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 Keira had to say about her two years as VP Welfare and Community at DSU…
“My time at DSU has been challenging, but rewarding and exciting,” she explained. “We’ve been here through a huge process of change – a new building and a new CEO – but that’s meant I’ve learnt a lot more skills than I could ever have hoped for.
“Working in a students’ union is really exciting. It’s literally different every day, from being at The DSU Awards one day to sitting on university committees the next, and you are always learning.”
Keira opened the university's month-long #DMUpride celebrations with a huge event in the Campus Centre earlier this year.
In her two years as VP Welfare and Community, Keira has worked on numerous projects designed to make students feel safe and well while at De Montfort University (DMU) including #DeStressU – to combat exam stress – and numerous campaigns with DSU’s own Advice team.
“One of my highlights has to be setting up The Mandala Project,” she continued. “To be able to present with [university lead] Lynette [Williams] about what we’ve done in collaboration between DSU and DMU to Baroness Lawrence was a huge highlight, especially because that relationship with the university has blossomed during my time here through doing things like that.
“I think leading #DMUpride was a big highlight as well, especially due to my own journey within my two years, and getting more and more students involved.”
But her most memorable moment? It’s all about the little things, Keira explained: “When I’ve had one of those days and I’m under so much pressure, you can think ‘oh my god, I can’t do this’.
“But coming in the next day and realising you can do it, and do the best by and for students, has helped me prove a lot to myself this year.
“Putting together my handover for Jessica [Okwuonu, incoming VP Welfare and Community] has made me realise what we have done, and that’s been a huge achievement for me.”
In her first year as VP Welfare and Community, Keira teamed up with sports clubs and other student groups to pledge to stamp out homophobia.
But Keira hasn’t been alone on her journey as a member of the Officer Team; she’s sat alongside Dan Winney during his time as both VP Student Activities and President.
She said: “I didn’t know Dan before we ran in the first Elections, and that’s where we became really good friends.
“We’ve both developed so much, and he’s always been the person that I will go to and bounce ideas off if I’m struggling, and it’s the same for him. We might bicker like a brother and sister but it’s good to have some who is completely honest with you.
Which brings us onto another ‘memorable moment’…
“I’ll never forget our first National Union of Students (NUS) conference. He got locked in a toilet cubicle – he’d been in there a while – and I had to get someone to let him out.
“Once this man let him out of the toilet, you should have seen the look on his face…”
Keira said that while she and Dan 'might bicker like a brother and sister', he has been a good sounding board over the last two years.
Moving swiftly on, what’s next for Keira?
“I want to stay in either education or the charity sector,” she explained. “What I’ve loved about this role is breaking down those barriers to helping people achieve, and making sure they get correct support.
“That’s something I want to go into, because it’s a sector filled with hard-working and passionate people making that change.
“I’d also love to see the students’ union known for things other than just being a nightclub. I think we’ve done a lot of work this year to get away from that stigma because we haven’t had a venue, and it’s made people really realise what we’re actually here for, and I would love to see that continue to grow.
“I’d like to thank everyone at DSU. Even though I work within ‘welfare’ I’ve engaged within all of the different departments and I think I’ve not just made colleagues, but friends too, and I’ve had such a good time in getting to know the people who have helped me become who I am today.
“I’m really excited for the future, and I’m sure the union is in safe hands!”
Make sure to also read what Augustus and Dan had to say about their time at DSU!
After two years as part of the Officer Team, Keira hopes to continue her work in education or the charity sector.