Students pitch community projects to United Nations delegates

Students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) pitched their ideas to improve local communities to an audience at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard addressed the 67th annual DPI/NGO Conference, the premier event of the UN’s NGO calendar with two DMU students, before the four students took the stage during the #JoinTogether NGO SDG workshop.

Emily Fox said: “It’s an absolute honour to present at the United Nations, it’s not the sort of thing you really ever think you would do. It’s kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Students UN main

Dan Bewley added: “It was just something that was on another level to be able to sit on the stage at the United Nations and address the delegates about something, it was just fantastic. It was an amazing experience and one which I’ll never forget.”

The four volunteers formed two opposing teams to pitch their ideas to conference delegates and received questions and feedback from the workshop to help develop their projects, before putting the two ideas to a vote.


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After counting the votes it became clear that the initiatives had received the same number of votes and Professor Shellard made the decision that both projects will now be put in to action as part of the university’s #JoinTogether work.

First to pitch their idea to the workshop was third year Law student Aneesah Latkan and Dan Bewley, who studies Politics and Economics.

Their project involved 1,000 student volunteers working for one day across Leicester, encouraging a mass clean-up of the city, trimming hedges, clearing litter, painting and fixing to improve communities.

Emily Fox, an International Relations and Politics student, and Demis Makris-Colman, who is studying Business Management, pitched their idea to delegates next.

Their initiative involves students buddying with asylum seekers and refugees and living on a similar budget while recording the challenges they face to promote awareness of the difficulties they face.


Demis said: “We’ve been pitching our initiatives and had a vote at the end and it came to a draw so we’ll actually be doing the two projects.

“I think that the interest here has shown that we really can make a difference and that we can make a bigger impact.”

Aneesah said: “It’s amazing to see how many different organisations are here for the same goals.”

The workshop followed Professor Shellard’s earlier announcement that students will be working to help provide thousands of daily meals to people in need across Leicester under a new proposal.

DMU has demonstrated commitment to the UN SDGs by embedding the goals into the curriculum, covering all aspects of DMU’s teaching, learning and research.

This step saw the university being chosen as a ‘designated hub’ for SDG number 16  by the United Nations Academic Impact group – which is a commitment to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Posted on Thursday 23 August 2018

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