Part 4: IMPACT’s candidates for General Undergraduate Representative positions

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The Impact ticket is made up of students who have an active history within existing student groups at Macquarie. The ticket is made up of a mixture of Moderate Liberal students and members of the Macquarie University Greek Association, who are advocating for more student group support, a re-direction of SSAF funds and better communication between the SRC and the student body.

David Nouri IMPACT

David Nouri is studying a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Bachelor of Laws. When he’s not doing his readings, he enjoys spending time with his dog Tiger, drinking VB and listening to 80’s New Wave and 90’s Rap.

If elected, what aspects of university life do you intend to improve?

Parking – Ask any student who drives to uni, and they’ll tell you that they can never find a parking spot on campus, even though they’re paying $370 for a parking permit. We need more parking on campus, so students don’t spend excessive amounts of time looking for parking on campus.

Having Muse/Baseline open on Weekends – Though the Library and Computer Labs are open on weekends, it is impossible to find a spot to study during these times. When many assignments are due in at the end of weekends, students need to have access to sufficient study spaces on campus to ensure they have the facilities to meet the demands of student life.  By opening Muse, and Baseline on weekends, it will help ensure these facilities are provided to students.

Better connectivity between student groups and SRC – As the president of a Student Group, I have found that communication between the SRC and student groups, on decisions affecting student groups is not undertaken effectively. I believe there needs to be full consultation between all student groups and the SRC, for decisions affecting them directly.

Fairer allocation of SSAF funds to student groups – Currently, the funding model for student groups is ineffective. There needs to be a model which provides fairer allocation of funds to student groups, to allow them to provide the best possible campus experience to their members, and the wider student community.

Allocating SSAF funds to basic services and amenities – There are basic amenities, that at times, there are lacking around campus. Notability this is seen with the bathrooms not having toilet paper. These are fundamental necessities, which constantly need to be met. I believe these fees must be directed to these basic amenities.

How will you do this? 

Parking:

  • I will lobby to have parking lines in the West carpark more clearly outlined. This will stop students, parking between two spaces and reducing the overall level of parking on campus.
  • Lobby for the overflow carpark next to the Gym always open. This will help reduce congestion in the West carpark, through providing more options for students to park.
  • Lobby for a regular shuttle between Y3A and the Library. There is plenty of parking in Y3A, which students chose not to use, because of the distance between Y3A and the rest of campus. By extending the existing shuttle service, to go between Y3A and the Library, this will provide a greater incentive for students to park in Y3A.

Having Muse and Baseline open on Weekends:

  • Lobbying for a system whereby students holding student cards are able to use their campus cards to swipe into Muse and Baseline. This will ensure non-students are using these facilities on weekends.

Better connectivity between student groups and SRC:

  • Through maintaining a strong line of communication between the SRC and the presidents of the student groups. One possibility for this would be a specialised OrgSync page, which would allow for direct and frequent communication between the student groups and the SRC. Another option would be through email communication, of important decisions between these two bodies.

Fairer allocation of SSAF funds to student groups/Allocating SSAF funds to basic services and amenities:

  • For these goals to be achieved, I will lobby for the funds allocated to the SRC to be better spent to achieve these goals. This will be done through delegating with student groups, and average students, about what they want to get out of their university experience

What difficulties do you feel the SRC faces on the road ahead? 

There are two main difficulties facing the SRC:

  1. Independence of the SRC from the University Body

At present, the actions of the SRC are heavily monitored and controlled by the central component of the university. This spawned from the actions of Victor Ma, in 2007, where funds were misappropriated. The actions of Mr Ma have resulted in the university being reluctant in providing the SRC with any form of independent power. Though there has been a push in recent years, to decentralised the power of the SRC, more needs to be done, to allow for the SRC to be a truly representative body of students.

  1. Communication between the SRC and Students

As the SRC, is meant to be the peak body of student representation on campus, more needs to be done in opening the level of communication between the activities of SRC and how they affect students and student groups.

Regarding student groups, this can be achieved, by using OrgSync, or direct email correspondence, to allow for better means of communication about decisions taken by the SRC that affect students, as well as allowing for student groups to better convey their concerns to the SRC.

