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 next up is your Mature Students’ Representative!
Aaron O’Rourke, 38, from Leicester, is your Mature Students’ Representative at De Montfort Students’ Union.
A second-year Psychology student, Aaron decided to run for the position of Mature Students’ Representative in a bid to improve welfare services for those students who started their studies over the age of 21 and, as such, fall into the bracket of mature student.
A member of the Mature Students’ Society and as a father to two young children, Aaron is well-placed to recognise some of the difficulties that a mature student might face that their younger peers possibly wouldn’t, and wanted to ensure they are supported throughout their time at university.
He said: “I felt that I could do a good job to make sure that the support network for mature students is increased.
“At the minute, it’s not the best, as the mature student retention rate is lower than the younger demographic. For those that do stay, their grades tend to be lower than their cohorts’.
“My theory is that with better support networks, better welfare for mature students, we’d be able to increase those retention rates.
“And with students also feeling better, their grades will hopefully improve too.
“We also need to help mature students to feel involved, as at the moment sometimes it doesn’t feel they are.”
Father-of-two Aaron said that he wanted to convey the message to mature students that although their personal circumstances and aspirations may differ from those of a younger demographic, they should not feel left out of the university community.
He particularly wants mature students to feel included as he believes that the opportunities afforded by, and the experience of, going to university is a whole lot more than simply attending lectures and workshops.
He said: “I want mature students to feel that they’re part of the university community. They’re not a separate entity, but because they have commitments outside university that younger students perhaps can’t identify with they can feel isolated.
“I want them to be able to have an enriched time at DMU because it’s a whole lot more than just being somewhere to go in the day. I want them to be able to enjoy this experience.”
You can find out more about Aaron on his 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!