National News in Brief

Smoke free campuses to become the norm THERE is an expected increase in smoke free college campuses across Ireland, according to a seminar held in the Royal College of Surgeons on the 9th of November. The seminar was organised by ASH Ireland, an anti-tobacco group with the aim of reducing tobacco use in Ireland. The goal of this initiative is for colleges in Ireland to follow the examples of Athlone IT and Westport College, which have successfully established themselves as smoke free colleges.TCD and UCD have also implemented a smoke free campus ban: no outlet on the UCD campus supplies cigarettes or tobacco in any form. This new smoking ban hopes to not only decrease tobacco use but to also limit the damage of second hand smoking on campus. Smoke from tobacco contains more than 7000 chemicals and 70 of those are carcinogenic. 2,500,000 people have died from second hand smoke since 1964.ASH chairman, Dr. Patrick Dooley spoke at the seminar commenting: “we want to encourage and assist other colleges in pursuing a ‘smoke-free campus’ policy. In the United States over 1,700 third level colleges have gone smoke-free and with remarkable success.” TCD Student’s Union votes to adopt a mandate against fracking Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union council voted to mandate the union to adopt a negative stance against the controversial topic of fracking. The practice involves the drilling of rocks in order to obtain gas and oil and bring it to the surface. Large amounts water, sand, and volatile organic compounds such as ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene are pumped into the rocks at high pressure.Fracking is widely used in the US and has been credited as a major advantage due to allowing greater access to oil whilst also increasing employment opportunities. However, the environmental effects of fracking have been the cause of much dispute and debate as it is proven to cause gas leaks, water contamination and earthquakes whilst also impacting climate change due to methane pollution.Laura Killeen, TCDSU’s convenor for the faculty of Health Sciences, argued against the suggestion that this issue had little relevance to students adding that students should fight for a “better future.”This follows a recent trend of students’ unions mandating for specific political issues. In March 2013 NUIGSU adopted a Pro-Choice policy in regards to the issue of abortion with 70% of the votes cast in favour of the policy, a decision echoed by UCD last month. University of Limerick opens new TV studio A new television station opened in the University of Limerick earlier this month. The addition is part of the expansion of the journalism department, costing €25,000. The aim of the studio is to prepare students for a career in journalism and the studio is fully equipped with backdrop equipment, lighting and industry standard cameras.Bryan Dobson, RTE presenter and the university’s Adjunct Professor in Public Service Broadcast Journalism was at the university to open it. Whilst speaking at the event, Dobson praised the new station and discussed how journalism has progressed over the past few decades.UL is now one of many Irish colleges to have their own broadcasting station. UCD’s Belfield FM is live from Monday to Friday during term. UCD TV is the student run TV station, offering students the chance to get involved in researching, presenting, journalism, scripting and producing. While in Dublin City University a fully functioning TV studio is available for the use of Journalism and Media students.