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 that also means we have to say goodbye to some old faces. This week, we’ll be featuring stories with outgoing officers Dan Winney, Augustus Mbanasor and Keira Rounsley.
Here’s what Augustus had to say about his year as DP Education at DSU…
“I’d say the year has been rewarding, difficult and eye-opening,” he explained. “Rewarding, because it’s given me an insight into why certain issues arise.
“Within liberation, it’s given me an insight into other people’s struggles and allowed me to confront the privileges that I do have.
“Difficult because, in my personal opinion, the DP Education role is the biggest and therefore the hardest – there’s so much responsibility that you have, and you are relied upon to know so much about different things happening in the wider higher education (HE) sector.
“And eye-opening to the different troubles that students have from various social, economic or cultural backgrounds and has really allowed me to understand work politics, HE politics, university politics and student politics. The whole lot.”
As DP Education, Augustus oversaw DSU's successful Course Rep system.
Augustus kicked off the year by linking up with Keira on The Big Support Survey, which gave the Officer Team valuable information on what De Montfort University (DMU) students need – and want.
But it has been Augustus’ work on BME (Black Minority Ethnic) in Leadership and BME Inspired events – and bringing award-winning rapper and poet Akala onto campus – that has seen the most praise, and a national award.
“When we talk about liberation, diversity shouldn’t be a tick box exercise,” he continued.
“For us to say we are truly inclusive, it’s not just about saying we ‘have’ diversity but fully accepting and understanding the package that comes with each individual.
Ultimately, Augustus said, his work on BME Inspired – alongside current VP Student Activities and President-elect Ahtesham Mahmood – has created a legacy that he hopes will continue in the years to come.
Augustus was presented with NUS' Black Representation Award in May.
“I am quite proud, you know. I am proud that that we now have some form of ball rolling and now we can look at strengthening that agenda, strengthening the BME Inspired brand, and actually making sure that we incorporate that into everything that we do.
“I feel very fortunate to have worked with certain members of the university, like [Chief Operating Officer] Ben Browne and [project lead for DMU’s ‘Freedom to Achieve’ scheme] Kaushika Patel.
“They have been mentoring figures to me and have helped me out a lot this year and have given me a lot of support. I am deeply grateful to them both.”
And his final highlight of the year? “It has to be the National Demo – the very first demo that I went to,” Augustus concluded.
“It’s one thing to say that you’re ‘politically active’, but I think that marching about something you care about, being on the frontline and marching alongside thousands of people, was a really great experience.”
Augustus joined up with VP Student Activities Ahtesham Mahmood and Women's Representative Lauren Thomas at the National Demo back in November 2016.
Unlike most other full-time members of DSU’s Officer Team, Augustus will now go back to being a student at DMU as he completes the final year of his Accounting and Finance course. But he already has his sights set firmly on the future.
“I want to get my degree done, and then see what comes after that,” he said. “Within the National Union of Students (NUS) I do see some potential, and may be seeking opportunities there.
“But most of all I just want to say a massive thank you to all of those who have believed in me from the get go, and who saw who I really am as an individual.
“I know the students’ union will excel under [new CEO] Jo’s leadership and the Officer Team going forward; it’s definitely the worst but best job you could ever have.”
Make sure to also read what Keira and Dan had to say about their time at DSU!
Augustus will now return to student status as he completes the final year of his Accounting and Finance course at DMU.