Meet your President: Talhah Atcha

Tell us a bit about your journey here at Queen Mary so far?

I have had a fantastic journey through the university so far. Having done a medical degree, intercalated degree and now a master’s at Queen Mary and Barts and The London I have loved the staff and teaching styles employed at the University as well as the diversity of the student body. Add to this the wide variety of activities and outlets offered by the Students’ Union and you have a one of a kind experience that you just couldn’t get at any other university.

What’s your go-to order for Drapers or The Griff?

The Moving Mountains Burger. Delicious and vegan! Even if you’re not vegan give it a go, I think you may just be surprised.

What are your top priorities for the year?

My priorities for this year include making the Students’ Union more representative and visibly student-led, which will hopefully allow more students to engage with the Union than ever before. I also want to make both the Union and University a lot more sustainable, and not just for the student body but Tower Hamlets in general as well. Finally, amongst my many other plans, I want to focus on postgraduates. As a Students’ Union we don’t engage with postgrads as well as we could and I feel, as the first President in a long time to be a postgrad student, I have a responsibility to make postgrads a priority in the Union.

Favourite spot on campus?

I love the roof on the Graduate Centre, stunning views with a kitchen, it really is an amazing place to study and work in.

If you could start again, what would be the first society you’d join?

I think I’d try a different academic society. I’ve been involved in every kind of society from cultural and faith through to the arts and recreational societies but I never joined an academic society that wasn’t related to the degree I was doing. Part of the advantage of going to university is that you can learn about other disciplines outside of your own and if I was to redo university I’d like to take the opportunity to broaden my horizons by joining a different academic society.

What’s your favourite non-campus place in East London?

Victoria Park. There’s large green spaces, a lake with a fountain and it’s a pretty decent size so you can do anything you want there, whether it’s having a picnic and hanging with your friends or going for a run (the lake is the perfect size for this!)

If you could tell the incoming students one piece of advice, what would it be?  

There is so much you can do and join at university, keep trying different things until you find your community. I promise there’s at least one place which will click and you will instantly feel like you fit in, but it may take some trial and error. It may not be your course that brings that sense of community but there will be something, whether it is a society or sports club or one of our hundreds of volunteering opportunities. And if you can’t find something let me know, as an ex-society officer I’m more than happy to help you start-up something that is just right for you, whatever that may be.

To keep up to date with what Talhah is up to, follow him on Twitter, Instagram, or contact him directly via email