Talking Sexual Health and the SU with Mollie and Jess

Mollie Footitt and Jessica Okwuonu of the De Montfort University Students’ Union (SU) tell Tyler Arthur about what the SU has to offer, to help students with their sexual health while at university. 

The De Montfort Students’ Union (SU) is full of helpful, passionate, fun people – none more so than Jessica Ukwuonu and Mollie Footitt.

Mollie, 22, Deputy President Education for the SU, enjoys reading, drawing, exploring and, most importantly, drinking coffee. Jessica, 23, is currently Vice President Welfare and Community, but has just been confirmed as next year’s DSU President. Jessica watches anime, and enjoys technology. Both of them are vegetarians, though Jess eats meat when feeling down.

Jess and Mollie 3

When combining these two, you do not just get a lot of laughter and fun – you get the SU’s residing power couple, with the self-attributed nickname of Jollie Mess (a work in progress). When they are not spreading contagious laughter around campus, the two female full-time officers are working tirelessly to help students in every way they can. 

Mollie says: “We don’t just improve your student experience, we also offer support and advice about all aspects of university life; everything from housing to sexual health.”

Jess adds: “When you come to university, it’s a very different experience. It’s really important to look after yourself, and we help to look after you at the SU.”

The Students’ Union offers many different elements of support for sexual health, something which is very important for students. Two different clinics are offered in the SU building, the Student Sexual Health clinic (Ssh) and Choices. 

Jess and Mollie 2

The Ssh clinic is held every Tuesday, in term time, from 12 – 4pm, and is run by volunteers from the student body.

“Ssh is great, there are a bunch of student volunteers, and they make sure that everyone is safe on campus. They’re trained by the NHS to run the clinic to offer advice and support as well as giving out condoms,” says Jess.

“Because they’re students, you can talk to them about things in a way that you otherwise might not want to. They’re just a bunch of cool people who are really helpful, and nice, and are really well equipped to give advice to their fellow students,” she explains.

Choices is a service provided by the NHS, with fully-trained professional support on hand. 

J&M 4

“Choices offers an NHS nurse who comes in every Thursday. She’s really lovely; she offers everything you need, as well as the advice and support. Plus, because she’s a professional, she can give out prescriptions there and then, which can be handy. She is awesome, and she can make stressful situations seem stress free,” Mollie says.

Choices runs on Thursdays in term time from 2 – 4.30pm, and offers provision of prescribed hormonal contraceptives, sexual health testing, emergency contraception, pregnancy tests and condoms. Like the Ssh clinic, it is available to all students via drop-in through the DSU reception.

“We [the SU officers] are also happy to offer support. We give out condoms, sanitary products and C-cards at the SU, via our office or the reception downstairs,” Mollie pauses. 

j&m 5

“Oh my God- I just realised what the C stands for!”
Jess laughs.

 The DSU also run the Mandala Project, a partnership project with the university, to stamp out sexual violence and harassment. This involves talks and workshops for student societies and sports clubs in a scheme called #isitok?, and other events to raise awareness on this important topic. The most significant event yet took place last Christmas, in the form of the ‘Light the Night’ walk. 

J Light Night 1

Participants of the Light the Night walk that took place last Christmas

J Light Night 2

Members of the DMU American Football team who took part in the Light the Night walk.

 

 

“We’re going to do another walk next year, and it’s going to be bigger and better. There’s going to be even more signs, and glow sticks too,” Jess promises.

“We’re going to continue to grow the Mandala Project next year, amongst all of the other things we offer, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that students are as happy and safe as possible next year.” 

 If you are a DMU student with any concerns in relation to sexual health, do not hesitate to make use of one of these services described. For more information, visit: http://www.demontfortsu.com/support/ssh/

Trackbacks

  1. […] Arthur speaks to Jessica Okwuonu who vows to improve sexual harassment awareness at DMU when she becomes President of the Students’ […]

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  2. […] ‘fights for students’, and make sure that all voices are heard, she has vowed to prioritise improving sexual harassment awareness, amongst her other key pledges, such as making students feel more […]

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