A STRABANE woman has set her sights on becoming the next president of Queen’s Student Union.
Grian Ní Dhaimhín has put her name forward as a candidate in next month’s student elections and is hoping to secure enough votes to take the top seat.
Grian (22) is a former pupil of Gaelscoil Uí Dhoctartaigh and Holy Cross College and is currently a final year student of history and anthropology at Queen’s.
With a passion for helping others, Grian has been a member of the student council for four years and has also been part of the university senate for two years in a row. She has now decided to take the plunge and run for president.
“I am the first candidate to put my name forward so I am just starting to campaign. From my time in the senate, I am starting to understand the university structure and I have been active in various areas of the university. I feel that I have the experience to work within a broad spectrum of things that I am passionate about.”
Grian believes living conditions, climate change and mental health issues are the biggest problems facing students today.
She said, “We are always hearing how bad living conditions are and how some landlords will hold onto deposits or won’t get back to tenants about fixing things. We are also hearing letting agencies are charging an unlawful application fee which is £30-40 along with your deposit but this is meant to be paid by the landlord. We need our students to be living in safe, affordable, warm and secure conditions.”
Grain also believes that students across the North are in the middle of a mental health epidemic. “At Queen’s alone there are 25,000 students so I think colleges need to stand up to the plate and provide mental health training and increased mental health awareness. During the academic year, students face various pressures and I think we need to be more compassionate with how we deal with mental health issues.”
Grain is concerned about the climate and wants the campus to be carbon neutral by 2030 to help deal with the climate emergency while student finances are also a worry. “Arlene Foster has hinted at the prospect of discussing raising tuition fees so I think we really need to get leaders to fight against that and make sure education is seen as a right.”
Students can vote online on February 24 and 25, and the results will be announced on February 25. To follow Grian and her campaign, visit Vote Grian for Queen’s student union president on Facebook.