*UPDATE: You can now read the second half of our conversation with Ahtesham on the DMU website here.*
Summer is always an exciting time at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU), as we look forward to welcoming the new Officer Team who will #LeadYourDSU.
But who are they, and what makes them tick? All of this week, we’ll be featuring stories with the new team, and seeing what they’ve got planned for 2017/18.
Last (but by no means least), it’s Ahtesham Mahmood, new President of DSU…
“This year is the fulfilment of a goal I first had when I came to De Montfort University (DMU),” he explained. “As soon as I found out there was an Officer Team here to represent students, I knew it was for me, and I’ve been working towards this point to make sure I can do the best job I can.”
And while each other member of the Officer Team has a well-defined remit – be it academic representation or the general wellbeing of students at DMU – the President’s role as a figurehead of the tens of thousands of students is much more broad.
Ahtesham steps up from his VP Student Activities role to become President of DSU this year.
“My role is to really get the team out there and make sure the student voice is being heard,” Ahtesham explained. “It’s all about making sure your time at DMU is the best it possibly can be.
“Most importantly, my role is to really encourage our student body, whether new or old, to really get engaged with the students’ union and really communicate all of the benefits that we can bring to make sure you’re not just leaving with a degree but with a life-changing experience that has truly benefited you in so many different ways.”
Ahtesham, like VP Media and Communications Mike Mayes, is also moving into his second year as a full-time executive, stepping up from overseeing sports clubs, societies and volunteering at DSU.
He continued: “Throughout my time as VP Student Activities I had the privilege of working alongside the university to deliver on our shared aim of an exceptional student experience, and having already formed those relationships I hope to build on those this year.
“I’m also looking forward to forming new bonds as well.
“What I find really comforting is that while we may be separate organisations, both the students’ union and university are working towards one common aim; making sure students have the best time at DMU possible.”
Ahtesham also lent his support to the university's #LoveInternational Vigil in February.
So, what’s Ahtesham’s message for students?
“I want to inspire our students to be brave. This [university] experience is something very different; but it can be everything you’ve ever heard it can be.
“Embrace everything, take it in your stride and be brave enough to add volunteering, getting involved with the students’ union and even look at going on a placement or trip with #DMUglobal.”
As President, Ahtesham will also oversee the work of the four other full-time executive officers as well as seven part-time liberation representatives – a record number for DSU – that cover individual groups from postgraduate students to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The team is great so far,” he said. “There’s a really nice mix of different personalities, and while that brings great strength to the team there’s also the challenge of working out how everyone works best so that we can get the most productive elements out of one another.”
“I passed a motion last year to get a new Postgraduate Students’ Representative position, and I can’t wait to unite the team and start off as a 12 for the first time ever.”
...read the second half of our conversation with Ahtesham on the university website here!
You can follow Ahtesham’s work every step of the way on the students’ union website, and you can follow him on Twitter here.
“This year is the fulfilment of a goal I first had when I came to DMU.”