DMU students change lives in Ahmedabad

By Shantelle Gondo

De Montfort University Leicester student volunteers are changing lives in Ahmedabad in India by supporting a charity to help the people in the city.

The ongoing two-week trip to India involves 18 DMU Square Mile India students, who flew there last week, working alongside the Manav Sadhna charity, in order to help transform people’s lives.

It is one of several such trips during the past three years lasting one week, this being the first time a two-week trio has been run.

DMUlocal’s co-ordinator, Harriet Pole, said: “This is a chance to give back and reflect on, also it’s something that students can talk about when being employed.”

During this trip, students have an opportunity to make a positive impact with the local community and engage in many projects.

The projects involved are:

  • Moving Together – a creative dance social enterprise business from Leicester which has joined this trip, with students able to lead sessions in schools.
  • Paryavaran Mitra program (friends of the environment) – which aims to create young leaders in India with awareness and commitment and DMU students will have an opportunity to assist the young leaders.
  • Gramshee – which supports the women in the community with skills training such as catering and stitching, with DMU students able to engage with these activities.

Other projects include kitchen projects, sports, arts and crafts, elderly care, earn N learn , and education.

Harriet said: “I took a group of students to the trip, it really changes your life and makes you think about what we take for granted.”

An upcoming trip to India is being planned for February 22-29 2020. To find out more and take part, email

De Montfort Students’ Union-led #DMUglobal trip doubles in size due to demand

By Oliver Taylor

A De Montfort Students’ Union-led #DMUglobal trip to Belgium over the summer has had to double its number of places available due to excessive demand.

The trip, taking place from June 7 to June 11, will see students explore popular tourist destinations in Brussels and Brugge, as well as learning about vaster European culture.

Mini Europe Brussels Architecture Miniature Park

A trip to Mini Europe, a miniature park in Brussels, is offered as part of the trip.

Mollie Footitt, Deputy President of the De Montfort Students’ Union, said: “I hope  that students will gain more of an understanding with regards to cultural differences and how, even after Brexit, we can still remain to keep our links with the European Union.

“We have 100 students going on the trip. Due to the sheer number of applicants, we extended the maximum number of students from 50 to 100.

“Students seem really excited to attend Parliament and the day trip to Bruges. The idea of authentic Belgian chocolate also has been quite the hit, too.”

As well as attending Parliament, the day trip to Bruges and eating Belgium chocolates, other activities on the trip will include visits to the Vrije Universiteit Brussell (VUB), Grand Place, Royal Palace of Brussels, Mont Des Arts, Place de Luxembourg and European Quarter.

Another experience offered on the trip is a visit to Mini-Europe, a miniature park in Brussels that encapsulates European culture. The park includes designs inspired by Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and more.

Mollie expressed excitement towards the possibility of this being many students’ first trip abroad: “It is a brilliant opportunity to develop an understanding of life in a different culture – from working the public transport to eating different foods!”

Applications for the trip have closed, but additional information about the trip can be found on the #DMUglobal website.

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.”

Trying my luck with finding hidden doors and archways in Prague

By Annies Joy

Prague can be very busy and filled with tourists. For some, the attractions in the centre can be over-rated and nothing beyond the ordinary.

However, what makes Prague so special is its hidden places.  You could even call it ‘the hidden gems of Prague.’ These are often hidden away in a main tourist spot by a door or an archway.

It always has something more to offer. You just need to be brave enough to try it.

At least this is what my tutor, Brain Dodds, kept telling us to do on this trip.

“Don’t be afraid to go through and explore them,” he said.

So, I decided to take his advice on board and put it to the test to see how many doors I could open that led me to somewhere special.

Prague shopping mall evacuated after bomb scare

By Annies Joy

A shopping centre in the heart of Prague was evacuated this afternoon after a bomb alert.

The Nový Smíchov shopping mall was evacuated earlier today and sealed off by police, who issued several brief statements as the drama unfolded.

Local people, shop assistants, and tourists were confused when they were first confronted by police cornering off Plzeňská Street.

Stroupežnicky Street was also closed.

Initially, the public were not allowed to go through the street even though the trams were. They did not, however, stop there for passengers to get off at the mall.

The tram service was later shut off as more fire engines and ambulances arrived at the scene.

Local media reported the city’s integrated rescue system and fire service were quickly on site. “Specially trained dogs searched for explosives,” police said.

Pražský.dení reported that the shopping mall was evacuated due to “some serious technical problems.”

Michaela Duskova, 21, was working at Marionnaud in the Novy Smichov Shopping centre in Prague, while the announcement was made. She later found out that it was a bomb scare.

She told the Leicestershire Press: “While I was working, me and the other workers were asked to leave the shopping centre immediately.”

By about 5pm, they had been waiting for two hours and had been told they could not go home until they got a call from their boss. They thought it would still be two to three hours until they were able to go back.

A few minutes later, the police made a line in each corner of the junction trying to block any public from trying to pass through to the area of the incident and asked people to move further away.

Following this, a voice announcement was repeatedly played in Czech in the nearby underground metro station, Anděl, warning people about the alert. Many workers were returning from work as this warning was played alerting them of the situation above ground.

Here are the voice reports from the scene: