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 Dan had to say about his two years at DSU, first as VP Student Activities and then as President…
“Being a part of the Officer Team is a real challenge, but one that I have enjoyed,” he said.
“It’s challenging because you are the figurehead for well over 20,000 students who all want different things at the same time, and sometimes the challenge is how we can best, as a students’ union, meet the needs of everyone.
“That has been a real challenge – but a fun one.”
Dan was also a part of the Men's Football squad who took Varsity glory against the University of Leicester (UoL) in 2016.
After a year as VP Student Activities at DSU – at the end of which saw a major investment from De Montfort University (DMU) into the partnership that delivers sport – Dan was elected as President for 2016/17.
The move brought its own challenges, with Dan heading the search for a new CEO and pushing through the refurbishment of #YourNewDSU.
He continued: “We are always having to change to meet the needs of our diverse student base, which is a great thing for any students’ union.
“But that means we’ve always got to be on the ball, be ready, and talking to students to find out what they want and need and then make those changes.”
So, after a frantic two years in office, what has been Dan’s highlight at DSU?
“The old Volunteering and Societies office used to have a highlighter with four colours, so that has to be my highlight of DSU. Especially the lime colour, closely followed by the orange.”
Dan cut the ribbon on the newly refurbished Campus Centre building alongside Premier League champion Christian Fuchs back in January.
“Seriously though, number one would have to be the opening of the new building. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and to open it alongside Premier League champion Christian Fuchs is something which I will treasure for a long time.
“Second – going back a long time – the [Activities Fair] in my first year was one of the first big events that I worked on.
“Seeing all of our student groups coming together as one big community was a fantastic feeling, and to look down Mill Lane and see all of that happening that was brilliant.”
And speaking of community, Dan hasn’t been alone on his journey as a member of the Officer Team; he’s sat alongside Keira Rounsley during her two years as VP Welfare and Community.
He explained: “Keira is like a little sister to me. She can be the most annoying person in the world sometimes…but I still love her.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with her over the last two years, and I’ve been proud to see the journey that she has gone on to become probably one of the best officers in the country.
“She often goes unrecognised for the amount of work that she does and I’ve learnt a lot from her over the last two years. She should be proud of what she’s achieved.
“I’m sure she’s going to go on to amazing things after she leaves DSU and she is not just a colleague but a lifelong friend, too.”
Dan was on hand to motivate DMU's sports clubs before their greatest ever Varsity score earlier this year.
But rolling the clock back, what advice would Dan give to his younger self?
“Always stick to what you believe in; and always go back to thinking about why you ran to be an officer, which is to help students do things that they’ve never done before and leave DMU with great memories.
“Enjoy it, and don’t get too stressed when things go wrong because it’ll always go well in the end; plus, enjoy it as much as you can because your time will go so quick.”
Dan plans to continue working in the higher education (HE) sector and enjoys living in Leicester…
“So hopefully I won’t be going too far,” he said.
“Working with such a dedicated and committed staff team at the students’ union has been a pleasure and I will be sad to leave them, but I am confident that they will continue to be able to make DSU a great place for students.
“I’d also like to thank the thousands of students that I have met over the last two years for making my job easy – they’ve made my time as an officer the best job in the world, and I’m going to miss them all.”
Make sure to also read what Keira and Augustus had to say about their time at DSU!
Dan hopes to continue working in the HE sector and loves living in Leicester – “so hopefully I won't be going too far”.