The Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) Executive are your elected representatives for academic year 2022/23. They work together to ensure students have the best experience possible.
Nyasha Mutembwa, commonly known as Ash, is the President of DUSA. She is the lead of your Exec Committee as well as the face of the University, responsible for the student experience and overall University experience.
The OneDundee bloggers had a chat with Ash to help you get to know her better:
Q: Ash, why did you decide to run for this role?
A: I decided to run for this role following a small conversation with friends. Personally I didn’t quite believe that people would vote for me or that an engineering student could be the next president. It wasn’t something we thought could be possible. But with the right amount of determination (and delusion on my part), we set ourselves the task of making me the first and if not the first, the first in a long time.
I belong to so many different groups within the student body, which makes me an intersectionality on top of being a Black woman; from playing for the Basketball Womens’ First team to being in the Women in STEM committee, to being President of African Caribbean Society to sitting on the Civil Engineering Society committee. Recognising the influences of all the different parts of me gave me the confidence to run because I knew being able to provide so many different perspectives was the best way I knew how to represent so many. I saw myself as an effective voice of the students and though I don’t represent everyone, I believe I could be an effective and open listener to any student. I want to be able to a president for the people from the people, and will put 110% in order to provide the very best student experience I can for 22/23.
Q: What are your aims for the year?
A: My biggest aim that acted as an umbrella around my manifesto priorities was to make sure everyone felt heard and included, as well as appreciated and valued for their development doing so. I want all students to feel welcome in DUSA. It should be a second home for all students that provides a range of comforts – from entertainment that ranges from the nightclubs to the society events that happen across the building everyday, to the food from the three different menus offered across the floors and the Prem shop downstairs for groceries.
I want all students to use their voices to give them the student experience they deserve, as well as to give students a sense of community. The pandemic was hard for so many, and it definitely diminished the sense of community and family that campus life provided, so a key mission expanded in our Student Executive Manifesto 22-23 (lil promo: find on the dusa.co.uk website) is fostering that community that was lost. I want the student body to understand the power they hold in their voice and how the student executive promises to be the channel for the change wanted.
Q: What can you help students with?
A: Anything. Of course, be realistic – don’t come to me asking me to win the lottery for you! But as your president it is my responsibility to help you with anything I can, in my capacity. And if I can’t help you, I can be the avenue to someone that can. So please do ask for help in any capacity, as I was elected for that very reason.
Q: What made you choose to study at Dundee?
A: To me Dundee seemed like the perfect place to grow because it’s not too big, but in comparison to other campuses, not too small either (aka even Goldilocks would be a fan). I think this city and University provides the correct environment for you to concentrate on your degree but also meet new people, meet mutual friends across the year group and more. I came here because I wanted to throw myself in the deep end, and coming from just outside of London, I had no idea what to expect. At first I felt it was so small but now, five years later, I really like it. It’s a cosy town to live in and a great base to then travel anywhere and return.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you can offer a new student?
A: Biggest advice from me, that I’ve already mentioned before in my welcome video, is to immerse yourself in every opportunity that comes to you. Now is the time to build the person you want to be and to open yourself to new friendships, hobbies, relationships and more. I want you to allow yourselves to make mistakes and find yourselves while you grow in this small wholesome city, for I believe that is definitely how I became the person I am today.
Q: What’s your favourite memory during your time at Dundee?
A: I remember the day I met my closest and longest friends here in Dundee. I’ll set the scene for you – it was the second day of Freshers, a mere active Saturday night and the big event of the night was Carnival, so of course I was excited. I had met a couple of girls earlier that day at the Womens’ Basketball ‘Give It A Go’ session and had agreed to go to the event together as none of my flatmates were going on that day. BEST NIGHT EVER. In my first year, I would consider myself quite shy so this as an experience of making friends and having the best night of my life was amazing. I met so many people that I became close to, some who are still here and some who have moved on, but who I still talk to.
Want to get in touch with Ash? You can contact her using the details below:
Phone: 01382 386 002