Nigerian duo making waves at the University of Plymouth
Nigerian international students Chukwudi Ezenyi and Bitty Walter Inyang have been celebrating this semester after both securing Vice President roles in the Student Union at the University of Plymouth.
With a total of five presidential roles up for grabs, the Student Union is now represented by 40% Nigerian pupils.
The former University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) pupils will now be responsible for heading up key areas of the Student Union, with Chukwudi in charge of Activities and Development and Bitty Walter taking the helm as the Vice President for Wellbeing and Diversity.
In order to get the roles, both students were part of an election process, each running against seven other candidates.
Reflecting on his victory, Chukwudi said:
“I ran against seven other qualified and amazing candidates, but it was God’s grace that gave me the victory. We [the candidates] all had a positive vision for what we wanted to achieve as Activities and Development representative."
“When I found out I had won it was a feeling of relief and excitement. Trust me, it wasn’t easy campaigning the whole week, alongside lectures and coursework; there was a lot of work! I was so happy, it was just a really exciting moment. I would say there has been a lot of great experiences here, but Friday night has to be my highlight. It was a feeling of joy.”
The tale of election success was an altogether different experience for Walter, who is already in position as a Vice President, and was looking to be re-elected.
Visibly delighted and relieved at being re-elected, Walter said:
“As a current officer, I felt that there was more pressure on me. Everyone who I was up against was coming to take me off my seat! Generally because it’s an opportunity that no one should pass on. The role gives you managerial skills, it makes you time-conscious. It gives you every possible skill you can possibly think of.”
Visionary candidates Chukwudi and Walter both have a strong will and desire to make improvements to the Student Union in their areas of expertise; an enthusiasm that was evident in their successful manifesto promises.
As VP for Actives and Development, Chukwudi's vision is for greater representation of clubs and societies, the supporting inclusivity, and a strong focus on organising joint events with all of the various university teams.
Taking charge of Wellbeing and Diversity, Walter aims to promote awareness of Mental Health, Liberation groups (LGBT+, Disability, BAME, Women, & non-binary) Wellbeing, Sexual Health, Sustainability and Partner Colleges. He will still continue to represent International Students in his new role.
Reflecting on their success
After originally arriving in 2013 to study a Foundation in Computing, Chukwudi progressed on to his degree in BSc (Hons) Computer Systems and Networks with the University of Plymouth.
His appetite for learning grew even stronger, leading to his second degree in BA (Hons) International Trade and Operations Management a number of years later. Reflecting on his journey to the university many years ago, he said:
“I heard about the University of Plymouth International College when I was back home in Nigeria. It was someone from my High School that told me about it, and a few of my older friends were already studying here.”
“The International College helped me to understand the education system and I had a very inclusive relationship with the people there. It taught me how interact with classmates and lecturers.”
As he approaches the end of his academic studies, Chukwudi dreams about running his own business in the future.
Walter arrived at UPIC in January 2015, studying a Foundation in Business and Management before progressing on to study a full degree in BA (Hons) International Business. He said:
“When I started in the UK, I didn’t know much about the teaching system, or the academic processes. There were a few fellow Nigerians in my class, as well as students from many other countries that I could relate with. This gave me a balance; I was away from home, but I also felt that I was not away from home.”
“The foundation helps you prepare for university life, and then after you leave the international college (UPIC) you are into the university and you see more of the home students but you are already settled into life in Plymouth, you already have friends, you feel settled”.
He also spoke about what he loves about the Plymouth environment and where people can visit.
“When it is sunny and the weather is right, Plymouth is the place to be! It is really nice, there are beautiful places like Dartmoor nearby, and Eden Project in Cornwall; both less than an hour away.”