up a sweat over those things. It's the other things....
It has been my experience of SU's, and from the people I've spoken to prior to writing this, that in general SU's seem to think they are more important than they really are, specifically when as a naive first year you may be confused into believing that the SU actually run the college. The best example that comes to mind is the elections, which are easily the most farcical (sp?) display I have ever come across. In my three years now there has been no difference in the manner things are run under the SU. The candidates would lead you believe that they are making a difference, as though they are somehow going to change the world. In fact, they change nothing. All they do is occupy a space, carrying out their respective duties, but they change nothing!! Obviously I have a somewhat biased opinion on this matter, given that I'm an Engineering student and the general consensus is that we (Eng Students) have no time for SU stuff (and by that I mean dedicating time to volunteer to work for them).
Don't confuse what I'm saying with societies, where they generally do change with administration changes. I just can't help but feel that the SU (in general, across all 3rd level institutes) is there simply because it can be there, not because it needs to be there. In my three years here I cannot recount one occasion where I "needed" the SU.
Perhaps the most evident example of how little I care for the SU comes in the shape of the "Coke Ban" - and is in fact the reason I'm writing this blog. No, not "coke" as in cocaine, I'm talking about Coca-Cola. It was my understanding upon going to UCD that Coke was banned outright, little was to know that it is in fact only banned in SU shops, and is widely available in vending machines and other shops across campus. The Coke ban is perhaps the most in-effective thing I have ever seen and the recent "scandal" (parenthesis used for good reason) of Coke being sold in a SU shop has only illustrated how sad the whole thing is. This was such an important item that it made the FRONT PAGE (complete with picture) of the Observer. Furthermore, the President said he was "really shocked" upon hearing the news. What had actually happened was a vending machine attendant was filling the machine, had a few cans left over and offered the staff the cans (FOR FREE) to be sold in the shop!!! I mean how sad can people get to feel offended by this. The majority of the UCD campus doesn't even know why Coke is banned in the first place, and if it's "banned" why can we buy it in the other shops. What a fuckin' joke!
The Coke story in the paper summed up and confirmed just how much of a joke the SU are. I can't take them seriously for anything, do they really think they are making a difference? I also highly disapprove of the SU organisation of protests at practically anything and everything that goes on around campus or in Dublin. If it's not about some politician it's about some former porn-star talking to a society about his/her experiences or some other stuff like that. This falls right back into my GMG about protesting, and it makes me wonder do these people have anything better to do with their time??? I have absolutely no problem with protesting for a just cause, and I certainly don't disapprove of a demonstration regarding fees, but if I cared enough I would go of my own free will, not under the influence of emails and texts sent to me or reminded of in person by speakers that it was on and that we should all go!
The fact that so few people voted over the last 3 years in the elections, and that the majority of those who voted were first years further illustrates just how little the student body cares about how the SU is run, and hence it's existence. I'm not saying it should be eradicated, no, that would take away the good things they do, but I do think they should have a serious reality check, and realise that no one cares. The SU are rarely - if ever - going to change how the college works. The college administration run things, not the SU, and they need to realise this - as do young and naive first year students.
If they didn't act like they were running the world and they are the ultimate source of everything just and righteous things would be fine, but they do. If people have a problem with "Shell to Sea" or whatever let them worry about it in their own time, not sending out emails or posters advising us to storm Dail Eireann and piss people off. It should be illustrated that SU's do not speak for all students.