Two members of De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s Officer Team will be stepping out to represent students from across the UK in 2017/18.
Both Ahtesham Mahmood, President of DSU, and Jessica Okwuonu, VP Welfare and Community at DSU, have been elected to committee positions at the National Union of Students (NUS), which they will take up immediately.
Jessica will take the second Welfare place on NUS’ National Executive Council, while Ahtesham now sits on the Union Development Zone Committee.
Zone Committees have responsibility for planning and supporting the work of NUS' individual ‘zones’, such as Welfare, Society and Citizenship and Further Education (FE) among others. They also implement the decisions of NUS’s annual National Conference in each relevant policy area.
Ahtesham has been elected to NUS' Union Development Zone Committee.
Ahtesham said: “Last year, as the VP Student Activities I attended both the NUS Zones Conference and the National Conference. I developed an interest for the role and the influence behind it to shape the student experience on both local and national level.”
“Now, as President, I see my role as developing the students’ union here to become the best it can be and to build on our success of being crowned as a top 10 students’ union.”
“Holding the De Montfort University (DMU) ethos of being an active citizen close to my heart, I saw this as an opportunity for ensuring that the student experience is enhanced and extended across the seven million NUS membership. My new role also brings me closer to our partner FE colleges and that’s a relationship I plan to take from strength to strength.”
Meanwhile, Jessica is already making plans for her year on the National Executive Council.
“I really want to look at mental health more.” she explained. “I feel like we talk a lot about mental health, but colouring books and puppy rooms aren’t going to solve mental health issues.
“It’s about tackling the root cause; whether that be a housing issue, or something more serious like sexual assault and hate crime. I want to look at putting things in place that will address those things, and that’ll also have a knock-on positive effect on mental health.”
“I’ve never stepped out this far. Becoming a member of the Officer Team at DSU was the furthest I’ve ever stepped out, but now I’m on a national stage you realise just how many students are out there. Hopefully I can make people smile.”
Jessica will take the second Welfare place on NUS’ National Executive Council in 2017/18 alongside NUS VP Welfare, Izzy Lenga.
And Ahtesham was full of praise for his fellow Officer Team member.
He said: “I am really excited for her! She’s new to her role, and her understanding at a local level has meant she has gone on to reach for something a lot bigger and hopefully be able to spread her good work and impact that she is having.
“The steer that she has on mental health and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students in particular is absolutely fantastic.
“Our roles now aren’t just about making sure our students at DMU have an excellent student experience, but all of those across the whole student community.”
Ahtesham was the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Regional Chair for the East Midlands in 2016/17.