Meet your VP Welfare: Shamima Akter

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

My journey at QM has been absolute madness! I’ve experienced both the highest and lowest points of my life here at QM.

I did a Computer Science degree for 3 years and I honestly never expected my university experience to be anything interesting. Little did I know, being in university really threw me in the deep end, allowing me to develop personally, build friendships and a sense of community, get involved and do things that exceed my own expectations. Honestly, when they say that university is the best years of your life, my experience definitely echoes that statement!

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

The beef burger at Drapers is amazing! To be honest, the food at drapers is really good and I’m not just saying that. It’s good value for money and very filling. If you are a Computer Science student and are always in the ITL, like most of us always were, I highly recommend Drapers as a lunch spot! And let’s be real, anywhere else is way too far!

What are your top priorities for the year?

I want to be realistic here and emphasise that we get one year and that year goes fast. In the one year that I am given as VP Welfare, I want to ensure campaigns run well, with more student involvement. Also, I want to continue conversations and awareness campaigns regarding issues that matter to students; including mental health, domestic violence, sexual violence and hate crimes, amongst many others. Another huge priority is working together with the university to ensure the difficulties students face, within the academic sphere, are identified and addressed. These are only a few of the things I plan to do but at the end of the day, I hope to represent every student, regardless of the liberation group* they are from, to the best of my ability.

*Queen Mary Students’ Union understands that forms of structural oppression marginalise some groups of students, resulting in social and economic inequality, discrimination and harassment. The term liberation describes the need to break down these oppressive hierarchies

For this reason, the Students’ Union elects 9 self-defining liberation representatives who lead on issues affecting groups of students traditionally marginalised within higher education. This includes the Mile End and BL reps for LGBT+, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), disabled and women students and the cross-campus Trans rep.”

Favourite spot on campus?

I know it’s not the most scenic place on the campus but the ITL is my favourite place on the Mile End campus. Every CS student has a love/hate relationship with it. It’s not just a building, it’s a community :’)

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

In my first year, I joined the Bangladesh Society first and in all honesty, I would join it first again! One thing I will say though, I do wish I joined sports club because that’s one thing I didn’t do at all.

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

Shoreditch… basic I know but hear me out… I love vintage shopping and that’s the best place for it. Besides vintage shopping, it’s just such a nice, urban area, there’s so much to do and discover and I love it.

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

Do everything! Given that you have the time, of course - do not stretch yourself thin and try to do more than you can handle. But yeah, it’s a time period of personal development, understanding yourself and figuring things out. So do exactly that and have fun!

To find out more about what Shamima is up to, follow her on Twitter or Instagram, or you can email her directly!