Meet the Officer Team: Jessica

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

First up, it’s Jessica Okwuonu, new VP Welfare and Community at DSU…

“I ran for this role because I feel I’m a very caring person,” she explained. “I love to see smiles on people’s faces and I hate to see anyone sad, or not enjoying their time here.

“If nothing else, students should get a new friend out of the year; me.”

But Jessica, who graduated from her Information Communication Technology course this summer, isn’t just saying it. She knows what it’s like to be on the other side.

“Throughout the whole of my first year, it was like ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, and it got to a point where I refused to leave my room. I would close my curtains and wouldn’t see daylight – it was a really hard time.”

After failing her first year at DMU, Jessica was cleared to repeat the year. “I kept on going through issues,” she said. “But when it got to my second year I started Cheek2Cheek and began to see more benefits, as well as getting involved with the university’s mental health team.

“At the same time, I had friends who were going through similar things to me, so I was a speaker for them.”


Jessica helped set up student volunteering group Cheek2Cheek in her second year at DMU.

Fast forward to July 2017, and not only has Jessica graduated from DMU; but she’s ready for her role as VP Welfare and Community at DSU.

But it was never something that had been part of her plans, until a call from our Student Voice team changed Jessica’s mind…

“I had an email, and then a letter. I didn’t even consider it, and even when I did decide to run, I didn’t think I’d go on to win.

“I spent the whole week of the Elections just talking to people about what I’d like to do, making them smile and making them aware of things which they didn’t know before.

“When I heard my name read out on the night, I was in complete shock. I’d woken up 20 minutes before, strolled in to listen to the result thinking I wasn’t even going to be close.

“I rang everyone I knew telling them yes I’ve done it. I’m so proud.”


Jessica (left) presented Michaela Maginnis with the Student Staff Member of the Year Award at The DSU Awards in May this year.

And Jessica has now got grand plans.

“You’ll love me! I just want to make everyone at the university feel welcome,” she said.

“I don’t want anyone to feel like I did, and don’t want anyone to get to the end of their time here and think ‘I could have done that better’.

“University is the best time of your life; but if you start off on the wrong foot you can really miss out.”

Jessica hopes to introduce DMU students to more life skills such as coping with yourself, mental health and self-management.

“You’ll also get someone who’s prepared to fight your battles for you,” she continued.

Jessica is full of praise for her new colleagues, too. The new Officer Team completed a handover period in June and July to better prepare them for what promises to be an incredible year.

“It’s been really fun so far; we’re coming up with new ideas all the time and deciding what we want to do. Plus, getting to know everybody has been really fun.”

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

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

“If nothing else, students should get a new friend out of the year; me.”

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