DSU Executive Officer reflects on SHAG Week event

by Katie McKenna

A sexual health awareness week held by DSU was praised as a success by one of the event’s organisers.

SHAG week – where ‘SHAG’ stands for “Sexual Health Awareness Guidance” – was exactly what the name implied; a week dedicated to bringing awareness of sexual health to students through a series of light-hearted events that took place on-campus over the week. 

“When I first joined DSU’s staff, I was big on the fact that they seemed to have guidance for most things but not for sexual health, so that’s something I wanted to address with SHAG Week,” Opportunities & Engagement Executive Officer Aashni Sawjani said. 

“I didn’t want it to be too formal – since we wanted to open the discussion about sexual health, we wanted to engage everyone and act more casual about it. 

“We had a bunch of things going on, we were selling penis-shaped cookies, we had a nude art event, and I even dressed up as a penis for a day!” 

She concluded by saying that she believed the event was successful since it “felt like the right time” and that the events associated with the week generated a lot of discussion and interest amongst students, though she believed that there’s “always room for improvement”. 

DSU Executive Officer discusses plans to help with student welfare

by Katie McKenna

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, DSU’s Union Development Executive Officer Amir Iqbal sheds some light on some schemes devised to help the largely low-income student body of De Montfort University. 

One such scheme was the free breakfast scheme originally introduced at the start of the year, which has now extended all the way to the end of June.

Mr Iqbal wants to extend the scheme even further, for as long as necessary. 

Hub: the Students’ Union building at the centre of campus

“We’ve had a good uptick of people coming in for a free breakfast, so in that regard, we believe they’ve been a success,” he said. 

“I personally believe we’ve done a very good job so far – not a lot of unis have been able to provide free breakfasts to the entire student population. We want to be able to meet the needs of every student.” 

Another topic Mr Iqbal was keen to discuss was his ideals for the lowering of graduation costs. He believes that there’s “a lot of misconceptions” when it comes to guest tickets, and he desires to make them more accessible for all. 

He also believes that the graduation support fund the university offers is under-marketed, leaving a lot of students unaware of a scheme that could help them through an otherwise expensive graduation. 

“I believe the lack of marketing was intentional on the university’s part, it’s very likely another way for them to make more money.

“It should be about the students first and foremost; they shouldn’t have to worry about the costs of an expensive graduation whilst also worrying about the cost of their next meal.” 

Another one of Mr Iqbal’s personal projects focuses on bringing awareness to honour-based abuse, a form of abuse used to justify controlling and violent behaviour on the grounds of bringing “honour” to a family or community. 

“We’ve been teaching DSU staff about honour-based abuse, we’ve had stalls set up, posters about it spread all over, it’s a year-long project we hope to continue into the next year.” 

Students with any concerns or worries should contact the DSU’s welfare team via the reception at the campus centre building. 

Christmas events in Leicester this year

By Vivek Julka

The festive period is here and there are plenty of things to do in Leicester to enjoy yourself over the holidays.

Christmas Wheel of Light – located on Jubilee Square. A ride on the 110ft Ferris wheel lasts about ten minutes with a standard ticket costing £7. It closes on the 2nd of January 2023.

Fun Fair – Humberstone Gate is where you will find this, with rides you can enjoy over the festive period, until 2nd of January.

Traditional Nativity Scene – in Town Hall Square, with free admission. Here you will see all the traditional characters such as Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, plus hear the nativity story. Closes on 6th January 2023.

Jubilee Square Ice Rink– Get your skates on and enjoy the annual rink. Closes on 2nd of January 2023.

Santa in the Square – in Town Hall Square, free admission, with all children getting a free gift from Santa himself. Closes on Friday, 23rd of December.

Leicester resident Elliot Turner said: “I went on the Ferris wheel for the first time and it was brilliant, I recommend trying it if you haven’t already.”

If you want any more information about these or more Christmas events in Leicester this year, visit www.christmasinleicester.co.uk/whats-on/

‘Homeless people are just like everyone else – they’re just having a tough time. We want to help them & give them a second chance’

Riverside Café has partnered with Change Please to tackle homelessness in the UK – through their love of good quality coffee. Maryam Goncalves reports.

Change Please launch at Riverside Café

Riverside Café, one of the coffee shops in the DMU campus, has recently partnered with Change Please, a social enterprise which invests 100% of their profits into making the lives of those experiencing homelessness better, by giving them a living wage job, training, housing, and opportunities to progress.

Change Please CEO, Cemal Ezel, was at Riverside on Wednesday, January 26, to explain the enterprise, the coffee, and the lives they have changed.

Ezar talked about one of the most impactful cases he has ever seen – the case of Adan Abobaker, a former homeless man who jumped into a frozen river Thames to rescue a woman who attempted to commit suicide.

After risking his life, having his clothes and possessions stolen, and contracting hypothermia due to the low temperatures he braved, Abobaker was presented with the highest civilian award for bravery.

The former chef then shared a flat with his partner, thinking his life was coming back together. But the relationship came to an end, and Abobaker found himself back on the streets while battling depression.

This is when Change Please came along and offered Abobaker a part-time job as a barista on a coffee cart in Borough Market, London, which gave him a second chance to improve his quality of life.

“It’s incredible that we can walk past someone like Adan on the street and we don’t stop to think who they are or what value they can have on society,” Cemal Ezel told the crowd at Riverside.

“In Adan’s case, he won the highest civilian award for bravery and is a real hero. Yet because he was on the street he was disregarded with the same stigma as all homeless people.

“Homeless people are just like anyone else – they are people who have fallen on incredibly tough times. Change Please is trying to help as many like Adan as possible – people who we walk past every day – and give them a second chance at life.”

Restaurant review: ORSO Leicester… does it live up to the hype?

During Leicester Restaurant Week, Ana Goncalves pays a visit to ORSO Leicester to see if the place lives up to the hype after tirelessly hearing numerous recommendations.

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