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Meet our Undergraduate School Rep: Leah Duncan-Karrim

Leah, a second year student of Chinese, tells us about her plans for the role, which she'll hold for the 2018/19 academic year.

In the March 2018 Students' Association Elections, Leah Duncan-Karrim was elected Undergraduate School Rep for the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).

Each School at the University elects two Representatives (Reps): an Undergraduate School Rep; and a Postgraduate School Rep. Their role is to represent the views of LLC students to the School, the wider University and the Students’ Association. The Undergraduate School Rep represents the needs of Undergraduate students, from first year to final year of study, dealing with school-wide issues, ranging from teaching to facilities provision.

Leah is a student of Chinese and will be going into her second year of study in September 2018, when she starts her new role. In this interview, she speaks to Róisín MacFarlane (Web, Communications and Social Media Intern) about her motivations in running for the position, and what she would like to achieve during her time in post. 

'A great opportunity'

A photo of School Rep Leah Duncan-Karrim
Leah begins the role of LLC Undergraduate School Rep in September 2018

Following on from last year's 2017/18 Undergraduate School Rep, Georgie Harris, Leah was inspired by some of the experiences she had in her first year, and wanted to do more for LLC.

"I was a Class Rep for three classes last year - I like to do as much as I can. Having been Deputy Head Girl in my high school, I like organising and running projects, and wanted to extend that into my time as a student at the University of Edinburgh."

"During my time as a Class Rep, I had a lot of ideas and plans for activities and campaigns that were outwith my remit, so I thought being a Rep at School level would allow me to carry those out. The role really gave me an insight into the School and gave me an awareness of the processes involved. I wanted to make the most of my time before I go on my Year Abroad in third year, and thought this would be a great opportunity."

Focus on student wellbeing

Reflecting on her plans for the role, Leah is keen that focus is placed on providing more health and wellbeing support for all students within the School, particularly for those on their Year Abroad. 

"I'm planning to run Year Abroad support groups for students throughout their time away. I'm also really eager to retain contact with those students in that period of time, so they have all the updated information for support contacts and other resources."

"I would also really like to communicate and connect with other wellbeing groups on campus, with a particular focus on mental health assistance. I think it's important for students that we make and retain connections with support systems outwith the School."

Having volunteered as a Class Rep, Leah is also making a priority of providing more assistance to the students entering those roles.

"I want to run lunchtime drop-in support groups, perhaps on a weekly basis, so Class Reps can come to me directly to discuss any issues and we can take it forward from there. I find emails are sometimes too impersonal, and a direct approach can often give more support."

"I also think students would benefit from a cross-departmental event at one point throughout the year. It's great that individual departments have events such as the language plays, and I think it would be really beneficial to extend those projects to create an event for students from multiple subject areas."

"I'm really looking forward to getting started."

Leah Duncan-Karrim takes up the post of Undergraduate School Rep for LLC in September 2018. We are delighted that last year's Rep, Georgie Harris, has taken up the position of Vice President -Community with the Students' Association for 2018/19.

Related Links

Find out more about the role of School Rep from the Students' Association

Read our feature with last year's Undergraduate School Rep, Georgie Harris, on mental health while studying abroad

Watch our interview with Georgie Harris about her new role as Vice President - Community

Find out more about studying undergraduate Chinese