With a huge portfolio to manage, the role of Vice President Student Activities at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) is a challenging one, but the new man at the helm, Derrick Mensah won’t let that faze him. We caught up with him as he prepared to take his place in office, after winning over the electorate in a fiercely competitive election campaign.
De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) prides itself on offering an unforgettable student experience for all and De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) has always and will continue to play an influential role in that – in particular the role of Vice President Student Activities.
Derrick Mensah is a role model to all who are looking to make the most of their time at university after heavy involvement in what DMU’s student experience has to offer during his four years studying Biomedical Science BSc (Hons).
From teaching in schools to experiencing DMU’s flagship initiative #DMUglobal, chairing societies and undertaking a placement, Derrick isn’t short of experience and qualities needed to undertake the pressures his new job entails.
His placement opportunity took him to LGC Forensics in Cambridge, which showed him that science is not just what he wants to do.
He said: “I’ve always been a person who won’t shy away from anything; you’ve just got to get on with it.
“I love hanging out with people I’ve just met and learning about what they do, especially when we share common interests which was the case in the societies I was a part of.
“Now in my new role, I feel like I’ve grown up having developed my leadership qualities thanks to my involvement in societies in the past and I already feel comfortable in my new surroundings. I can’t wait to get started, make an impact and figure out what my career path is going to be”
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When students are deciding who to vote for in the elections, they usually take into account how candidates will influence the area’s most relevant to them.
President and Vice President Student Activities executive officer roles are usually the most voted for in the DSU elections as a result of the size of the areas they cover and the students who engage with them. They usually have the most candidates running for them too.
It was therefore vitally important Derrick stood out from the crowd. With his policies and with his skills, qualities and imaginative ideas; he swung the election in his favour…just.
The election was decided by just one vote, proving that in whatever election campaign you vote in, every vote counts.
Derrick said: “I’ve always been interested in changing the university for the better as I don’t think the SU always does what it can to benefit students and I want to change that.
“I visited my homeland of Ghana a while back and I was overwhelmed at the support for something like a sports team at a university over there, it’s ridiculous. You just don’t get that here, but it must be possible.
“I love DMU and I want to talk to students, find out what they want and change their experiences for the better.”
Derrick watches on at May's Be the Change event outside the Vijay Patel Building.
So what does Derrick have in mind?
“One of the main areas I’d like to work on is to increase the general support and the attainment of our students which in turn will boost the university as a whole.
“I want to bring faculties together through a series of games, including ‘Faculty Olympics’, ‘Faculty Mastermind’ a ‘Faculty Social Day’ and ‘Faculty Got Talent’.
“I’d also like to bring students together to showcase their work, as currently they do things internally, but don’t always showcase what they do or what they’ve been working towards on a wider scale.”
When asked if he was confident, he said: “I am 100% confident I can be successful in everything I’ve set out to achieve.
“I have developed a lot of confidence over the years and now I want to build on it and show people what I can do.”
For the electorate, it is now time to watch Derrick create his impact, which is sure to be one we’ll remember.
Keep up-to-date with Derrick’s time in office on the DSU webpages or follow him on Twitter.
READ MORE: Head to DSU's website for their introduction to their new Vice President Student Activities.
Posted on Tuesday 25th July 2017