Muhammad Firdaus - VP Societies and Volunteering

Muhammad Firdaus is a recent graduate from the School of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics. He has been elected to serve as your Vice President for Societies & Volunteering.

A mature international student from Singapore, Muhammad has served as Chair of the International Students Society, Chair of the Writers’ Guild Society, Station Manager of the Storm FM student radio station, Captain of the Jujitsu Club and was active in the Islamic Society, representing Muslim students at interfaith events.

As Vice President for Societies & Volunteering, Muhammad intends to focus on raising awareness for Undeb Bangor’s Volunteering Projects, encourage Societies to become self-sufficient and promote sustainable growth, develop student media societies so all student groups can take advantage of those avenues of communication, and increase and improve representation for student minority groups, particularly International and Liberation (LGBT+, BAME, Disabled, Trans & Women) groups, within Undeb Bangor Student’s Union. He wholeheartedly supports the UMCB Welsh Union’s aims at raising awareness of Welsh language and culture within the student body, and takes pride on being truly ‘International’.

Muhammad also believes very strongly that lasting change of any sort must come from the ground up with the support of the student body, and will take time to happen, and prefers a collaborative approach and networking directly with students to establish systems that will eventually bring that change about.

Tue 19 Nov 2019

Wholesome Bangor?

I’ve described the Wholesome Bangor campaign as ‘quite possibly the laziest social media campaign ever’, but what exactly is it? Before we talk about ‘Wholesome’, let’s talk about Bangor:

The Bangor student body is made up of about 11,000 or so. That may seem like a lot, but compared to larger city universities like Cardiff or Manchester, we are just large enough to be comfortable and small enough to really get to know each other. And it’s that cosiness and ‘everybody knows everybody’ in Bangor that I find to be one of our greatest strengths!

Every open day, potential students are impressed by how easy it is for them to speak directly with staff and other students, and how individually they are treated. In other university open days, they say, they feel lost in the crowd.

And this feeling continues into student life – again, every student is given the chance to spend quality time with their lecturers, and with our free clubs, societies and volunteering opportunities, every student also has the chance to tap into as many ‘communities’ as their interests and energy allow, making it even more likely that they’ll always know somebody who knows somebody!

That’s where the ‘Wholesome’ bit comes in. It’s no secret that mental health and general wellbeing is a growing concern these days. Student life comes with all sorts of pressures – for most students, this is the first time they’re moving to a strange new location, far from family and the friends they had back home, to live in a strange house or flat with people they don’t know, and on top of that they’re expected to balance their personal budgets and get good grades. Add to that the doom and gloom happening around the world, live on your computer screen. It’s tough.

But I noticed something last year, in my first term as a Sabbatical Officer. When I was a drill sergeant, a senior sergeant gave me some advice on how to handle recruits from the rougher end of society:

“You must sayang (care for) them. These are budak penjara (prison kids), they are tough on the outside, but very soft on the inside.”

My Warrant Officer gave me similar advice for handling my responsibilities:

“You must love your men. Even when you punish them, you must love them.”

I took that perspective with me ever since, and I try my best now to genuinely appreciate every student I work with, as individuals – and something amazing happened:

The more genuine care and appreciation I showed to them, the more motivated and energised they became, and the more they showed genuine care and appreciation for those around them. In many ways, they were picking up on the feeling of positivity and trust and realising they could reach out to others in the same way. I called this atmosphere of sincere care and positivity ‘wholesomeness’ – a word I am shamelessly stealing from the good part of the internet.

And over the summer, I decided – this is my final term as a Sabb, let’s see if I can plant a seed of Wholesomeness into the fertile soil of Bangor.

And that’s where you, the reader, come in. Wholesome Bangor is about showing people all the good that happens in the student body, on a sincere, individual, personal level. Everything a society, club, or volunteering project does that touches lives – even if it’s simply a great social! – is Wholesome. Every good news story about how a student is changing the world for the better, even if by taking care of themselves, is Wholesome. Every difficult but necessary conversation about important issues that touch at the core of us, like being courageous enough to ask for help and share our problems with those who love us, is Wholesome.

So for anything you post on social media that is in any way Wholesome, be sure to tag #WholesomeBangor on it! This campaign lasts all year round – and, in fact, if you never stop hashtagging, that just means Bangor will never stop being Wholesome!

 
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