UCDSU have conducted a survey on satisfaction rates of staff and students on Smurfit Campus.
Primary findings include a dissatisfaction with connective routes between Smurfit and Belfield campuses, and a wish for more amenities for students on Smurfit campus, including exercise facilities and student common areas.
Smurfit campus largely houses postgraduate business students, and is routinely considered under engaged in student politics - primarily due to its distance and lack of connective routes to Belfield, where most student focused events are held, by both the SU and student societies. However, while Smurfit often has low turnout rates to student elections, the survey garnered 409 responses - for context, the largest turnout in the last in person SU election was Health Science, with 445 valid votes cast in that constituency.
When asked about this survey, the largest of its kind in student memory, Graduate officer Marc Matouc said that he was “happy with the overall engagement of the survey. The work I put in alongside my fellow Class Reps paid off well. We had 409 responses in a survey, which to my knowledge, has never been done before in this broad and direct approach for Smurfit.”
“The most notable findings are that 50% of students feel that they "miss out on the chance to get involved in UCD societies” and "miss out on the opportunity to get involved with Sports/Clubs" this is a strong indicator that Smurfit students are neglected and miss out on school spirit and a well-rounded college experience that they are entitled. This issue is easily spotted when you enter the Smurfit campus, which is often very silent, has no music playing, and has little regular student-oriented activity or amenities to encourage a distinctive student experience there, which I would love to see for students.”
This is compounded upon by the findings that most students arrive to Smurfit by public transport or on foot - forms of transport that do not easily get students from campus to campus. While Smurfit students are indicating a want for more to be invested in their local campus, they are also indicating that they cannot access what’s being provided already on Belfield campus. 50% of respondents say that the connectivity issues between the campuses cause them to miss out on society and club events, and 80% say that they would travel between the campuses more frequently if there was more direct and reliable connectivity between the campuses.
When asked what stood out in particular of the survey’s findings, Matouc said “That my fears were correct! But more importantly, students agree with me, which means profound positive change is possible! I did not want to pop in with the idea without any data, which may have been inaccurate, but when I walked back and forth from Smurfit, I sensed that there was no community atmosphere, and the campus seemed out-of-time mainly, out of touch. I kept getting approached by students who asked me, "Hey! Where's the social life here?" or "Are there any parties around?" which was astonishing to be asked, seeing as these questions are usually given natural qualities at any university. Yet, on the other hand, there's also silence on the campus which, while distressing, gives the impression of the significant potential for it to shine for students. To have felt this social isolation made me want to see how deep the rabbit hole went, and indeed, the survey concluded that significant positive changes need to be made.”