Cormac Power – So by way of introduction
Bradan Sonnendecker – Yes
CP – Do you wanna just tell us your name, what position you’re running for, what party you’re running with and what you study?
BS – Cool, so my name is Bradan Sonnendecker, I’m running for General Seretary so that’s the new new position this year. I’m running with ah Launch and I study Political Science and International Relations, and my second major is marketing.
CP – Cool, you said that with a nice South African drawl there, mate, maaarketing
BS – maaarketing yes
CP – Yeah, um, and, just out of interest, are you a member of any political party?
BS – Um no I’m not a member of any party no.
CP – Cool, sounds good. Um, so, do you kinda want to paint a picture for us of your sorta journey through Guild? What got you involved originally? Who got you involved originally? What have you been doing? Why did you get involved?
BS – Right, I think I got involved initially because I kinda heard bits and pieces about the Guild, but then I really wasn’t sure about you know what was going on. And then I would say I first got invlved early last year cos I knew a couple of people from Youth Parliament and they told me about it and I thought this is perhaps something that I’d be interested in. So I got in the campaign last year and then I was grateful enough to get ah elected at the last election as a OGC and then through this year been ah working on the campaign and ah in Guild Council and yeah
CP – Yeah, I guess, what kind of brought you towards Launch specifically?
BS – Um I guess in terms of Launch specifically, I remember early on in the beginning I kinda toyed a little bit with perhaps running with Star. Um, but then, at the end of the day, I feel I made the decision about essentially, I feel that the Guild can be doing a lot better job and on top of that I feel a lot of people aren’t really aware of what the Guild is doing. Obviously the Guild does do um a lot of good things, but people aren’t really um people aren’t really sure what the Guild is doing with the money and I feel like we all have to pay our SSAF every semester, 50% of our SSAF goes to the Guild and I really think that um if people are more aware of what the Guild is actually doing with our money and if it can be used on things perhaps that people can feel more tangibly um
CP – Yeah
BS – That’d be a good thing
CP – I guess what do you see as the role of the Guild then? Like, what is it that students don’t really see that you think is actually really there..
BS – Right, obviously I feel like the Guild you know I would say initial role is to represent students and it’s also to provide services to students. So, we’re the representative voice on campus in talking to the university and also the catering outlets for example, so they would fall under the Gen Sec portfolio. The way those catering outlets are managed are for the students benefit, so as Gen Sec next year if I was elected, I would be pursuing the policy of running outlets that are more competitive with outlets being run outside of campus because I think you know if food and drink was cheaper on campus it would help um create a better community atmosphere and instead of people perhaps going to Varsity for cheaper food, it could be at the Tav for example.
CP – Mmhmm, absolutely, yeah. What sort of experience do you think you’ve had, both within the Guild and without, but primarily within the Guild, that makes you best suited to this position over others?
BS – Right, I guess, from a Guild sense first, being a Guild Councillor this year has given me an insight into the operational and the kinda financial side of that, including sitting on Strategic Resources Committee this year um which has led for me to having great discussions with Tony Goodman as the Managing Director and Jack Spagnolo as the um the Associate Director for the, the Commercial Side. And talking with them and understanding how you know how the catering outlets are doing and every month we talk about you know which catering outlets are performing well and how the new point of sale system is going for example. I feel like I’ve got a good overall understanding from the catering side of things of how all things fit together. Um, on the other more organisational side of things, last year before I was elected to Guild Council I sat on Governance as an OCM which also gave me a good understanding of how the Guild’s kind of bureaucracy works, um, moving on from that I would say ah I think it’s important for Guild Councillors to have a lot of experience outside of the Guild because I feel like, I’m sure you can relate, sometimes people see Guild as kind of a bubble. That’s something from a Launch kind of values perspective that the reason why a lot of people don’t um understand what you know what the Guild is exactly doing um is that you can get caught up sometimes but I guess from a UWA clubs perspective, this year I’ve been involved in the UWA Arts Union in the Social Portfolio which has been absolutely amazing, to be kind of been bringing that club back to life after it was run by um Socialist Alternative last year. And also being involved in other clubs this year, such as Politics Club, and Amnesty International, and yeah others last year that….
CP – I guess really quickly on that point about the Arts Union, what do you think it is the Socialist Alternative missed in their running of the Arts Union that you had to revive and does that translate to the Guild more broadly?
BS – Um, I think it does translate in a kind of way, I wouldn’t compare them as exactly the same thing at all, I think they’re very different things and um just broadly on the concept on why it’s important that people from Socialist Alternative don’t run the Arts Union is that the primary goal of the Arts Union from my perspective is to make time at university and after university better for Arts Students. So for example, one of the key things that I think is the Arts Union’s role is to provide um social and community events for Arts Unions to socialise and also provide them with opportunities um from a career perspective, from a networking perspective. For example, last year, the arts Union wasn’t doing that, so the Politics Club last year, for example running their careers breakfast and such in order to fill that gap. Um, but yeah, it’s a separate thing from the Guild, but I also obviously believe Socialist Alternative shouldn’t run the Guild.
CP – Right, but they’re separate things
BS – Separate things of course, yeah.
CP – I guess, moving specifically onto policies you have, by a sort of way of moving into that, could you, if you could change one thing during your time next year if you get elected, you could do one thing, you get to pick one sorta central goal that you want to achieve, what would that be?
BS – Um, firstly I feel like, not to dodge the question, in the sense of like it’s hard to pick one thing, obviously. I think there’s a lot of different things that I’m passionate, and obviously Gen Sec being a new portfolio, a lot falls under that
CP – Yeah, sure
BS – I would say if I had to pick one thing for the example of the question, um, would be, cheaper food and drink on campus.
