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DSU dues causing DSU blues?  

Every Dalhousie University student pays mandatory dues to the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU.) The policy of the DSU dictates that every student is part of the student union after paying their dues.  

For many students it’s a waste of money.  

The population of Dalhousie University is 19,831. Each student with individual interests, needs, wants, and financial abilities. There are definitely students who take full advantage of the DSU and participate in the events and the health plan. But with such a large and diverse student population, not every student is interested in being an active member of the student union. All of the students I interviewed on the street said that there should be an option to opt-out of the student union fees.  

Students like Charlotte Burke, an off campus Dal student, think that there should be an option to opt-out of the union. “The DSU does a lot for the on campus kids, but neglect the off campus kids a lot,” she said.  

Many of the students don’t know what the DSU does, who they are, or what they were paying them for.  

It’s clear the DSU’s intentions are good in wanting every student to be part of the union  but not every student feels apart of it, or they show no interest in being a part of it.  

Whether the DSU is completely worth it, is up to the individual.  

There are students who don’t know about the DSU some that don’t have an interest in being involved, as well as students who struggle financially where even smaller fees can add up. They all have no choice but to pay the student union fee. It would be ideal, for them, to have the option to opt-out.  

With dues being mandatory, it’s unfortunate that students don’t know what the DSU does for them and don’t feel apart of the student union.  

For some students the DSU is an important asset to university life.  

Those students take full advantage of all the programs and events that they provide. In that situation the fees are worth it, and something that many students would be happy to pay. Most of the people who seem to get the most out of the DSU are students who live on campus.  

Off-campus students tend to feel less involved or neglected; Dal is still home to many off-campus students and they – ideally – should be getting as much out of the DSU as the on-campus students. Or at least have the option to not pay the fee if they do if they feel they are not getting their money’s worth.  

Another concern expressed: students don’t know where their money is going.  

They have no idea if it is going towards things that they will be benefiting from like student events and societies. Or if their money is going towards other expenses like personal development of the DSU executive. 

These factors play a role into whether students feel good about paying the student union fees. If their money goes towards expenses that will benefit them as students then they may feel happier to pay the fees.  

The DSU dues should not be a mandatory fee because not all students benefit from or use the programs. Fees such as health care and the U-Pass aren’t mandatory because not all students need or have interest in using those, the same should be applied to the student union fee and students should have the option to opt-out. 


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