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Former DIT student running for USI presidency

Liberties resident and former president of DIT’s Student Union Glenn Fitzpatrick is running for the position of president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

Glen Fitzpatrick

Glen Fitzpatrick

The Crumlin native studied at DIT Aungier Street, where he became involved with DITSU – DIT’s Student Union. He was elected president of DITSU in 2013. He is currently the USI’s vice-president for campaigns.

The USI is a body which represents over 300,000 students both North and South of the border. It is affiliated with around 40 third-level institutions in Ireland.

Speaking about the issues facing students, which need to be tackled, Mr Fitzpatrick said: “The three big areas I’m focused on are fees, jobs and housing. Students are dealing with a shortage of affordable accommodation and a lack of job prospects, and on top of that they are expected to pay exorbitant fees for something which should be a public good.”

“We have students on the breadline, with no housing, for whom forced emigration may be the only option. We must refuse to accept this”, he said.

He said he believes students’ approach to protesting must be changed. “Students tend to campaign at the time of the budget and then go quiet until that time the next year. We have to be more consistent in our campaigning in order to be effective”, said Mr Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick is a keen activist who has campaigned for students’ rights, as well as same-sex marriage and women’s rights.

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Speaking about this, he said: “People can say it’s only careerism, but I’ve been doing this for years and it’s certainly not for money – it’s because I believe in activism. Activism is not something you do between nine and five; you have to be geared towards dedicating yourself to it.”

Mr Fitzpatrick expressed his gratitude to DITSU for giving him its support in his campaign.

“Thankfully they gave me their support and I’m very grateful for it. It means the world to have my alma mater with me”, he said.

The elections will take place at the USI’s annual congress, from 23-26 March, where representatives from each student’s union affiliated with the USI will be eligible to vote.

 

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