Story: By Baillor Jalloh
Two months after SHU students voted for their 2013-14 Officers to represent them in the student’s Union, TrySheffield met up with the new president elect Howard Duffy for an exclusive interview about the victory and his family background.
Three years ago most students at Sheffield Hallam University hardly knew who Duffy was nor think of voting for him as a president of the student union.
Today when his name is mention to students, lots of them will either say they know him or have heard about the man who used an old fashioned bicycle with a yellow banner on his back, cycling around campus begging for their votes during the election campaign in February.
Before he came to Sheffield Hallam five years ago to study criminology, the 22-year-old lived with his family in his home town of Chester. He had no political background and his dream was to become a police officer.
He told our reporter: “Sheffield Hallam was my first choice, because they fitted my quota and I fitted theirs so when I came for the open day, I said to myself ‘that’s it.”
When asked what the secret was to his election victory, he smiled whilst sat on a chair with his two arms folded in a tiny quiet room opposite his office and replied there was no secret.
“Planning the campaign, talking to lots of people and having a cheesy tagline and having a name like Duffy was the secret.” he joked.
His new fame and popularity in the University has not put him off at all, but is something he has got used to.
“When walking around (the campus), I still say hello as I have always done previous years.
“The hardest thing is walking around hundreds of people know who you are but you don’t know them.”
During his leisure time, he does not do anything extra-special except going to the gym to get fit and playing rugby or golf. He is part of the SHU rugby team that represents the University in competitions including Varsity.
Over the last few years he was involved in most of the Varsity events, but this year he did not take part because of the administrative task and other workloads that were on him.
However, he told TrySheffield, “I am looking forward to the excitement and challenges that are involved in the role.
“It is definitely empowering to be in a position at this age, where there are greater people with more wisdom and experience than me but they still respect you for the role you are doing.“
When asked where he sees himself in ten years’ time Duffy said: “Lots of surprises have happened this year and it’s a privilege.
“I will take things as they come.”