Welcome to the Meet our Sustainability Scholars blog!
The Sustainability Scholars are international students that were awarded the DMU Sustainability Scholarship. Our scholars are from all across the world and are extremely passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals and sustainability. The scholars sat down with Dennis (Learning for Sustainability Frontrunner) to answer a few questions to get to know them better. Here’s our fifth scholar, Ofili!
Dennis: Hey Ofili! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to have a chat with me. Let’s jump right in! Tell me about yourself.
Ofili: My name is Ofili Chidinma Maria. I am from Nigeria. I am a Biochemistry graduate but currently studying for a Masters degree in Psychological well-being at De Montfort University, Leicester. That’s a bit of a switch I know. In the recent past, I found myself being drawn to mental health awareness and an inclination to become a psychological well-being practitioner. A fun fact about me is that I know at least a little bit about everything. I also love to sing loudly in the shower and dance when no one is watching.
Dennis: Seems like we have a Beyoncé on our hands. I do at time have some amazing concerts in my shower (LOL). How have you been settling in to DMU and the UK?
Ofili: As it is my first time in the UK, I count it an intriguing experience so far besides the multicultural atmosphere and amazing learning experience at DMU Leicester which has an excellent learning framework award and I would say lives true to its name. I have had the opportunity to visit historical monuments such as King Richard III centre, Buckingham palace, Victoria memorial square and the London Bridge.
My time at DMU has equally exposed me to the excellence culture of tutoring and learning however, I find the interest of the university in sustainability quite remarkable which was part of why I applied to DMU. During my stay so far and being part of the sustainability team, strides have been made in areas of health and climate crisis in sustaining our planet by launching e- projects as seen in the e-bikes launch at strategic locations on campus.
Dennis: It sounds like you have been certainly enjoying your time thus far. You mentioned the sustainability of the campus. Can you tell me why you are interested in sustainability and by extension the Sustainable Development Goals?
Ofili: The foundation of a state is the education of its youth according to Diogenes, and this has fostered my interest in community development and issues hinging on youths and mental health challenges. I believe part of sustainability is all about inclusivity and creating an enabling environment where everyone can thrive and maximize their potentials. Regardless that mental health wasn’t featured in the SDGs explicitly but promoting mental health and wellbeing falls within the health goal (Goal 3), I believe that predisposing factors of anxiety and depression such as substance abuse and wrong lifestyle choices as coping mechanisms which are most prevalent amongst youths and persons in stressful environments inclusive of universities with surge in academic pressure could be tackled by the sustainability. This would be through campaigns and e-bulletins on lifestyle choices and how to manage burnout induced stress.
Dennis: I most certainly agree that promoting mental health is quite important. Especially during this time where we have seem an increase in the need for mental health amongst young people. Earlier you mentioned that you’re pursuing a MSc in Psychological Well-Being, how can the SDG’s assist you in your career development in this area?
Ofili: Growing up in my home country Nigeria, I have realised that there is little focus on mental health issues and how much it can affect other areas of ones life. The SDG’s can assist my career development by creating opportunities for me where I can learn and interact with professionals in my field of mental wellbeing to make an impact in my current community amongst the students and staff. I have had a bit of experience in my country working in the reproductive health industry and experienced the extent of misinformation amongst youths in my community in sensitive areas such as HIV/AIDS, STIs and substance abuse which culminates to anxiety and depression.
Dennis: You will certainly change the world as I am of the view that mental wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do in life. To wrap up our conversation today, if you had one wish that you could only use on sustainability and the SDG’s, what would it be?
Ofili: One wish I have to use on SDG’s and sustainability is more focused awareness on mental health and well-being. Good Health is not only the absence of disease of the body but also of the mind. Mental health wellbeing is experienced in every aspects of human productivity and affects how they can cope with stressful daily life efficiently. Casual daily habits and lifestyle choices such as smoking and drug dependency have a tendency to predispose individuals to long term health and mental health challenges and there is much work to be done and government policies to be established towards effecting positive change.
Dennis: Wow Ofili! Mental health is really important and I truly feel your passion for it. Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with me. All the best in your studies.
For more information about the DMU Sustainability Scholarship, please contact the Sustainability Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow us on all our social media sites @SustainableDMU.