Did you know we now have a full team of part-time representatives working to make sure your voice is heard at DMU and beyond? We’ll introduce you to all six of them this week, and today it’s the turn of your Disabled Representative!
Louise Cunliffe, 42, originally from Manchester, is your Disabled Representative at De Montfort Students’ Union.
Second-year Psychology student Louise is a mother of four children – two of whom have a disability.
She feels that because she is a mum, and understands the needs of people with disabilities, she says disabled students find her approachable and empathetic and so she decided to run as a student rep.
She said: “I’ve got four children, two with disabilities. Although I’m not disabled, life revolves around my kids, so I know the downfalls, the doctor’s appointments and things like that.
“And because I’m a mum, people feel like I’m approachable as well, so I’m a bit of support for students.”
With one of her sons applying to come to DMU in the next academic year, Louise wanted to be the Disabled Students’ Representative and help further improve the experience of disabled students here at the university.
She added: “My eldest son is applying to come here next year, so I wanted to make some changes, not just for him but the other students as well, like the students I’ve met on my course who have things like Asperger’s or dyslexia.”
Louise has long been an advocate of equality, empowerment and empathy and wants to use her wealth of experience to aid the disabled students of DMU by developing awareness amongst their peers and helping them to feel included.
She said: “I think that at this university there are a high percentage of students who have a hidden disability rather than a physical one, and they need to be included more.
“Some people don’t like highlighting or drawing attention to their disabilities because they probably already feel different.
“I’m hoping to raise some awareness of disabilities across the campus – people need to notice the signs. It’s important other students recognise these things, and know what to do and where to go to help them.
“I want the whole of the student body to be aware that not all disabilities are physical, and not just somebody in a wheelchair or scooter.”
You can find out more about Louise on her page here.
Head back tomorrow for the next instalment in our ‘Meet Your Part-Time Officers’ series! And if representing your fellow students is something that sounds up your street, then make sure you get involved with #LeadYourDSU day at #Refreshers16!