“As a student with a hidden disability, I have felt part of a community I never knew existed at Imperial.”
I am one of the nine Liberation and Community Officers at Imperial College Union who support marginalised minority groups at Imperial. As the Disabilities Officer, I represent the disabled student community at Imperial and lead the Disabilities Network. Within this network, I try to foster a safe space for students who identify with a disability where they can feel comfortable engaging with other members of the network.
As the chair of the network, I am responsible for pushing for positive experiences for disabled students at Imperial. I work closely with the Disability Advisory Service, including Departmental Disability Officers, to fight for disabled student rights by raising issues from students to the Union and to the College. Additionally, I collaborate with the ABLE network, which supports staff with disabilities, to collect feedback from disabled staff members at Imperial.
My primary goal has been to create platforms that engage the disabled student community. The Instagram account I created, @icudisabilitiesnetwork, is a great place for students to connect and engage with the network informally. I have conducted several interviews with disabled students, allowing them to share their experiences and stories, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Students are empowering one another by sharing their vulnerabilities and experiences, breaking down the stigma surrounding disabilities, and feeling less isolated and alone.
As a student with a hidden disability, I now feel part of a community I never knew existed at Imperial. Through meetups like brunch socials, I have created opportunities for students to connect and relate with one another, creating friendships and connections across different year groups and courses. With the help of my sub-committee, we have made a significant impact in supporting and empowering disabled students. I am proud to have made a difference at Imperial and will continue to advocate for the rights and support of the disabled student community.
I feel a strong connection with the Imperial Values in the work that I do. I am committed to fostering a safe and respectful space at Imperial for disabled students to connect and support each other. I strive to eliminate discrimination and ensure that students feel comfortable approaching me as their representative. I actively collaborate with students and staff to bring about positive changes for disabled students at Imperial. I strive for excellence and take great pride in everything I do and am deeply passionate and committed to creating a better Imperial for all students. Integrity is very important to me. I always maintain openness and honesty about my personal experiences of my hidden disability and will never share other people’s opinions without their consent. To ensure that student voices are heard and valued, I continuously challenge the College and the Union to be open to feedback and to make innovative changes based on student experiences.
I am eager to witness the progress of the Disabilities Network in the years to come. I anticipate that future Disabilities Officers will be able to identify areas for improvement that may have eluded me and bring fresh perspectives. I am confident that they will continue to work towards enhancing the experience of disabled students at Imperial.
As I transition to my new role as the Royal College of Science Union’s Vice President of Clubs and Societies next year, I am excited about the opportunity to positively impact student welfare beyond their studies.