UCDSU have reopened their shop in the Engineering building, following its closure during the 2021/22 academic year. This move is coupled with the Student Union reducing the opening hours of the UCDSU Sports and Library shops.
The initial closure of the Engineering shop last year came due to budget constraints following losses after campus closures, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The shop remained closed until the end of August 2022, when it reopened along with the Library and Sports shops, which had ceased operations for the summer season.
The closure of the shop left Engineering students without any hot food or drink options in their building, with the next closest options being the Sutherland and Newman building. Speaking to the University Observer, UCDSU President Molly Greenough said, “We’re delighted to see it open, but I’d say there’s no demographic more excited than the engineering students. [...] We’re really delighted to have all three shops open, and I suppose this year we really want to hammer home the messaging that the SU shops are intertwined, literally, in that obviously they’re a subsidiary company of the union, but beyond that, they go support all our messaging, and we really want to tell staff and students that when they are buying something in the SU shop, not only are they getting great deals and tasty food, any profits that are generated go directly back into student activities and providing supports to students.”
Coupled with the reopening of the Engineering shop is the reduction of the opening hours for the Library and Sports shops. Students may have already noticed their reduced operating hours, with the Library shop now closing at 5pm, and the Sports shop closing at 4:30pm, a reduction on their hours from last year, which were already reduced from pre-pandemic hours.
On the reduction, Greenough clarified, “It is our intention to increase our opening hours in the UCDSU Shops over the course of the coming weeks and months to respond to student needs. We need to manage our opening hours in a sustainable way, ensuring that we have the correct amount of staff in place at every stage.” So the option that the hours may increase to meet rising student demand, particularly in the busy exam season for the Library shop, is still on the cards.
As last year saw an overall lull in student engagement, despite the partial reopening of campus, the 2022/23 academic year will be a key year in establishing how campus culture and business will move forward in a post pandemic world, including the SU shops.