Photography graduate takes on biggest project yet

By Latoyah Walker

A photography graduate student is taking on a huge dance festival show, filming the dress rehearsal and being the lead photographer.

Harry Brooker started off as a dancer in a choreography throughout October to April, and participated in De Montfort University’s Cultural Exchanges festival which helped to build a rapport with members of the dance festival.

Harry is a photography graduate student at DMU and specialises in action, portraiture, a lot of headshots and motorsport.

“Dance is a passion,” he said. “I have been dancing since Year 5, so I’m grateful to be given this opportunity.”

Harry specialises in contemporary but has also learnt street and tap.  

The dance show will last around two hours.

“I always get nervous before big shoots,” he admitted. “This is one of the biggest projects I’ve worked on.’”

He added: “I can come in and almost be a ghost, just walk around taking candid photos.”

He said throughout his journey he has learnt that you don’t need to force anything.

“You can take your time, look for moments, take in the moments.”

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”. 

DMU’s Building Bridges to Wellbeing scheme introduces refreshing wellbeing walks

By Kelly Gowe

De Montfort University (DMU) has launched Building Bridges to Wellbeing, a new initiative prioritising student mental health.

As part of this program, DMU is holding Wellbeing Walks, providing students with a refreshing way to enhance their mental and physical health while connecting with nature.

Students have praised the Wellbeing Walks, finding solace in taking a break from academic responsibilities and enjoying the campus’ beauty.

One DMU student, Sarah Wilson, said: “The Wellbeing Walks have become a highlight of my week. It reduces stress and improves my overall wellbeing.”

Led by trained volunteers, the walks incorporate mindfulness techniques and encourage participants to engage with their surroundings.

John Parker, another student, said: “The Wellbeing Walks have become an essential self-care practice for me. DMU’s commitment to student wellbeing is commendable.”

Students at universities in Leicester urge lecturers to prioritise mental health concerns

By Kelly Gowe

University students in Leicester have raised concerns about what they claim is lecturers’ lack of empathy and support, exacerbating their mental health issues.

Students reported feeling unheard and unsupported, leading to heightened stress and anxiety.

One student, Sarah Mitchell, said: “I feel like I’m just a number to them; they don’t care about my well-being.”

Fellow student Mark Anderson added: “It’s like they forget that we have lives outside of uni.”

Following the Covid pandemic and its ongoing issues, they said the need for better communication and understanding from staff has become increasingly crucial.

They called on universities to prioritise student well-being and mental health, ensuring a positive and supportive learning experience.

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.