Regarding students, this can be achieved, by using the SRC Facebook page, to allow for a wide-reaching way for the SRC to gain the opinions of students, when making decisions.


Jamie Hallam IMPACT

Jamie Hallam is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) and a Bachelor of Arts (German Studies), who spends most of his time at the Ubar if not studying.

If elected, what aspects of university life do you intend to improve?

If, like me, you have ever tried to study late or on weekends as exam season looms, you would have noticed that most facilities are in fact closed. This is crucial for a lot of us students, because for some of us, the library or MUSE or Baseline are some of the only quite, productive study areas that we can find. So what we are calling on are 24 hour opening hours of Baseline and MUSE at minimum and extended opening hours for the Library. This will make it easier for students to study and instead of working around the opening hours of the MUSE or library, we can make it suit our timetables.

As the current Vice-President of Deutsche Ecke, I have noticed how under supported student groups can be at times. This is in many forms whether it be from complex and sometimes irrelevant forms, to being underfunded. I feel like a weakening of student groups across campus greatly diminishes the social life of Macquarie. We hope to give greater support to the student groups so that everyone can have a much more enjoyable experience whilst at uni.

As more students are driving to campus and less and less parking spaces are available, finding a parking spot is becoming harder and harder. Top it off with the ridiculously high price of parking permits. It is a frustration that is shared by nearly all drivers, and in the future this situation will only become worse as Macquarie University station is closed as the Liberal government intend to ‘improve’ the commute. I plan to be an advocate on improving this horrid parking situation that we currently find ourselves in.

How will you do this?

Building communication between the SRC and Macquarie and the students is key. It will enable students to have a voice and more crucially be listened to. We want to make an impact, and if voted in, we will make an impact for the students.

Currently the SRC stands independently of the students, and some members are unsure of what they are truly there for, and that is to serve the student body and to make an impact on things that will affect every student attending Macquarie.

What difficulties do you feel the SRC faces on the road ahead?

The SRC has big issues on the road ahead, and that is mostly due to a large disconnect between students and the SRC. We want to serve the SRC with students best wishes in mind, and make real changes. That was and continues to be another problem that the SRC is facing and that is making small visible changes and not large changes that won’t necessarily been noticed by the general student population.


George Mpliokas IMPACT

George Mpliokas is studying the Bachelor of Arts (Media) degree, spends an average of 27 minutes each day looking for parking, studies at Ubar and cooks his own gyros lunch (but only when the barbecue actually works). 

If elected, what aspects of university life do you intend to improve?

There needs to be better access to campus space in order for students to enrich the campus experience. If it costs a fortune to park ages away from class, there’s no chance of students getting involved in activities that will help their social skills, their technical ability and their employability. If they’re stuck on delayed public transport or late-night work, it’s just not fair to expect students to drive this more positive culture for Macquarie. Instead of being forced away, it would be much better for students if a culture could thrive on campus, where they can stay for longer in the library, or in the labs, or even at Ubar, meeting with their tutors and lecturers or working with clubs and societies. This is a university, it’s a centre of learning – this kind of culture would drive innovation and would benefit everyone.

In the same way, student groups that already exist are finding it harder and harder to keep operating because of the level of bureaucracy. Red tape is an absolute nightmare for students. And where new groups are trying start up, the bureaucracy seems to go out of its way to crush them. It makes it all too hard for students to put in the effort because the return isn’t there, the support isn’t what it should be and it all goes unnoticed. It makes uni the kind of place where people think twice about getting involved, about sticking around, and we end up with a place where people can’t wait to get away from.

How will you do this? 

Access is the key. We would make an impact by working towards better options for parking, with more regular spaces, more efficient car-share arrangements and more efficient shuttle services. There’s plenty of under utilised spaces on campus that can be transformed by considering and action on all the options – it’s not just about building a massive car park. From there, we would make an impact by bucking the trend for campus venues shutting down or operating on reduced hours. The isolated Y3A went months without a cafe with fresh food options. Other venues at C10A Campus Hub close earlier than ever. There aren’t too many people itching for a kebab or a pad thai at 10am, but they might just stick around if they’re open later than 3pm, and they’d definitely be around if study spaces are open for longer hours as well. We would advocate for MUSE to be accessible 24 hours a day for study purposes.

