BR – Krisen, so just to start off with: can you tell me what you’re studying at uni, how long you’ve been at uni, and just disclose whether you’re a member of any political parties – young labour, or any of that.
KS – Ok. So, I am studying finance and political science. I’m in my second year, so I started last year, at the start of last year, and I’m not affiliated with any political party.
BR – Brilliant. So many independent people this year. So, what has your journey into guild politics looked like? Why did you want to sign up with Launch in particular? What’s bought you to this point? Just give us a bit of an overview of your life story.
KS – Um, so last year I joined Launch and I met some pretty amazing people, like Kate Fletcher, when she was running for OGC. Lachie Waller(?) actually was there as well. But yeah, so just met them, and it was kinda just to get a bit more involved, because I felt in first semester I wasn’t really involved and I didn’t know what was going on in terms of like uni stuff. I knew what was going on in terms of like, friendship groups and stuff that I had but that weren’t really associated to university. So, I was like, yeah ok, I’ll join politics, see what it’s like. I thought it would be like a good compliment to my second major – like political study, political science, to kind of get involved.
BR – Cool, and why enviro in particular?
KS – Well, I’ve always been passionate about the environment and I thought that it’s something that I would be good at doing, out of like, the officer positions. I thought like, yeah, I could really tackle, and make a difference as well. Um, also I think this year’s environment candidate (I didn’t catch the name?) I know her pretty well and I think she’s done a pretty good job, like throughout the year you know, we’ve gotten on and I’ve seen how she works and she’s done a really good job, and that’s been a bit inspiring. I’m like yeah that’s something I’d like to do.
BR – Very cool. And so Launch – if you could just give us an overview of like Launch’s main kind of environmental policies for this season.
KS – So policies, in terms of policies I like to split them. So, in terms of like on the ground, day to day, definitely reducing the number of plastic wastes, biodegradable plastic and reusable alternatives. Um, grants for clubs who want to hold environmentally friendly events, and use reusable paper, recyclable paper, and another big thing is also trying to work next year on how we can even cut down the paper wastage.
BR – Ok, because I know that’s a main thing with guild elections is so much, well I don’t know how much, but it appears like there is a lot of paper wastage.
KS – Exactly. And a lot of people complain about that. Another really big thing for me, I think that I really also want to push, is as if I do get the position for enviro, is um to lobby the university to increase funding for PhD scholarships and whatnot. For PhD research into environment, like studying the environment, environmental sustainability basically. So we see at UWA um, there was a funding into drone research into detecting like, parts of MH370 that went into the Indian Ocean, and like that. And then we see funding for malaria vaccines happening but I also want to see there be funding for environmental sustainability. Environmental research, like what can we do to contribute to like, there’s a massive garbage pit pretty much of plastic, that is twice the size of Texas right now in between Hawaii and California. So like, what can we do to contribute to that and also just contribute at home to become an environmentally sustainable university.
BR – Interesting, ok. Um, and I know one of Launch’s main, big policies that they’re running this year is about online voting. Which obviously has some sort of an impact regarding environmental policy, I guess. Less paper used, that type of thing. What are your kind of positions on that? How do you think you could incorporate that, if that was successful in the future, how would that impact the environmental portfolio?
KS – Sorry, so say that again?
BR – Alright, so ah, let me rephrase it. So like, obviously online voting is something that Launch is campaigning for, how would that kind of, tie in with the goals of the environmental department?
KS – I think that it would greatly reduce the number of paper wastage naturally as well. I think it’s also, in terms of online voting, there’s no medium involved. So, I think it would also get a lot more students involved in the voting process than what current voting is. Because people don’t want to be harassed as they walk across the election booth and get handed like 50 million different flyers, they don’t want to walk in and spend like 20 minutes you know, waiting in line, getting their names checked off to vote. I think doing it online voting could be a simple as just you know, punching in your student ID, confirming that you are actually and eligible voter at the University and then click in your preference after making an informed decision on who you think is the appropriate party you want to elect into office.
BR – Right, um and I guess the environment portfolio within the guild as a whole, is kind of one of the more underestimated portfolios. A lot of people don’t even know it exists, they don’t know the impact that it has on campus. How do you kind of intend, to make your, or to leave your mark on it? To make students aware of the need for environmental action on campus.
KS – Well, I think what was started this year, like I said before, by (this year’s enviro officer?) in terms of events and whatnot, um I think she’s done a fantastic job with that, in terms of her KeepCup events and whatnot and also, I think, for Launch, one of our policies being increasing grants for um, clubs holding environmentally friendly events would be another major thing. Because we see campus culture and whatnot, and clubs on campus, being the main outreach to students, hence why that’s been a big policy platform for Launch, not just under environment. But if we are able to also kind of link the two with environment bodies subsidising those committees holding, sorry those clubs, holding those events then that will be an outreach to like students where students like they can actually wow ok yeah, this is true.
BR – Because a lot of, naturally a lot of environmentally friendly initiatives out there, so providing grants to clubs would assist them? With becoming more environmentally conscious?
KS – Yeah, pretty much, exactly. And then through that you kind of get that, yeah those events that are held, you have that kind of advertising, that marketing about like um environmental sustainability and awareness. So in that sense, yeah to answer the question before, yeah that would be better.
BR – Cool, and I guess in closing, could you just, I guess, have a think about what is one thing that you want voters to take to the voting booth. To remember you, or to remember Launch’s environmental policies, why they should vote 1 for Krisen or vote 1 for Launch. What’s your, what should you leave them with?
KS – Well, next question (laugh). See ya, nah I’m kidding. Um so, so what do you want me to like, like voters should come in?
BR – Yeah, why should they remember you, why should they vote for you, over the Star candidate, why should they vote for Launch?
KS – Well, one of the reasons I am running with Launch is I think there’s just been a lot of promises that have been passed throughout every year, the same election promises, no change being seen, I think Launch is the change that UWA needs to see. And I think that’s why, um, voters need to know, I think that’s what they need to know as they go in to vote. Because we’ve seen a lot of election promises, not taken action, for the past 8 years that Star has been in office. And I think it’s just time for that change, like a refreshment in guild politics.
BR – How long have Star been in office?
KS – So they’ve been 8 years, and it was someone else, sorry it was Liberty prior to that, I think it was Star since then, for like 20 years. So um, yeah, I think it’s just time for that change.
BR – Wonderful. Krisen Shah, thank you so much for coming in.
KS – Thank you so much.