Words || Katelyn Free
Hello and welcome back to another glorious year at Macquarie Uni. The concrete blocks are burning with the ever-growing heat of global warming. The Campus Common is essentially a giant sauna because it is literally an open-air oven of death. And there’s the sweet scent of quickly fading optimism in the air as first years become disillusioned realising that university is just like high school. But with debt. And less sleep.
So, on that note, let’s delve into all the drama you missed from Macquarie 2018 and what we’re looking forward to this year.
Too Construction to Function
Major construction works have been well underway at MQ for over a year now. Hip hip hooray! The once vibrant Campus Hub, home of beloved food stores and the glory days of Ubar was torn down and a beautiful white construction wall was erected in its memory.
120 lemon scented gums, a historical centre piece of the uni courtyard, were felled under questionable circumstances (take a flick back to Grapeshot’s reporting on the tree murder back in January 2018 for the full goss). And Grapeshot’s favourite emotional breakdown spot, the lake, has seen less numbers of nature hungry students and is now more barren than a 9am lecture. The only really positive thing to come from the whole endeavour was a rather splendid bin chicken mural.
Past grievances aside, the construction wasn’t for the sole purpose of crushing students’ social lives. A new glowing central courtyard will once again fill the space next to the lake, providing the ‘important heart of the campus’ that will ‘prepare us for the next 50 years of our growth’ according to the release given early last year. And while the artist’s renderings do give us an idyllic glimpse into a word of bountiful tennis tables and glass paned buildings, no date has yet been given as to the completion of these works.
They Don’t Even Go Here!
Not only did some serious bricks and mortar peddling take place within the campus, but Macquarie train system too came under major construction in September 2018. While replacement buses Stationlink have taken the reigns with seemingly good effect, the project’s initial announcement estimated it would take around 7 months for the train station to re-open, with reports last year stating that early May would be the earliest date for reopening. Winner winner chicken dinner.
On the bright side, last year Macquarie farewelled the rigid parking permit system and welcomed in new pay as you go parking using the app Cello. With parking now only $1 per hour and capped at $6 per day, if you’d rather drive to uni and create more climate change destruction, it’s now cheaper than ever to do so!
Oh my god student groups. You can’t just ask the uni where your funding is
Student groups got hit with some dramatic funding and uni support changes last year that went down about as well as five tequila shots after you know you should’ve gone home an hour ago.
There was the implementation of fees to hire rooms for student group use in the new space MAZE, which was built to replace the ample spaces available in the old Campus Hub. At $90 a pop to hire a room for an event and a booking block out ban for the first three weeks of both semesters, it was no surprise 53 student groups signed a letter of concern to the Manager of Campus Engagement, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Kevin Jameson and SRC.
After an SRC forum held late last year, there are now ten rooms available after 6pm for free use by student groups during the black-out period. Generous, we know.
In semester two, significant funding issues were
experienced by a large number of student groups, resulting in an almost boycott of O-Week and a special SRC Student Group Forum being convened. Student groups experienced delays in funding as the uni transferred to a new finance system and a $2,000 funding cap was imposed. The SRC promised to review the funding cap and examine a special event savings clause to allow student groups with more than $2,000 access to funds in particular circumstances.
Campus Engagement has informed Grapeshot of their intentions to address the concerns of these students in 2018, conference room space will now be available for student groups and can be booked through Campus Engagement. Moreover Campus Enagement can be contacted in regards to gaining more funding for societies. This is a huge win for student groups, with the university offerring student groups the equivalent of some late night carbs and a glass of water, rather than another tequila shot of regret xx
Get in Loser. We’re Going Voting
Get your democratic rights ready to rumble kids because it’s everyone’s favourite biennial event. SRC elections.
For those not up to date on how the SRC functions at Macquarie, unlike other universities, Macquarie’s SRC is fundamentally controlled by the university. Key members are appointed by the university itself which creates some issues around transparency and ensuring student concerns are being prioritised. Historically, the Liberal ticket Alliance has dominated past elections, with all other candidates running as independents. In last year’s Academic Senate all undergraduate positions were won by the Alliance ticket.
However, revolution could be in the air! It’s time for some fresh candidates, another predictable Alliance ticket and maybe some diverse SRC representatives. So, get keen, get to know your candidates when they start campaigning and exercise your right to select which messy uni students get to pitch your concerns to the university almighties.
But seriously. Vote. Otherwise the ibises will come for you.
Go get buckled in for another year at Macquarie Uni kids. Now we’re caught you up on all the drama you missed you can enter the new year with the right amount of tainted optimism and maimed will to go on. Happy studying!