The following is a speech from De Montfort Students' Union (DSU) VP Student Activities Derrick Mensah first presented on Friday 8 December at De Montfort University (DMU)’s Vice-Chancellor’s Activities Dinner.
Dear student leaders, today is about you.
Today is a day for you to relax and enjoy yourself.
Being a student leader is not easy. It takes commitment, time and dedication.
People believe and tend to say that being part of a student group is extracurricular, to signify that you are using extra time that you have on your hands. But we all know that is not true.
Being part or a student group is fun but it also has its challenges. It is not extracurricular, it is co-curricular.
It is as important as your studies because it teaches you things you can’t learn in the lecture room.
It makes you a better person and gives you so many opportunities to learn about yourself and improve your character.
When I took this role, I had one goal in mind. Create unity.
This year I have made it known to many of you that I want us to create an Activities family where we collaborate and support each other to move forward as one unit.
There is more power in unity than division. One wise person once said that unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.
As student groups, you have the power to shape your members university experience.
I have always said that people will not remember the lectures they went to when they leave university.
They will remember the things that took place outside of those lectures, the activities they took part in, the people they met and the lessons they learnt.
Which is why I want us to come together as one strong unit and encourage more students to join us.
It is time for us to come together and collaborate. By being united, we can attract many more students to join us and in turn show more students what they are missing.
You have the power to impact the future on your societies and sports clubs.
Use it wisely. It may not always be rewarding in the moment, but let me promise you it will be worth it.
I learn a lot from you guys at our Chairs’ Meetings.
I know we have more work to do, more people out there to recruit, but I am hopeful that we will get there.
So, turn to the person next to you and say ‘you are great, but there is more to do’.
I want to thank you. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for your commitment.
Keep up the good work.
Derrick spoke about his desire to create unity between DSU's 160+ student groups on Friday.