One of UCD’s resounding succeses over the past two years has been the student-lead Please Talk campaign. An incredibly simple, yet powerfully effective campaign, Please Talk appeared to be embraced by students in a way that few awareness campaigns are. It can be argued that more UCD students were impassioned by and participated in Please Talk than the ‘No to Fees’ campaign which is being so strongly pushed by the Students’ Union at the moment.
Despite questioning those overseeing the re-launch of Please Talk, The University Observer has yet to discover a justifiable reason for its disappearance from concourse. The importance of a campaign which actively encourages students to reach out to friends, lecturers or counsellors in a time of stress, desperation or depression cannot be underestimated. For those students who have recently left home, moved in with strangers and are struggling to keep their heads above academic water, the effects that Please Talk potentially has are invaluable.
It would appear that almost no effort has been made to maintain the campaign within UCD’s gates. Students are not asking for another balloon launch or events that are catered for the attention of the national media. A simple poster run once a week by the Students’ Union and class representatives stands to have a huge effect, and could make the walls of academic buildings a little brighter, while offering some reassurance to students who are feeling overwhelmed.
Those who have worked to bring Please Talk to the national stage should be congratulated, however they should also be questioned as to why this has come at a cost of publicising the campaign amongst its original audience, the students of UCD. It may sound unsophisticated, but the posters, banners and badges which flooded campus in the campaign’s first year should be just as present now as they once were. The lack of promotion of such a beneficial yet uncomplicated campaign cannot be explained with excuses, as those involved know well. Putting up a poster following an interview is not quite enough.
The students of UCD shouldn’t have to wait until the second semester for a re-launch of a campaign which was only launched nationally last year, following an introduction the year beforehand. With HSE and university funding, there simply is no excuse to wait until the middle of the second semester to begin Please Talk again.
The success of Please Talk brought a warm and welcoming reputation to UCD and has helped a vast number of students while the efforts of both the university and student body have been recognised on a national scale. It is simply an embarrassment that we appear to have let such a valuble service slip away so easily.
The University Observer stand by the role and sheer importance of full editorial independence in student media. Student publications have a responsibility to their readers to print unbiased, relevant stories, and this duty should not be infringed upon by anyone.
Both of UCD’s student newspapers enjoy full editorial independence, and it is of this vital quality that all our readers and contributors should be proud. The mere idea that any member of the university community would attempt to tamper with this freedom, or to go so far as to intimidate a member of the student press is simply appalling.
Political or financial pressure, should it occur, must be rejected in favour of the best interests of our readers, the students of UCD. It is solely for the benefit of students that both of the university’s newspapers operate and this should remain so, without any fear of unjustified interruptions.