Liberation is at the heart of the SU’s mission to empower students and fight discrimination against black, LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans), women and disabled students in the university and beyond. So it’s fair to say that as the new Welfare and Diversity Officer at Goldsmiths SU, Mona Mounir has a pretty important job on her hands over the next 12 months.
But Mona is unfazed and tells us she’s psyched to ''get things done''. This summer ''I’ll be starting to organise the ‘liberation months’ such as Black History Month and Islamophobia awareness month. In the long-term I’ll be working to improve mental health facilities and support for faith groups and under-represented groups in the university.'' Mona says.
''I would really like to do more for trans students who are experiencing isolation, as well as the LGBT+ community and mental health more broadly. We have to think of solutions to mental health institutionally by looking at some of the root causes and not just quick fixes.'' Mona adds.
Mona studied Media and Sociology at Goldsmiths and is passionate about documentary filmmaking. In Egypt, her home-country, she’s involved with the Cairo Cycling Geckos, an initiative in which a group of women riding bicycles distribute free meals to underprivileged families. The project aims to challenges sexist prejudices about women cycling in Egypt, Mona says.
At Goldsmiths she will be continuing the ‘Liberate my Degree’ initiative which aims to move the university curriculum beyond Eurocentric and white-dominated narratives. ''I absolutely loved my degree but I wanted it to be way more diverse in terms of reading lists and focus''. Mona explains.
She will also be working closely with the Part Time BME Officer to further efforts to close the BME attainment gap, which is the difference between the proportion of White students who are awarded a 1st or 2:1 and the proportion of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students who are awarded the same. ''We need to take steps to address it and solve it institutionally'', Mona says.
''I also will be looking to implement mandatory training for lecturers to tackle the problem of microaggressions in the classroom and on campus.'' she adds.
Mona will be working closely with the Against Sexual Violence coordinator and peer facilitators to continue the work on tackling and eradicating sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct on and off campus.
Mona was involved in the Palestine Society, acted as the Palestine Twinning Officer and founded the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Society at Goldsmiths. Her message to new Goldsmiths students is ''Get involved! Outside of lectures, there’s so much more you can learn. Getting involved with student societies is the best way to meet people and learn about the world.''