Want to have a say on how your students’ union is run? Well, here at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) we’re on the lookout for one driven student to become our new student trustee!
Ahtesham Mahmood, VP Student Activities at DSU and President-elect, was a student trustee whilst he was a student at DMU.
As a student trustee, he sat in on five meetings a year with representatives from both DSU and De Montfort University (DMU) to help inform them of the needs of students.
He explained: “In a nutshell, [the role is] just about assisting the union to represent the needs of the students to the university.”
As a registered charity, DSU has a board of trustees made up of industry experts and both past and present DMU students who volunteer their time to oversee the work that we do to make student life unforgettable.
Ahtesham continued: “When I was a student trustee I sat on the governing board with alumni trustees, external trustees and sabbatical trustees, and we collectively sat together to discuss topics in hand such as how we see the union going in five years’ time or any issues with the sustainability of the union.
“They’re the kind of areas that I got involved in, but the primary goal was to make sure anything that we discuss comes with a student angle as well.
“A student trustee is there to make sure that students are represented in every single matter discussed.”
Ahtesham held the role for two years before taking on the role of VP Student Activities, and explained that it was a great opportunity to find out how key matters are discussed and then decided on.
The Trustee Board is scrutinised by students at our Annual General Meeting. Read more about our last AGM here.
“One thing that I really liked about the role is hearing how things are discussed because you have people, external trustees and alumni, from different backgrounds,” he continued.
“There are some from marketing, some from legal, some are accountants, and because there’s such a diverse group there they all bring such different experience.
“The one thing I really enjoyed is hearing how problems or issues or goals for the future are picked apart or put together and hearing so many different angles.
“Some of the trustee members are just so experienced that they have the foresight or the knowledge just to turn something on its head and give a completely different angle on it.”
Ahtesham believes that the role represents a great chance for a student to develop extra-curricular skills – such as becoming more confident in meetings, as was the case with him – and become better prepared for post-university life, as well as getting to know the positive impact of the union.
He said: “Students are paying over £9,000, and I believe that students shouldn’t just be coming to university to walk away with a paper degree, they should be coming here and developing other skills.
“Students should get involved if they want to develop their strategic thinking, creativity, and being able to stand alone and give their own judgment.
“Those three areas are massive things for students to be able to walk away with.”
If you are passionate about enhancing the student experience and the work that your union does, you can read more about the role and apply here.
Ahtesham has continued to hold a place on DSU's board as an executive trustee in his role as VP Student Activities this year, and will continue as President of DSU in 2017/18.