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Hello, my name is Dre Mbwese and I intend to bring about more representation on campus. Not just working with the individual ethnic societies, but working with all societies to help teach them how to become more ethnically inclusive. I aim to do this by running training sessions to teach societies how best to do so. I also believe that we can plan activities that bring ethnic societies closer. I feel this would benefit students experience as a whole to help them build a comfort and confidence by exposing them to other cultures they may not have had the opportunity to. We sometimes have the natural tendency to form cliques, and I want this coming year to be one that brings us closer together.

Roehampton University has just under 50% BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) population, however looking around campus it does not seem like it. I believe increasing BAME participation in university events is essential to create a more multi-cultural and inclusive environment. I look to sit down with the society leaders and discuss the best ways to include students of ethnic background on campus and get them involved in more events. I also want to organize more events. I understand the events already set up in the university may not be for everyone. One event I look to make more frequent would be BAME conferences to show case debates on different topics that are relevant to the societies. This enables students to feel more involved and bring more societies together as the topic changes at each debate.

I also would like to encourage students to learn about black history all year round instead of just one month. We should be able to have access to advance our knowledge in this subject throughout the whole year. We should be able to celebrate the history of our ancestors before the slavery era, as well as the importance of the great men and women that helped fight for our freedom today. I want to push for more black history books in the library and set up talks for people to come and learn more.

And I think we shouldn’t only celebrate the history of our ancestors, but celebrate us - the future. I aim to build a strong base with our own BAME alumni students to facilitate mentoring programs and workshops. This will be vital in creating a strong network between us as well as building a supportive community.

At the end of the year would like to host a diversity festival where all societies and students representing their ethnicity, religion or culture can showcase their different ways of interacting, dancing, foods, books, anything that they would be proud of and want to showcase.

Appreciating each other and becoming more united is a key goal of mine. We can only do this if more opportunities to learn about the beauty in our diversity is offered.