Bridget Rumball: Alright Nitin, just to begin, do you wanna just say how long you’ve been studying at uni, what you’ve been studying, just kind of disclose if you’re a member of any political party. So, Young Liberal, Young Labor, anything to do with that.
Nitin Narula: Cool so this is my second year studying at UWA.
NN: I’m currently doing Bachelor of Science majoring in Physiology. So far, it’s been pretty good. Obviously it gets a little bit stressful this time of year but I’ve really been enjoying my major. And to answer your question I’m not affiliated with any political party or anything like that.
BR: Wonderful! Another independent. So what brought you to run with Launch? Why did you decide I guess in your second year of study to get involved with Guild and run with Launch in particular?
NN: So I actually ran last year as well for an GC position. I wasn’t able to be successful unfortunately but that’s because there were so many fantastic candidates out there and being a fresher, it is quite hard compared to other students. And they just approached me and I was kind of, really at first, like I do not like –when I was a fresher, first things first coming in I was like I’m not gonna get involved with Guild; I’m not gonna get involved with Guild!
NN: And uh yeah, look at me now! [laughs]
BR: [laughs] That’s a common sense among most people I think, yeah.
NN: And yeah, so like what happened was I kind of just sat down with some people who were in my history tute and we just got together and we kind of, you know, realised that we were in similar values and um, I kind of ran from there. And then, you know, this year the Kates – obviously I’m talking about Kate Fletcher, Presidential Candidate, and Kate Pryce, who is behind the scenes running the campaign – they both just, you know approached me and said, “Would you like to get involved this year?” And they said that they would love for me to run for PAC, and I was like, “Sure! I’d love to. That’d be really awesome.” That’s basically how I’m here! [laughs]
BR: [laughs] Was there any specific reason why you chose PAC or were assigned PAC as opposed to just running as an OGC?
NN: I mean, for me, I really do appreciate the work that OGCs do ad I think it’s really important but I want to o something a little more niche, something a little more different, and given my background, being involved in arts and culture, that is something that really interests me. I think that Public Affairs Council was the place for me ad both the Kates seemed to agree with me as well. It was really an easy choice for us.
BR: I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head saying that PAC which is the Public Affairs Council – it’s really niche.
NN: It is. It is.
BR: A lot of uni students don’t quite know what PAC does. Do you want to give a couple of minutes, a brief rundown just elaborating what PAC actually does?
NN: Yeah, so this is kind of like a problem that I feel as well. I mean, even last year, first year, I had no idea what PAC actually did and you kind of have this weird mesh between PAC and SOC and it gets confusing. So at this current time, PAC is really more affiliated with political, cultural, social kind of events and clubs that are affiliated within even special interest clubs as well. And so PAC kind of tries to support these clubs, give them extra funding, extra advice, all that sort of stuff and help create a more wholesome community. For example it had Fringe Festival earlier this year and you have obviously Multicultural Week. Throughout the year, PAC has kind of just there in its weird little niche bubble, you know, tying to create some engagement. For me, for example, I feel like I would love to be able to redefine PAC a little it to help it be, you know, a little bit – so students really know what actually happens and what they actually do. And I think – I think the students – that would help increase engagement with the students as well.
BR: Because I think most students are aware that there are these weeks that go on. Like you’ve got, you’re saying Fringe Festival for a week, Pride week, that kind of thing. Are there any movements within Launch and within your policies to change how these pre-existing weeks run?
NN: Yeah definitely. For example, I’ll just look at Fringe week. In my opinion I thought it was a decent week, it was a lot of fun. A lot of students might disagree with me, and I understand that completely, but I thought it could be run better. The first thing I would do, obviously, is focus more on the actual PAC clubs, try to get them more involved and outsource it to them, because they run some amazing events throughout the year. I think it would give them the opportunity to engage more with students, because they already have that engagement where the Guild might not. With the Guild’s backing as well then you put the two together and it creates a better student community. I feel like at the same time as well maybe the guild could take a little bit of a step back and then funding as well. We’re already giving some allocation towards these events and I know that, for example, Fringe Festival was a bit costly, which is a bit unfortunate. They did raise $2000 for Relay for Life, but the budget was round about $10,000. If we look in comparison, for example, to Access, they only get $800 for the whole year. So if you put that in comparison, one week spending and a different department altogether, it kind of doesn’t really add up and there should be an investigation towards that.
