Gateway Student Village makes changes for upcoming academic year

Gateway Student Village is taking new initiatives in the upcoming academic year in an effort to “be a leader in student accommodation,” said Mike Russell, a representative of Gateway.

Russell, his brother John and Peter Donnelly, three of  Gateway Student Village’s largest shareholders, set up four different categories of objectives to achieve this goal including: respect, engagement, innovation and sustainability.

This will mean Gateway will have no fines as part of their respect policy.

Gateway had a €100 fine for losing keys and a €500 fine for messing with the fire extinguisher. Due to a new system using electronic key cards the lost key fines will discontinue and the inappropriate use of the fire extinguisher will be dealt with by other means of discipline that have yet to be finalised.

“We have long history of dealing with students,” said Mike Russell, whose parents also ran a student accommodation business in the past, “And what we have learned is that if we respect students and trust them to make good decisions, we get a lot more back from them and they respect us in return.”

Gateway also began a partnership with Toyota Ireland in January in which Toyota provides the accommodation centre with five cars that students can sign-out and use for errands or travel.

As part of their engagement objectives, Gateway aims to become more involved with DCU students outside of their residence. Gateway began working on this goal this year by gaining  sponsorship from DCU Drama Society, Rugby, Boxing, and other DCU programmes. “Gateway’s DNA is DCU,” said John Russell.

“Ireland is becoming a more popular destination for international education, so we rented approximately 350 rooms from Gateway for the upcoming summer months for students taking part in our programme,” said Niall Martin, Sales Manager of DCU’s Language Services, about Gateway’s engagement with the college during the summer months.

To achieve their goal of innovation, Gateway plans on having monthly meetings with their residents for new student-driven ideas.

Gateway is also working closely with Samantha Fahy, DCU’s Sustainability Officer, to make their property more energy-conservative. This includes solar panel installation to reduce electricity usage as well as a new energy usage system connected to an app which will let students know how much energy they are using and in what devices. Each apartment has a monthly allowance of  €120 for energy costs and students are expected to pay extra if their apartment runs over.

“It’s great to see them go to such efforts to put such practical and useful measures for students,” said Gateway resident Bridget Fitzhenry, “The only downside is that the monthly allowance for electricity can run out quite quickly so some apartments have to top up by an extra €20 or so per month.”

Kyle Ewald

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