Meet the Officer Team: Derrick

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*UPDATE: You can now read the second half of our conversation with Derrick 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.

Next up, it’s Derrick Mensah, new VP Student Activities at DSU…

“I always tell people I was meant to be at De Montfort University (DMU),” he said. “We even have the same initials.”

It’s that exact drive – with a hint of a grin – that has seen Derrick get where he is today.


Derrick has been part of countless student groups during his time at DMU.

Born in Ghana, Derrick and his family moved to Southend in Essex when he was 10. “The first person I spoke to at DMU was the DSU President at the time, Ian Warrington, who was from the town next to mine – Rayleigh. It was like it was a sign.”

Since then, Derrick has been a member (and later committee member) of African Caribbean Society, Student Choir and the DMU Steppers as well as trying out for multiple sports teams, and helping numerous other student groups.

“But the number of students at uni compared to the number of students actually engaging in things wasn’t enough for me,” he explained. “When I was growing up in Ghana, when there was a football match the whole school would stop to watch the game.

“When activities were taking place, everyone wanted their school to win and had a personal attachment. If you heard someone talk badly about your school you’d be annoyed.

“I want students to experience that, and see that everyone is supporting one massive goal; something bigger than ourselves on our own.”

And Derrick, who graduated from his Biomedical Science degree last week, knows that the task isn’t a simple one.

He said: “On a personal level, this will be the biggest test of my resolve – I’m either going to get what I want to see done, or I’m not.

“It’s not just about me now, but about the students seeing and receiving what I want to offer and that’ll be the biggest test of me.

“I’ve always been told I’m a leader, but this will be the real test of that. I’m really looking forward to growing as a person in this position.”


Derrick (right) attended the university's first Be the Change event earlier this year alongside new International Students' Representative Usaid Nagaria (left) and new DP Education Mollie Footitt.

So, what does Derrick have planned?

“I want every student to get involved with something that they can take away with them when they leave, and to build memories.

“It’s not just about your degree, because all being well you’ll leave with that whatever happens, but it’s about how you can enhance the skills and life lessons you have.

“Students who have been involved with student groups are so upset when they leave DMU, and you can see the contrast that getting involved with activities has given them. It gives people a sense of belonging.

But Derrick’s biggest goal for the year? Expect to see him in the pool at the Queen Elizabeth II Leisure Centre...

“I’ve been learning to swim since Year Six but never been successful! It’ll be good this year for students to see their VP Student Activities achieve something that he couldn’t do before.

“And if Swim and Tri want me for their Varsity, I’ll be there…

“I hope this will be a good year for everyone, and I’m looking forward to it.”

...read the second half of our conversation with Derrick on the university website here!

You can follow Derrick’s work every step of the way on the students’ union website, and you can follow him on Twitter here.

“I hope this will be a good year for everyone, and I’m looking forward to it.”

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