CP – Sure
BS – And also on that, making the campus catering outlets more competitive um in terms of outside influences. So I think in terms of um benefits like for example if we talk about you know what we’re talking about ah in terms of ah cheaper drinks at the Tav during Happy Hour for example, I feel like a lot of students obviously, we don’t have a lot of money, we can’t afford to be spending more than we have to, um, people would rather go to Varsity or to The Village in Subiaco to have some drinks and some food, rather than the Tavern, simply because it’s more affordable.
CP – Sure, I guess on that point, in terms of kind of financial sustainability being a thing
BS – Mmm
CP – How do you kind of…cheaper food across the board, two dollar middies, we won’t get into the policy of that, but just that broader idea of making everything cheaper, how does that sort of square off with the long term sustainability of these outlets, is there a tension there?
BS – Right, um, there, I wouldn’t say overall there is a tension, I would say just in terms of comes down to priorities and management. So in terms of if you think about the Guild Budget as a whole, um, 50% of our SSAF goes to the Guild every year. All that money is able to be allocated among departments and everything, um so there is definitely money in order to play with and work with in terms of like priorities for different things. I also personally believe that for example in making like lets say the two dollar middies for example, um, that’s a policy in terms of like oh, ah, that’ll bring other traffic to other things, so for example, make more on, ah, for each product sold will make more on ah for each product sold make more profit on a burger for example than the middies
CP – So you’re talking kind of about using cheaper food and drink to drive foot traffic kind of thing?
BS – Yeah, since you brought up foot traffic, I know in terms of the kinda price war going on in Subiaco at the Vic
CP – The Vic versus what is
BS – Village. At the Vic, I know their foot traffic went from 500 a week to 6000 based on their cheap specials. And I really feel that the campus as a whole and also like um driving people to the new Tav kitchen um would be awesome in the sense of
CP – So you think kind of there is a corresponding profit that comes with food
BS – Absolutely
CP – That offsets that?
BS – It does. And also at the point, something I’d like to acknowledge at this point, is that certain catering outlets in the Guild catering system make a lot more money than others.
CP – Sure
BS – So, one way to view it is oh, because Reid Cafe makes, Quobba Gnaring makes so much money, it can help subsidise, in quotations, money that’s been lost hypothetically at Nedlands cafe or at the Med Dent cafe at QEII. So if we think about the Guild Catering outlets as part of a ecosystem in which they are all supposed to work together, I really think that, yeah
CP – No, I get what you mean. Moving onto I guess the more secretarial side of things, but kind of sticking with the staff, I can’t get my words out, the SSAF, um you talk about in your policy um improving transparency around the SSAF, and making sure students know what it is being spent on um and making spending it on quote real student issues. I guess, what do you think students don’t currently know about their SSAF and how it’s being spent, what kind of issues do you sort of identify under that banner of real student issues.
BS – Yeah, so absolutely. Um, I guess in terms of SSAF, part of the reason also why what has kept me um wanting to keep involved in the Guild and um this kind of the election side of it, is a lot of my friends have absolutely no idea about what the Guild is doing and always complain about oh, we have to pay our SSAF or whatever. So I feel firstly, like some of the communication and transparency policy I’m running on in this election are to create a Communications Officer. This kind of position existed previously um a couple of decades ago in the Guild. And essentially just to communicate better to students about what the Guild is doing. I think obviously the Guild has the capacity to do a lot of good things, and is doing some good things at the moment, but people aren’t really aware of that, um. In terms of the SSAF as a general concept um I really feel that people should feel as if they are getting value for what the money that is going into the organisation and at this current point I feel like people don’t
CP – Don’t see that?
BS – Don’t see that connection.
CP – Sure, and I guess, how do you think people, under a Launch Guild, how would people start to see that? How could you make that connection? Apart from sort of this communication side of things, in a more tangible sense there, things that you would want to spend that SSAF on differently, or what do you see those real student issues that people would connect with?
BS – Right, um, in terms of connection, in terms of issues, I would say um, one thing I’m particularly passionate about is um improving ah unifi on campus. Obviously this is a complicated and difficult issue and it requires working with university management. But one aspect of this that I feel is currently maybe an area of this broader policy currently being underutlisied is Eduroam.
CP – Yeah okay
BS – Um, so at the moment this is like a global system I, I
CP – Yeah, if you’re at Murdoch university and things like that, Eduroam pops up yeah yeah yeah
BS – Yeah, so, and I know that that’s, that relationship um is dealt with separate to the university system so in terms of liaising in terms of that I feel like there’s huge potential in order to move and um increase ah Unifi speeds and Unifi reliability um in that sense.
CP – Cool, absolutely, that’s most of the things I really wanted to ask you, by way of finishing up, for all of our fun listeners out there, if there was one sort of thing you wanted people to remember when they go to the polls next week, for yourself or for Launch, what would you want people to take away from this interview and into the voting booth?
BS – I want people to know that if you believe the Guild can be doing more with your money, if you believe that the Guild can be communicating better about changes that are happening for example Star knew about ah this concept of moving to 12 week semesters back in 2016, however, there was no action on that or communication to students up until that was actually implemented, so um, in terms of reasons why people should vote for launch, a Launch Guild, a launch guild would communicate better to students, ah, we would focus more on things that are more tangible and get more value for where your SSAF is going, um yeah, and I just believe if you believe that the Guild can be doing a better job and can be more transparent and open, then ah, that’s why you should vote for Launch.
CP – Awesome, cool, Bradan Sonnendecker, Launch General Secretary candidate, thank you very much.
BS – Thanks Cormac, cheers.