THE new president of Atlantic Technology University (ATU) Students’ Union Donegal has said he will use his role to fight for accommodation and inclusion rights.
Letterkenny man Edward Grant took up his new role recently.
Merging Galway-Mayo IT, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and IT Sligo, the new ATU opened on April 1, becoming one of the largest multi-campus universities in Ireland. Students graduating in the current academic year will do so with university-level qualifications.
Speaking to the Donegal News, the 21-year-old said student accommodation looks set to continue to be a major issue facing many, with more demand than availability predicted.
“A huge difficulty this year is going to be accommodation for students. We already know that there is more demand than availability. We won’t know the situation exactly until the CAO offers are available but we are preparing for an influx of accommodation issues.
“We know students who have been made homeless due to landlords deciding to sell their property. This has had a negative impact on their studies and experience. Letterkenny is now a university town and we need to ensure we have the accommodation to match it.”
The former Welfare Officer said he has a passion for equality. He is no stranger to campaigning as his mum, Gina Grant, was one of a number of women involved in advocacy group, ‘Our Children’s Voice’. The group fought for the rights of children with special and additional needs and lobbied for better services and facilities.
“There are over 20,000 students in ATU from its Killybegs campus to Mayo. With the merge, I also want to ensure that at the core of ATU is inclusion for all, inclusion in areas of diversity and intellectual disabilities. It is a slow process but funding has been announced in this regard. I want to ensure inclusion is at the core of what we are doing and that it will be imbedded into the fabric of the ATU moving forward.”
Edward is currently on the second year of a sabbatical break after which he will return to his studies in Bio and Analytical Science.
“I am interested in the genetics route as my youngest sibling Francis has a genetic disorder but for now I am currently enjoying a short stop off in politics,” he said.
Edward said his family are incredibly pleased for him. He thanked them for their unwavering support.
“My family are very proud, they have been very supportive. My role has definitely been celebrated in the house. When taking on such a role which involves so much it is important to have a strong support network and I am lucky to have that,” he said.
Anyone who can help in terms of student accommodation is asked to contact Edward on 0867702700 or see Donegal ATU social media platforms