Administration and support for student groups needs wholesale reform. Offices are understaffed and there’s a backlog of paperwork, some groups are hamstrung because they can’t get funding that’s been pledged and can’t operate accounts that they were meant to have authority over months ago. These processes need to be made more transparent, more efficient and more user-friendly so that they encourage students to engage with student groups and build a positive culture on campus. We would advocate for a review of the relationship student groups have with admin and implement reforms on this basis.

As it stands, SRC has built a culture that always competes with the students it’s meant to represent. Instead of outmanoeuvring groups, we would work with them to showcase what they have to offer. To work with student groups, they need to know who represents them and how. That means that SRC needs to be seen, be heard and make an impact.

What difficulties do you feel the SRC faces on the road ahead?

The biggest challenge for SRC is in breaking the status quo. Elections aren’t taken seriously by the general student population because elected officials haven’t historically made the kind of impact on policy that benefits students. Not having a political affiliation, we’re the new kids on the block, we’re a fresh perspective and we’re ready to serve. Nobody’s really made the SRC accountable but we’re prepared to change all of that, so the establishment isn’t too impressed. We’ve got the biggest ticket not by chance, but because it was easy to find people willing to stand up and make an impact. Even if I’m elected, even if our entire ticket is elected, it won’t mean much to students if all we do is adopt the culture of apathy that we’d inherit. If we can break that culture, then I’d consider our campaign a success.


Patrick Wynne IMPACT

19 year old University student, proud advocate for an Australian Republic, active member of the Macquarie University Australian Republic Society, enthusiastic observer of politics, former First year law Representative on the UOW Law Society (during 2016).

If elected, what aspects of university life do you intend to improve? 

Better advocacy pertaining to Student Studying Facilities:

We pay for 24/7 security services despite enjoying limited access to essential student facilities such as MUSE. Why? We’re paying for this. An IMPACT SRC will advocate on behalf of all students for greater access to study spaces with longer opening hours. It’s time for an SRC that will put students first.

Fairer allocation of SSAF Funds:

One of the core goals of a Student Representative Council is to enhance the University experience of students. Our incumbent SRC is content in spending thousands of dollars on their self-indulgent policy ambitions while our clubs and societies are deprived of fair funding. It’s time for our SSAF funds to return to their due owners – the students. An IMPACT SRC will ensure student clubs and societies are prioritised first. The era of the second-placed student is over!

Better advocacy pertaining to parking:

It’s time for our SRC to get serious about parking. University students shouldn’t be expected to spend so much time on parking at the expense of their academic studies. With the impending train-line closure soon to take place, our parking facilities are only going to become more congested. An IMPACT SRC will ensure that advocacy for reform is a top priority.

How will you do this? 

Better advocacy for Student Studying Facilities:

An IMPACT SRC will lobby the University to extend opening hours of MUSE. An IMPACT SRC would work with the university, not against it. Additionally, we will advocate for reform the current student-card swipe in and swipe out system. We will advocate for students to have the ability to access this studying space at later time periods.

Fairer allocation of SSAF Funds:

To improve the university experience of all on-campus students, IMPACT has a strong policy ambition to give University clubs and Societies the chance to improve engagement with students. Our policy is simple – allocate SSAF funds to active Clubs and Societies for the purposes of holding a free BBQ for on-campus University students. Such a BBQ event serves the dual goals of – (1) improve club engagement with students; and (2) improve student university experience by providing a BBQ service.

Better advocacy for parking reform:

An IMPACT SRC will advocate for clear markings on grass area parking facilities to ensure that cars take up no more space than necessary. Additionally, as a temporary measure, we will advocate for the overflow carpark (near Gym) to open to alleviate the current situation.

What difficulties do you feel the SRC faces on the road ahead? 

The issues facing the SRC into the future are the same as the issues that have faced past student councils. That is – the constitutional make-up. An SRC does not have the direct power to build more parking facilities, nor directly change University policy pertaining to student facility opening hours. Rather, we achieve our policy ambitions through lobbying the University for change and, most importantly, through fairer allocating SSAF funds.


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