Beginning in Somalia, and taking in 18 years in Broomhall, it’s been a long and eventful journey for Union President-elect Abdi-Aziz Suleiman.
The third year Philosophy student won a landslide victory in the Union Officer elections, beating his nearest rival by almost 2,000 votes.
Since his win, he has been getting back down to earth with coursework, but in the back of his mind he knows that next year he’ll be taking on the responsibility of around 25,000 students.
And when Abdi heard the announcement that he will be next year’s Union President, he immediately came to terms with the enormity of the task ahead of him.
“People think it’s a moment of ecstatic joy, but really it’s a moment of considerable burden and of considerable responsibility.
“You have a year to do the things that you said you’d do and the things that you fundamentally believe will make the Union and the city a better place, and if you don’t end up doing the things that you said you’d do, you have almost a lifetime of regret.
“That’s also an intense pressure.”
Abdi wants to introduce an Open Café where students can contribute ideas to officers and discuss them with other students.
“What you can do is create a space where as many students can come together and mingle with other students as possible, and then the point is to ask societies: ‘If we set up an Open Café, would you be willing to advertise it inside your society?‘ And say to everyone, ‘Enjoy what you’re doing here, but make sure you get down to the Open Cafés as well.”
And having worked with local children, Abdi also wants to increase the level of student participation in the local community.
“What if we paid students a small amount of money, a living wage or a minimum wage and they went into an area, and they provided tutoring services to students in the local area?
“That would make a considerable amount of difference to people’s lives.
“Students of all different subjects could go into these areas and help. Then we could literally make a difference, not just to the lives of people, but also to the intellectual atmosphere of the city.”
Brought up in Broomhall
Since leaving Somalia at the age of three, Abdi has been brought up on the University’s doorstep in Broomhall.
“I was born in Somalia, and left Somalia when I was about three, and it’s a lot simpler than it seems.
“From then, I literally moved to Broomhall, and if you go up to University House, you can actually see my house from there.”