Students’ Union member resigns from position

By Matthew Chandler

The De Montfort campus centre, where the DSU is based

A representative of the De Montfort University students’ union (DSU) officer team has left her position with immediate effect.

Jessica Okwuonu, vice president welfare and community at DSU since her election in July 2017, cited personal reasons as the explanation for her departure.

Ms Okwuonu, however, left with a departing message for students at the university, saying: “It’s important to look after your own mental health even when you’re running around trying to look after others.

“Burn-out isn’t fun and there are loads of services that can help you before you burn out and when you do, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“Let’s stop making mental health such a taboo to speak about, especially within the black community. Keep speaking about consent, equality and making campus an inclusive space for all, no matter who they are, what their background is or what they have done.”

In her 15 months working for DSU, Ms Okwuonu was involved in several campaigns concerning equality and diversity, including Black History Month and the university’s first Drinkaware crew, and ranging to encouraging women to run for leadership roles and fighting for sustainability issues on the campus and beyond.

She also set up the ‘Cheek2Cheek’ society during her time as a student, prior to graduation from her information communication technology course in July 2017, which encouraged wellbeing and promoted happiness.

During a DMUglobal trip to Berlin in September, she launched DSU’s ‘#NotOnMyCampus’ anti-discrimination campaign, which aims to combat discrimination and exclusivity among races around the university.

She had worked with the university on a number of campaigns such as ‘I Love Consent’, which tackled issues of sex abuse, and the Mandala Project, which supports students at De Montfort who have been victims of rape, sexual assault or harassment, and domestic violence.

Ms Okwuonu’s role will, for the time being, be covered by her former colleagues at the officer team, as well as the student champions, to ensure student welfare remains a priority.

A statement posted on the official DSU website said: “Jessica will be missed by all the team at DSU and we would like to take this opportunity to thank Jessica for all of her hard work for students at DMU, and wish her the very best for the future.”

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