The Equality Express: Fast-Tracking Inclusion in Universities

StudentPulse Team
May 15, 2023

Passionate, motivated leaders with a genuine drive for equality and inclusion are a rare find, yet Fahad Ahmed shines as one of these exceptional individuals. Originally from Bangladesh, Fahad is currently pursuing a degree in business management at the University of Roehampton in London. His dedication extends beyond the classroom as he takes on multiple roles within the university, including serving as the president of his college (Southlands College), where he tirelessly represents and advocates for student interests.

One of Fahad's main missions as a student leader is to promote the inclusion of international students, who make up 65% of the college population, by ensuring they receive equal opportunities and that they can make the most of their university experience. In this episode of the Student Pulse podcast, we delve into Fahad Ahmed’s inspiring journey, exploring the transformative experiences that have shaped his perspective, and his unwavering commitment to building a future where equality and inclusion thrive.

Why equality and inclusion?

As Fahad shared, championing equality and inclusion was not always a part of his story. Growing up surrounded by wealth and privilege, he was shielded from the hardships faced by others. A turning point in his life came when he attended a charity event focused on assisting street children. Witnessing their struggles and profound need opened Fahad’s eyes to a reality he had previously overlooked.

The event sparked a deep desire within him to make a difference and support those who are less fortunate. This included taking a bold step to dedicate all his savings to charitable causes, a decision that went against cultural norms surrounding wealth and fundraising in his community. Fahad also travelled to rural areas, actively listening to people's stories, and seeking to understand their needs in order to address inequalities and create change. 

Fahad's journey took an even more meaningful turn when he moved to the United Kingdom as an international student. Suddenly, he found himself in an unfamiliar environment, without the comforts and support systems he had always known. Struggling to adapt and overcome language and cultural barriers, he experienced firsthand the challenges faced by those lacking power and a sense of belonging. The process of rebuilding his life offered Fahad a unique perspective—one that allowed him to connect deeply with others and propelled him further on his mission to advocate for equality and inclusion.


When you don’t know what you don’t know 

At university, Fahad believes that one of the primary hurdles international students face is a lack of cultural awareness and understanding that the university experience can be much more than they imagine. Many students mistakenly believe that the university solely revolves around attending lectures, seminars, and completing coursework. However, Fahad believes that university should also be about learning from the environment, making connections with friends from all corners of the globe, and pursuing their aspirations. In terms of equality and diversity, this lack of awareness becomes a fundamental challenge as international students may not realise the support available to them or understand how to advocate for themselves.

What can universities do to promote equality and inclusion amongst international students?

Having spearheaded over 170 events at his university, dedicated to fostering equality and inclusivity among students, Fahad offers the following valuable pointers as inspiration for universities seeking to emulate his efforts:

  1. Open Communication and Engagement: Fahad realised early on that students needed to be asked (and often more than once) if they required assistance. Universities can promote student engagement by encouraging them to seek help, ask questions, and express their needs. By fostering an environment where students feel comfortable approaching staff members and student leaders, universities can ensure that students receive the necessary support and guidance to thrive academically and socially.

  1. Foster Cultural Diversity and Representation: One of Fahad's primary strategies to promote diversity and inclusion is through the organisation of events that celebrate different cultures. Recognizing the importance of cultural representation, Fahad actively involves students from various countries, seeking their input and generating ideas for culturally significant events. By involving students in the planning process, he ensures that the events reflect their diverse backgrounds and interests. 

  1. Encourage Collaboration and Camaraderie: Fahad's passion for connection extended beyond his own college. He actively collaborated with student leaders from other colleges, forging friendships and nurturing a sense of camaraderie. By encouraging collaboration among student leaders from various colleges, universities can create an environment where student-led initiatives flourish. 

  1. Passing on Knowledge to Build New Leaders: To promote continuity and foster a culture of empathy and inclusivity, universities can encourage student leaders to document their experiences and insights. Fahad's practice of recording his journey through blog posts and journals can serve as a blueprint for future leaders, allowing them to build upon existing foundations and drive lasting change.

StudentPulse revolutionises student engagement and support to help foster inclusion and equality

In the pursuit of fostering inclusion and equality, StudentPulse brings a transformative approach to student engagement and support in universities. By harnessing the power of microsurveys and real-time data analytics, StudentPulse empowers universities to actively engage their students throughout their university journey, encouraging them to voice their opinions and provide valuable insights for continuous improvement.

With StudentPulse, universities can also consolidate access to all available support and resources for international students in one centralised platform, streamlining the process of seeking assistance and automatically matching students’ needs with the appropriate resources.

To learn more about StudentPulse and how it can help revolutionise your students’ experience, reach out to our team here or click here to listen to the full version of our podcast with Fahad on fostering an equal and inclusive university experience!