Election 2019: University Council

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There’s only one day left to vote in the SRC elections of 2019, and you’ll probably have noticed that there are two sets of emails that have been sitting in your inbox. The first contains a link to the SRC candidates for your faculty and also the general undergraduate representatives. The second however contains a link to vote for the one elected student member of university council, who is tasked with representing the voice of the entire student population. Currently this position has been held by Cissy Shen, however this year we have a whooping 9 candidates who are gunning for the opportunity to represent your voice.

Words || Grapeshot

Luke Saunders, Jose Francisco, Amanda Tan, Deborah Chin and Hugh Harrington have all been contacted for comment, and were either uncontactable or provided no answers to the questionnaire provided. The remaining candidates are Raphela Jude (Independent), Georgia Weeden (SPARK UP), Alexander Hablutzel (ALL1ANCE), and Daniel Cass (Independent).

So without further ado, here are the students looking to represent you in a room full of University VIPs:

Raphela Jude

Hi everyone!

I’m Raphela Jude, an optimist, fairy bread lover and brunch enthusiast. With dreams as big as my cheeks, I moved to Australia at the ripe age of seventeen. I’m running for the University Council as an individual candidate. This stems from my interest to help students acquire the best University experience they deserve.

1. What degree are you studying?

Bachelor of Arts- Media (final semester)

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

I am passionate about the well-being of students, safety on campus and sustainability. If elected, I aim to use my short period of standing to assist students in their needs to acquire a positive university experience.

3. How will you do this?

My aim is to take the University initiatives onto the next level with an optimistic approach. With my demonstrated experience volunteering with students, it has showed that students lack the awareness of the services available to them. I am passionate about sustainability issues and aim to create a greener campus.

•           Introduce return and earn stations on campus.

•           To eliminate the use of single-use plastics

•           Raising awareness to students on the services of campus wellbeing, security and governance at University. 

4. In your opinion, what are some potential challenges for the incoming SRC?

I’m running for this position as I want to play an active role in the ongoing improvement of our University and its many facets. The council contributes to a wide range of commercial, governance, legal, academic, administrative and public sector expertise to the business and operation of the University. I believe the Council- a statutory authority will be open to listening to a wide range of issues of students. As the highest point, I am positive that the team will be able to provide new and improved policies.

Georgia Weeden

I’m Georgia Weeden and I am running under ‘Spark Up’ to be the Student Representative on University Council. I am unfortunately a fiend for anything caffeinated and most likely found bunkered down in the library at the craziest hours of the day. Whether it be in class, at sport, the U Bar or society events, there is a good chance you’ll see me there!

1. What degree are you studying?

I am studying a Bachelor of Laws and Arts (Majoring in Public Policy, Law and Governance).

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

Whilst I have LOVED my university experience at Macquarie, I want to ensure that every student, regardless of faculty or degree, has a unique university experience that is not only enjoyable but prepares students for a career and life after Macquarie.   

We have a fantastic university, but I can also acknowledge that there is room for improvement.

For those who know me, I am a huge advocate for what I call a ‘holistic education’. This is one that ensures students become well rounded and ready to ‘rock and roll’ when the time comes to leave University.  This means ensuring every student have equal access to opportunity, encouraging students to come to university and get involved in our community, and lastly making sure our campus and online infrastructure facilitates learning, after all that’s what we are here to do.        

I want to improve the support mechanisms that we have in place. We all know that university can get rough and there may come a day when yourself or a friend may need help, whether it be academic, wellbeing or career wise. I want to see a university experience that focuses on taking the pressure off students so that we can focus on reaching our full potential on campus and life after Macquarie.  

3. How will you do this?  

I am committed to: 

•           Improving mental health and student wellbeing services. 

•           Funding for our societies and events, regardless of faculty.

•           Increasing consultation hours and awareness of peer assisted learning.

•           Ensuring students are given the opportunity to provide feedback on all course units.

•           A zero-tolerance policy on sexual assault. 

•           Improving the quality of our study areas.  

4. In your opinion, what are some potential challenges for the incoming SRC?

The most significant challenge for the incoming SRC is ensuring that they represent and advocate for ALL stakeholders on campus. The way I see it, many students do not know their representatives and how the SRC can bring students together to create change on campus. This is a matter of ensuring all student representatives have a strong presence on campus through events, regular consultation with students and university groups, and bringing awareness as to WHO your representative is and HOW they can help you. It is essential that the SRC is representative of as many students and stakeholders as possible in order to make decisions in the best interest of our peers. 

I believe all governing bodies must advocate as a united front on the issues that affect us most. Whether it be students, delegates to societies, Academic Senate, SRC, GRAPSHOT or University Council, there is an onus on everyone to work together towards the goals advocated by our peers.

Regardless of who is elected next week, change can only be made when there is communication and a bit of team spirit.  

