UCDSU to introduce an exam stand at Newman as well as the RDSUCD Students’ Union are planning to run a second exam stand in the Newman Building this exam period, which will go alongside the exam stand they run at the RDS exam centre.Following feedback the union has received in relation to how students found their service at the Christmas exams; Education Officer Lexi Kilmartin is planning changes for the upcoming summer exams.Kilmartin ran a survey on the SU website for which she got 83 responses (there are approximately 32,000 students enrolled in UCD). Of the respondents; 65% visited the stand, 12% were in a different exam centre, 17% didn’t visit the stand and 6% didn’t know it was there.The main comment on the survey was the lack of a SU presence on UCD campus during the exam period. The SU has never been present on campus during the exam period but Kilmartin is changing that this year.“It’s not going to be as big and there aren’t going to be as many people at it. Given the majority of students are in the RDS that’s our priority” said Kilmartin.Students had flagged the need for a SU stand in UCD before the semester one exams but there wasn’t time to implement them.Several hundred people sit their exams in UCD instead of the RDS. The new UCD stand will have pens, pencils, sweets and calculators on loan; the same as the one in RDS. One person will man the stand and Roisin O’Mara, UCDSU Welfare Officer, will have authority over it.“During first semester Roisin made a case for staying on campus during exams” said Kilmartin. “Students in Newman are possibly more likely to need welfare support given that a lot of the people that’d be in that centre might be there because they have anxiety or phobia of exams or things like that. So, we thought it’d make more sense to have a welfare officer down there” Kilmartin added.The SU are also trying to organise puppy cuddling outside the library however this has not been confirmed.
Changes to RDS Stand85% of survey participants felt that it was worthwhile to have a SU stand at the RDS exam centre.According to the survey most people visit the stand to get a pen or a pencil. Kilmartin also said that students can also get sweets or other food at the stand, they can have a chat or ask a question. Students can also borrow a calculator.In terms of improving the service, a chill-out zone was the most popular suggestion, followed by puppy cuddling and yoga. People also suggested cheaper coffee, goody bags, healthier food and drink and energy drinks.Kilmartin also said that people wanted a shuttle bus after the six o’clock exam. The bus service has been extended to a final pick up time of 5.45pm (before it was 5.15pm). However there still won’t be a pick-up service after the 6 o’clock exam to bring students back to UCD as this would greatly increase the costs of the service.“It goes the over the legal amount to working time” Kilmartin explained. “An additional driver would have meant it would cost about twice the amount and for the number of students who actually avail of the service at those times and given how close UCD is to the RDS we thought just financially it wasn’t feasible for us to do that and keep the service free.”The SU are planning to create a chill out zone outside Simmonscourt. “We want to do something similar to Mind, Body and Soul except smaller so we want to do an outdoor area with a marquis” said Kilmartin. Kilmartin hopes to be able to run a yoga or zumba class in the hour breaks between the exams at set times every day.“Hopefully that’ll be in place for the summer exams” she said but she is still waiting for the approval of UCD assessment.The SU Stand will also be better sign posted for the summer exams as some participants of the survey didn’t know the stand was there.