Making the most of UCL as a BME student

10 September 2020

Sandy, our Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Students’ Officer at the Union gives you her top tips on how to make the most of your time at UCL if you're a BME student.

Sandy Ogundele

Hey everyone! I’m Sandy, the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Students’ Officer at the Union. In March, I was elected by students to coordinate the BME Network; a space that supports, represents and organises students from African, Asian, Arab, Caribbean and Indigenous communities. 

The BME Community at UCL 

The BME Network is a place of acceptance and a platform for raising your voice. Together we can learn, campaign for change and support each other at UCL. We have socials, reading groups, BAME BBQs plus many other ways in which we have built a welcoming community at UCL. We also organise campaigns such as ‘Decolonise UCL’ and have lobbied UCL to take its history of Eugenics seriously. 

Apart from joining the Network, at the Union there’s Sports Clubs and SocietiesVolunteering Opportunities and Project Active which are all great places to meet new people and enrich your time at UCL with experiences you can’t really get elsewhere. 

Other support Networks exist for students that are WomenDisabled and LGBTQ+, so look out for these spaces for more support and community. Unlike some Clubs and Societies, these spaces are free to join!

Representation and making a change

Each year, we elect a committee of students to work closely on issues affecting BME Students on campus. This year, we’ve spent our time hosting events and socials, campaigning for a decolonised curriculum, working to close the Awarding Gap and standing up to all forms of racism at UCL.  

We also host forums for students to voice their concerns and work together to create solutions that enable us to thrive. This includes running the Black Students Caucus which is a space for activism and mutual aid for Black Students. Look out for this in the new academic year though our newsletters and social media. 

What support is available for you?

As a network we run on the principles of collective care and mutual aid because we are only as strong as each other. This year we created this mental health support guide for students to share and recommend resources to other students.

We’re also running a buddy scheme for incoming students to help with their transition during this tough time - to support each other, share information and knowledge with each other. If you’d like to take advantage of the scheme and buddy up with someone already studying at UCL, then you can apply for the scheme here.

We will host self-care sessions throughout the year to give students a chance to de-stress and share tools for better mental health. The Union also runs an independent Advice Centre, providing confidential advice to all UCL students on issues including housing, employment rights and money. 

That’s it from me. I wish you all the best with your journey through UCL, and we are here for you if you need us! Please do get in touch using the socials down below or email me.

To get involved in the BME Network - sign up to the newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. 

Sandy Ogundele, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Students’ Officer at the Union