Gabriel Adewusi, the newly-elected SU access officer, has pledged to increase awareness of the Trinity Access Programmes (TAP), which he said can be misunderstood by the wider college community. As a result, he said, some students can “feel a lot of trepidation in admitting that they have come from a TAP background.”
The senior freshman student was elected as the first SU access officer at the last SU council meeting, which took place on Tuesday 21st October. TAP welcomed the decision to introduce the part-time position, commenting, “This is a great idea as it means that the issues of access students will be represented at Students’ Union and committee level in College giving us all a stronger voice and meaning our issues will be at the forefront.”
Adewusi, a human health and disease student, completed the TAP foundation course before beginning his undergraduate degree at Trinity College. “I am immensely grateful for TAP and I think that TAP is a wonderful resource – one of the best resources that we have on campus,” Adewusi told Trinity News this week. TAP encourages students from socio-economic groups under-represented in higher education to go to university and support them in this endeavour. Adewusi has continued his involvement with TAP as an undergraduate student by visiting local secondary schools as a TAP ambassador. He is also currently a TAP mentor.
Adewusi’s personal motivation for applying for the position was “to help people be more comfortable as TAP students and to raise awareness of TAP in the wider college community.” There are currently over 900 TAP students in Trinity. Adewusi believes that there is a definite need for someone to represent the needs of this significant group within College. The core duties of the position include promoting and publicising access within College, acting as the point of contact between TAP and the SU, and representing access issues at committee level and in relation to policy decisions.
Representatives from TAP have welcomed the introduction of the new role and acknowledged in particular the support they received from the SU sabbatical officers. Dr. Lisa Keane, who oversees post-entry progression and alumni development in TAP, commented, “The main impetus for establishing the role this year was really the backing and support of an excellent SU team, who at the very beginning of their tenure came to TAP to reaffirm their commitment to the area of access.” Dr. Keane noted that the SU president, Domhnall McGlacken-Byrne, is particularly committed to the equality of access. “Domhnall ran on quite a strong access message. It’s nice to see that this is being followed up on,” she added.
The access officer position was established on the eve of the launch of new Strategic Plan. In the Strategic Plan 2014-19, College announced the commitment to increase the percentage of underrepresented groups, including TAP students, enrolled on undergraduate courses to 25% in 2019. Dr. Keane commended the new Strategic Plan, particularly this emphasis on access and the focus on increasing the diversity of the student body. Dr. Keane noted that the commitment to increase the percentage of non-traditional students created a clear message that, “Trinity is for the brightest and the best students, irrespective of background.”
Adewusi will play a key role in organising the SU’s contribution to College Awareness Week, which takes place from November 24th to November 30th.
Photo: Clare Droney