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BAME OFFICER MANIFESTO
Hey-Hey-Hey! We are Demi and Afoma, two 2nd year British-Nigerian student’s who managed to get past the Derwent V Langwith rivalry. Demi studies the unique course of Bsc Psychology in Education while Afoma studies Politics,Philosophy and Economics. Between us our hobbies are tennis, painting, watching international films, crochet, and netball.
Demi has a history of working to better the university experience of BAME students, she has been on the committee of the Afro-Caribbean society, making links with external employers and organising the Diversity careers Fair, she is also on Derwent’s JCRC as BAME rep and has organised black mental health talks/discussions. Afoma also has a welfare past, she was formerly on the JCRC as sports rep and used this platform to organise inclusive sporting events. Currently she is the Langwith netball captain and is used to inspiring and looking after the welfare of her team.
Having moved around in life we know what it feels like to be a majority and a minority. To feel like a person who can achieve anything and to feel extremely cautious and limited by your physical and cultural differences. As genuinely caring and empathetic individuals we are therefore immensely passionate about ensuring that the University of York atmosphere evokes the former. We aim to do this in the following ways:
The BAME Network has really strengthened in the last year, hosting weekly meetings that anyone self defining as non-white can attend. We want to continue with this but also address how the network has struggled to attract a vast proportion of Asian students and other minority groups. Our first point of call would be to hold focus groups with students from all BAME demographics to really establish what it is that this student population want from us as YUSU officers and act accordingly.
We also aim to increase our awareness by engaging with students during the fun atmosphere of freshers week; During this time we will make an appearance around campus, as well as in relevant society “meet and greets” happening at the beginning of term. We will also work through our college BAME network to increase student awareness of the BAME network and to establish more personal relationships.
There is immense value in learning about BAME history and discussing relevant current topics, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the relevant, educational nature of BAME Network meetings this year. We wish to continue this in a range of ways such as cine-forums with films and their following discussions spanning around BAME focused themes. Bringing in relevant guests, whether lecturers, businessmen/women or motivational figures, to give talks or panel Q & A sessions. Additionally, through engaging the college BAME reps and regular attendees to lead a meeting on a topic they are passionate about. Understanding that ignorance is what leads to casual racism and prejudice, certain educational topics will be open to all, while more sensitive topics will continue to be discussed in a BAME only safe space.
Carrying on from what our current BAME officers have begun we want to further drive the nationally recognised ‘Why is my curriculum white?’ campaign at York by holding a regular reading group and working with academic staff to push for diversity in academic literature and lecture topics, which can richly add to the knowledge acquired on many degree programmes.
Quality of Life
We believe in ‘enjoyment’ and that is enjoying university life and securing your dreams outside of university. To aid in this we aim to encourage greater participation amongst all BAME students in unconventional areas of student life, ensuring that, in such a key time to be open-minded, BAME students really benefit from all the opportunities York has to offer. We also hope to use Demi’s career links to ensure that exclusive opportunities which can benefit you are known to you via regular email updates. Additionally we are keen on ensuring that mental health is in check as studies have found it to be a problem within our demographic, as such we aim to organise BAME specific events alongside the mental health drive that the university is pushing.
These are fully attainable goals, therefore with our passion, energy, organisation skills and student backing we hope to achieve this and more.