Wednesday 3 September 2014
Dola Osilaja recently graduated from QMUL and is your Union President. We sat down with Dola to find out a bit more about him, his top tips for students, memories of QMUL and how he'll be supporting you over the coming year.
What did you study at QMUL?
What do you remember about your own first weeks at QMUL?
My most fond memory has to be all the friendly people that offered me a place to stay at their accommodation throughout Freshers' week, as I didn’t get accommodation on campus until October. What's more, the first person I met at university has now turned out to be one of my best friends – it’s funny how things work out!
Can you give any words of wisdom to new students about their first few weeks?
Download the new QMUL mobile app! I remember not knowing where anything was in the first couple weeks and inevitably getting lost a few times on my way to lectures. The QMUL app would have just made it easier to navigate around campus as it has a map of where each building is on site! Also, the first few weeks are the best time to make friends so why not invest in a Freshers’ Pass, guaranteeing you entry to a range of events from comedy acts in the Griff Inn to a live Drum and Bass night in Drapers, or join one of our many sports or societies during Freshers’ Fair. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in!
What has been your favourite thing about studying here?
Too many things can answer this question! If I had to pick one thing it would be the charity skydive I did in my second year for Raising and Giving (RAG). That one event raised £1,400 for charity and was such a great feeling, one I would love to share with more people again this coming year doing hopefully a more ludicrous activity!
What is your favourite place on campus or in the local area and why?
Drapers is a great place to meet other students during not only during Freshers’ Week but also throughout the year. All events are updated and posted on the QMSU website, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled. If I had to pick one off campus location it would definitely be the Greedy Cow. With student friendly prices, lunchtime offers and their special ‘wagyu’ burger, it's one not to be missed.
How would you explain the role of the Queen Mary Student’s Union (QMSU) to new students?
In the simplest way we are here to improve our students’ lives in all aspects of their journey. We provide a wide range of support, activities and self-development opportunities for our students to further their engagement within their field of study or just as an added bit of fun on the side. We represent you in issues that matter to you, unifying 17,000 students… Now that’s a loud ROAR!
Why do you think it can be valuable to get involved with QMSU?
If not for the skills you could acquire from joining one of the many activities then join it for the friends you will undoubtedly make. We are also here to listen and represent our students - each one of which has a voice and we are here to help you be heard. The Queen Mary community is something all our students should be a part of as at the end of the day it’s those you become friends with that make your university experience what it is!
What will be your key responsibilities as President?
I will be the face of students and represent their views in QMUL meetings with the College Council and to external bodies. As a trustee I will uphold the Union’s reputation, keeping the interests of today’s students whilst understanding the need to strategically develop for the future.
You’ve only just started in your role, but what kind of changes do you hope to make in the coming year?
My three big targets this year are, firstly, reducing the cost of being a Queen Mary student from hidden course costs (e.g. spending hundreds on texts books you may not refer to) to campus costs and reducing the prices of our products in our outlets. Secondly, I want to improve the Queen Mary spirit across all of our four UK campuses. Although hard to measure I feel that students need to understand that we are lucky enough to be the only campus university in London and should cherish the history that we have with all the students in the East End area. Thirdly, I’ll focus on enhancing our students employability – this will be the first year when the majority of students on a three year course will be paying £9,000 fees and at the end of the day we want our students to leave feeling as if they haven’t only got a good degree but have developed themselves as a person enough to feel confident to go out there and get a job.
What are you most looking forward to about being President?
My most important role is to represent your views and I can’t do that inside an office. What better way to get information than to meet the students? Surveys and questionnaires just don’t cut it!
Visit the Students' Union website to find out more about what you can get involved in: www.qmsu.org.