THE THIRD and final Freshers’ handbook will not be published in April due to a lack of available finances. The guide, which had been planend for release near the end of the semester, will not be going ahead due to unforeseen financial costs experienced by the Students’ Union (SU).
SU Campaigns and Communication Officer, Dan O’Neill, outlined “a number of reasons” why he has decided not to publish a final handbook, as planned, but particularly highlighted a “lack of finances” as a contributing factor.
Mr O’Neill denied that the lack of adequate finances was due to budgeting errors on the SU’s behalf but rather a result of unforeseen costs that could not have been incorporated at the start of the year, particularly the cost of funding the anti-fees campaign and the UCD ball.
“When we budgeted for the year we didn’t foresee the expenditure that the fees campaign would require,” explained Mr O’Neill. “We’ve had to cut back on a few other things so that we can still go ahead with our various campaigns and the UCD Ball.”
In previous years, only one Freshers’ Guide was published. However, the current SU instigated a pilot scheme involving the creation of three slightly smaller publications over the course of the year. Mr O’Neill has now admitted that “this was a mistake and I’d definitely suggest that next year they don’t do it.”
“If I could go back in time I wouldn’t go ahead with this the way I did this year,” stated Mr O’Neill. “If I could do it all again, I’d have one Fresher’s Guide at the beginning of the year and then much smaller magazines, similar to a What’s On guide, with campaign updates in it.”
This was not the first difficulties the SU has faced with their pilot scheme. The second instalment of the Freshers’ Handbook which was due out last November was delayed for two months before being released in March. Mr O’Neill, however, vehemently denies that this initial delay had any knock on effect on the final handbook.
The are currently prosposals to replace the SU Freshers’ Guide with a student handbook, which is to be published jointly by the university and the SU in September 2009.