DCU Labour’s Campaign for YES to USI

Author : Michael O’Connor | Chairperson DCU Labour

In recent weeks a referendum was held in Dublin City University. The referendum was held to give DCU students the option to maintain the University’s student union’s affiliation with the Union of Students in Ireland, or to disaffiliate the DCU SU from USI. One of these campaigns was the “yes to USI” campaign, and the other was the “DCU Labour Youth says yes to USI” campaign.

With extensive support from USI personnel, both campaigns worked closely together which proved to be a very positive experience for all involved. The campaigning took the form of announcements to class groups before the start of lectures, distribution of leaflets, distribution of posters specific to each campaign, and on foot campaigning across the various DCU campuses. With the experience provided by the USI volunteers, this proved to be a hugely beneficial learning experience for those who would have been less familiar with this level of campaigning.

With a looming deadline for poles to open, campaign managers as well as USI volunteers were compelled to attend information meetings across the DCU campuses. These meetings were organised for students who wished to inform themselves on the upcoming referendum. While the attendance at these meetings was relatively low, the feedback received was that the exercise was helpful to those in attendance.

Due to a cross organisational campaign, extensive support from USI, and assistance provided by external branches of Labour Youth, the final result of the referendum vote was a majority in favour of maintaining the DCU Student Union’s affiliation with USI. The result itself was a record breaking return with the remain vote comprising 94% of all votes cast. This result is the highest majority vote recorded in the history of Dublin City University.

On a personal level I found that taking part in this campaign was a hugely positive experience and one which I have learned a large amount of skills from. I very much enjoyed working with other students in the college from outside the Labour Youth society and also collaborating with USI. I would highly recommend to students in other colleges that if there is a similar referendum to be held in their own third level institution to take as active an interest as possible. USI affiliation is a critical component of the nationwide student movement.

Divided we are weak, united we are strong.