DISCUSSIONS are ongoing over a proposal to introduce a single freshers’ handbook which would be published jointly by the university and the Students’ Union (SU) in an effort to replace the two individual handbooks which are printed by both the university and the SU each year. The handbook, which is being proposed by the university’s First Year Committee, will target incoming first years and will merge content from both the UCD Student’s Guide and the SU handbook.
Vice-President for Students, Dr Martin Butler, explained that the benefits of merging the two handbooks would be financial and would make important information more accessible to new students. “It’s been decided for economic reasons, for efficiency reasons and even for not to snow the students under in a vast amount of data,” said Dr Butler.
Stating that there is a strong overlap of information between the two publications, Dr Butler explained that this duplication is unnecessary and this is the main reason both bodies are moving to amalgamate their guides. Both handbooks currently cover “student support, getting involved, the sports facilities, where to go in terms of getting help… it covers everything”, stated Mr Butler. “There must be a 95 per cent overlap in the two guides so whether we distribute it or if the SU distribute it, there must be a way of synchronising both documents.”
SU Campaigns and Communications Officer, Dan O’Neill, who is responsible for the publication of the SU handbook, responded stating that he had not yet heard of the idea. He argued that next year’s SU officers would be more involved with the new handbook however he commented that he did not expect his successor, Paddy Ryan, to have been informed of the discussions yet due to his current academic pressures.
The university have moved to produce a “much slimmer version” of their current student guide, which will be sent to students who receive a formal offer letter from UCD. Dr Butler spoke of his aim to cut out any unnecessary information out of the publication and ensure much of the material in the guide will now appear online on the UCD website.
The SU originally produced one student handbook per year but this year, decided to print three guides on a trial basis. The second SU handbook was released at the beginning of February.