Daniel Cass

Who are you?

I’m Daniel – or GhostZero on various MQIT discords – also still going strong as President of MUVA, running for both SRC (as an FSE representative) and university council as an independent candidate.

I’ve always had a passion for computing, and largely anything to do with science, largely backed up by a desire to learn how everything works. Just the idea of being able to start from nothing and have a fully functional something at the end thanks to IT and Engineering skills is endlessly brilliant and never loses its charm.

I like to think I’m reasonably well-known as an approachable, honest, and easy-going person. I’m one of those mad people that love to put themselves out there and try something new – whether it works out or not – and have a lot of love for helping other people to achieve their goals.

1. What degree are you studying?

Bachelor of Information Technology Majoring in Software Technology

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

I intend to improve every aspect someone tells me they want changed. Being an independent candidate gives me that freedom to manage things my way, and properly represent all of us as a singular voice

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Honestly trawling the “Macquarie Uni Discussion Group” for 5 seconds gives you a pretty solid list of things we want fixed: better wi-fi, less high-school students, the old (superior) campus hub, more/ cheaper/ better parking on campus, and lecture theatres where the tables are actually tables and not holding themselves together worse than someone with a negative GPA. Suspending whoever keeps turning the bathrooms into actual biohazard zones would be a solid big-ups too (looking at you E6A).

3. How will you do this?

Now whether any of this can actually be achieved is the hard part. To be perfectly honest I’m not sure how far SRC and Council powers extend – the fact I can’t find any super concrete information anywhere is part of the problem.

What I will do though, is not make any promises. I can’t guarantee whether any of the changes we want can or will happen and I’m sure there’s a truckload of red tape and careful statements to navigate through either way – but what I can guarantee is making sure everybody knows what is happening. Once I understand the bureaucracy and patterns, I can properly start to put things forward – and be as clear and concise as I can to justify and explain it all.

4. In your opinion, what are some potential challenges for the incoming SRC?

Uni definitely has a transparency problem, does anyone know how major decisions are made? Is anything ever communicated in a way that makes sense the first time and doesn’t require 3 follow up emails with even more unnecessary politics and extra words thrown in?

Biggest potential challenge really is then finding out what the easiest way to start communicating properly is.

Importantly as well are the major changes we do know about over the course of this new SRC’s run. We’ll have the Metro running (I still don’t believe it’ll be next month), whole new curriculums in 2020 with no people/ planet units, a new campus hub (apparently), and I’m sure there’s plenty of others that haven’t been fully communicated or discussed too.

Alexander Hablutzel

I’m Alexander Hablutzel, an avid duck watcher on campus with a penchant for stress eating when Uni gets tough. I enjoy sunny days by the Lake and playing Basketball at the Uni gym. I’m running on the Alliance Ticket for the position of University Council. 

1. What degree are you studying? 

Bachelor of Information Technology – Majoring in Cyber Security 

2. If elected, what aspects of university life do you intend to Improve? 

I would like to improve the student consultation process in regards to the SSAF distribution, the communication between the University and it’s Students regarding the transparency of it’s projects, and upgrade the student facilities of the Library, MUSE, Bassline and MAZE. 

The biggest problem we’ve faced as an SRC is the delay between our proposed improvements for students, and the universities implementation of them. We’ve had to wait 2 years for only small extensions of the Libraries opening hours. We need more leverage as a student body to make sure our concerns are prioritized. We do this best when the SRC and the Student Community are both active, vocal and working together. Two examples of this are the bringing back of Conception Day as Re:Conception and the rapid cancellation of the student booking fee. Both involved the SRC and students actively working together and couldn’t be achieved without this. 

3. How will you do this? 

I seek to achieve these changes by working with Campus Engagement in regards to the SSAF Distribution process and how students can have a greater say in how their funds are being used. In addition to creating a better communication scheme between Macquarie’s property and marketing divisions to give students heads up and detailed information on changes, upgrades and information on campus. I also seek to create a working agreement with the Library Team and Campus Engagement to work towards creating the Library, MUSE, Bassline and MAZE spaces to grow into facilities which are unrivalled among the other universities. 

I will also seek to reduce the delay between proposals made by students and the realization of these proposals by emboldening the SRC with a strong and vocal student body. I will 

achieve this through increased direct student consultation, making sure that students are aware of how their fees are being utilized. 

4. In your opinion, what are some potential challenges for the incoming SRC? 

A Big Challenge for the Upcoming SRC will be the negotiations between student representatives and staff. As a former SRC Member, I am very well aware of the learning curve that is evident with the position. SRC Members are only as effective as their will and drive to make changes on campus. Without these two factors it may be very difficult for the incoming SRC to push relevant changes which students want. I hope that if I were to be elected, I would be able to guide the incoming SRC into achieving the most out of their terms and complete their goals to the student body