BR: Ok. I know one of Launch’s key policies in terms of uni life is the campus wide audit regarding whether students needs are catered for regarding accessibility. That kind of ties into that, negotiating the amount of money needed for accessibility. How would that function?
NN: I guess to an extent, what Launch tries to really put out there is that we are really interested in student opinion. What we are at the moment is that we’ve never been elected to Guild, and we feel as if a lot of students come up to us because we’re a little bit more approachable, in a sense that we’re not a part of the Guild as much.
BR: Do you think it makes a difference?
NN: It does, because not having been in Guild we have the opportunity to see it on the outside and not have that bias. I know that although the Guild isn’t as powerful and mighty as everyone thinks it is, it would be good to get a fresh face in to have a look and tweak things that are there, to make student life a lot better.
BR: Do you think that, I guess, that the election cycle is only being elected for one year, is advantageous?
NN: It’s a bit hard because we have so many different degrees with so many different durations, and being elected for more than one year might put a lot of strain on a lot students. Like for me being in second year, my third year being next year, if I was voted in for two or three years, I’ve already finished my degree. It doesn’t make sense to do something for a long duration. It’s not really like the government where you’re putting your long term faith in the government. But yeah, like, it’s a tough one. There would be some benefit but unfortunately it would be at the costs of the actual students who are putting their time into Guild and their own education, which has to be a priority to some extent.
BR: Another one of STARs key policies that is pushing into the PAC side of things is this Ethnocultural Department. Do you have sort a response to that? Is there anything that Launch is doing to match that at all?
NN: Yeah, I think something like that is really important. I mean we have such a diverse campus, being here myself, I saw this year PAC did a reasonably decent job. I’m not going to take that away from them, why would I? They did an awesome job with the whole DESI club earlier this year. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend because I was helping with something else, but I was right next door and saw how much fun everyone was having. Massive FOMO, and I think building on that is extremely important, and obviously I would like to commend them for doing something like that. Obviously if I was in PAC next year, I would build on that and continue on that and develop it even further as well.
BR: I guess, last thing to think about, just to finish, what’s one thing that people should have in mind when they are going to the voting booth and considering voting for you for PAC representative, or for Launch in general? The one thing for people to take away?
NN: It’s a bit of a tough one, and I’d be repeating myself a little bit. But I think obviously it’s that fresh face that we really need. STAR has been there for about 8 years, and year after year we kind of see the same policies and the same things going around. I think for the last 4 years they’ve been saying they’re gonna make Unifi better etc. etc. This year they’ve said all lectures are downloadable and recorded, which might be the case for some undergraduate units. Unfortunately for three of my units it’s not. I mean they’re all recorded which is good, unless there’s a little mistake that happens which is unfortunate, and they usually upload the year before’s lecture. But then I know definitely in postgrad areas, I’ve heard from students where their compulsory lectures they have to attend because they’re not recorded and even downloadable through my units, they’re not downloadable at all. In terms of PAC’s voting stuff I really want to improve and develop a volunteering community and working with Guild Volunteering. Being someone who’s been more active and involved in volunteering outside of UWA and then realising that there is an area where volunteering can occur within the university that is really good. I’d love to see some events pushing that out there where something like Club Carnival, with all these different groups that have some sort of social impact on the community, people can go up and talk to them and find which club suits them to make their difference, and I’d love to be able to facilitate that.
BR: Alright, Nitin thanks so much for coming in.
NN: Thanks for having me.