Hello! I’m Becca, the Events and Communications officer for the Disabled Students Group (DSG). I joined in 2021 and nominated myself for the committee as I wanted to make a difference and increase engagement to ensure every disabled student has the best student experience possible whilst at the OU.
“I come to feel part of a community (…) a nice group of like-minded individuals” – member
“ I really enjoy meeting other students with disabilities and seeing our members supporting each other”– committee member
In this article, I’m joined by 2 of our committee members, Leanne White and Sophia Davis to chat about their experiences of the DSG and why you might want to join our community.
How long have you been involved with the DSG?
Leanne White: I joined the DSG shortly after I became an OU Student after attending a Freshers Event. I was co-opted onto the committee about 10 months ago and was lucky enough to be elected in the most recent elections.
Sophia Davis: I have only been a member of the DSG since September 2021 when I came back to study at the OU. I was also a member when studying in 2017 but left when I left my studies. I am new to the DSG committee and was only elected in December 2021.
Why did you decide to join the DSG?
Leanne White: I joined the group to find support from other disabled students and to get advice about applying for Disabled Students Allowance. I wanted to find a place where I belonged.
Sophia Davis: I decided to join the DSG as a member as it looked like a great group to join where I can speak to other students who understand, and somewhere I can get advice when needed.
What do you get out of it?
Leanne White: My favourite part of being on the committee is interacting with members, offering support, and knowing I am helping others along their OU journey.
Sophia Davis: Feeling like I have a safe space to write any struggles, [where] there are others [who] can understand and relate, and being able to socialise with other students where have something in common. My favourite part is that DSG is a really supportive group to be in, it is full of loads of lovely people and is non-judgemental. Knowing that I can get basic support when needed or knowing that someone can signpost, and just being [able] to socialise with others who understand and relate on issues such as DSA.
What are you most looking forward to by being part of the DSG this year?
Leanne White: Having a full committee is exciting! I'm looking forward to working with the rest of the team and providing events and support for the members.
Sophia Davis: Being part of the committee and being able to support fellow disabled students and members of DSG, but also as a member just being able to interact with other members of the group and hopefully being able to have some online or even face to face social meetings.
Would you recommend the DSG to students?
Leanne White: Absolutely! Disabled students deal with unique challenges as they go through their journey with the OU. I think it's important to surround yourself with people who have an understanding of what that can be like and have the means to help you through.
Sophia Davis: Definitely. It does not matter if you identify as disabled or not, if any student has any long-term condition or difficulty that may affect any aspect of their learning then DSG is the right place to join. It is a welcoming area full of many students with a wide range of conditions and disability who are all very supportive of each other. It is great to just socialise with other students who will understand your concerns and any difficulties. There are a range of people in the group who have a knowledge of the OU and can help and support you in knowing what other support is available to you as a disabled student. You can hear others experiences and it is really beneficial to be a part of.
Our next event is on March 18 2022 at 6pm. We hope to see some of you soon!