Last week, Maynooth students voted overwhelmingly to rejoin the Union of Students in Ireland with a whopping 74.2% voting YES. In the second part of the Referendum, students also voted yes to a three year trial period in which NUIM will use the time to see if membership of USI is worthwhile.
The landslide Yes vote proves that the Yes campaign did a very excellent job in coming up with the facts (and benefits) that USI will bring to Maynooth, but what are these for those that do not know? We all know that it adds €5 to our registration fee but for that we receive:
1. National Representation: On issues such as Fees, registration fees and grants, Irish students are far stronger with a unified voice under the banner of USI. It gives us access to resources, information and money that as lone universities we would never be able to obtain. NUIM Su would be unable to present such a strong and coherent voice on its own.
2. Sabbatical Training: USI provides expert training and advice to SU sabbatical officers who enter a job they have never done before. Their opponents are a well established and strong bureaucracy. USI therefore gives each Students Union, and the students it represents the opportunity to not be overwhelmed by the university system and allows its SU representatives to work for the students and not against them.
3. Campaigns: USI will provide materials for various campaigns such as SHAG Week, Mental Health Week etc and other campaigns that Irish students are involved in. This is all free of charge and each Union does not lose its own autonomy in the running of these campaigns.
While USI membership holds various other advantage to Irish Students, it does not impose any of its views on the individual students. While the NO campaign used scare tactics that were by far pathetic and petty, Maynooth happily saw through the farce and embraced the entering into a National Union.
This Observer, like many students of NUI Maynooth look forward to working with and being a member of USI and may we strife towards a fairer and better life for University Students nationwide. May Maynooth be an example for those few remaining outside USI that a national Union is the only way for a strong voice for every student. I look forward to the coming weeks.
Please feel free to give your own views and opinions on USI. The address as always is