News In Brief

UCD Ball confirmed

The UCD Ball will take place on the final day of the second semester, Friday the 20th of April 2012. A letter was presented at last week’s Students’ Union Council confirming the agreement of the date and location with UCD authorities.

The 2011 UCD Ball was cancelled and rescheduled at late notice due to disagreements between the Students’ Union and UCD authorities. Students’ Union Entertainments Officer Stephen Darcy assured the University Observer that this would not be an issue, “there was a miscommunication between the relevant authorities in UCD about the campus being closed but that’s been completely ironed out this year. What happened last year is one hundred per cent not happening this year”.

Students are encouraged to suggest and vote for acts they would like to see on the SU Ents’ Facebook page. Promotion for the event will begin before Christmas and tickets will be on sale early next semester.

Welfare Fund Increased

The Student Welfare Fund has managed to secure increased levels of funding this semester.  Kylemore have pledged additional money to the fund, while there has also been a “significant increase” in money from State sources.

Students’ Union Welfare Officer Rachel Breslin attributed the increase to higher demand due to grant cuts and explained that both the UCD SU and the USI have been lobbying the Government on students’ behalf.

“Certainly that the feedback from all the universities across the country is that this situation is getting worse for students. Finally the government has shown that they’re acknowledging that and that was where the money came from. There’s no denying that there are more and more students applying for the fund and that’s what the fact is, so it really had to happen.”

The funding, which comes both from the Government and the European Social Fund is divided between HEAR (Higher Education Access Route), the Student Assistance Fund and the Welfare Fund. The Welfare Fund meets every fortnight and is designed to help with unexpected events. The Student Assistance Fund covers students with an on-going need for assistance. Applications for this year are open from now until November the 15th.

Slán Abhaile Receives UCD Backing

The SU Welfare scheme, Slán Abhaile, has received the full support of the UCD authorities, including financial backing and coverage for all bad debts incurred by the program.

The scheme, announced at the start of the semester, is a program whereby students can get a taxi home and pay the fare at a later date. A student’s details, including student number and phone number, will be registered in a system set up for the scheme. Once a student rings Wini-cabs, the taxi company through which the system is being run, they receive a text with a code, which is recorded by the driver. This allows the fare to be charged to the account that the SU have with the taxi company, in the student’s name.

“The way the technical system works” Students’ Union Welfare Officer Rachel Breslin explains, “is we have to have a float in the account. So [UCD] are going cover the float to make sure there’s always enough money in the account to make sure that people can get home that night.”

A reported 1,500 students have already signed up to the scheme, although some names remain unverified. To be included in the taxi scheme, your student card must be verified by the Student’s Union to ensure the security of the program. Card verification will take place on Wednesday, November 2nd from 11am to 3.30pm. The scheme is scheduled to go live in the next two to three weeks.