Joshua Cahill: Okay, so what we’ve been asking all candidates, essentially, is a bit about their journey through guild, what made you want to join the particular party you’re a part of, and a little bit about what you’ve been doing at Uni. So, if you just want to speak to any of those?
Nikayla Moodley: Okay, sure. My name is Nikayla, about ninety per cent of my friends know me as Mango though. So, I started Uni back in 2016, and as a fresher I always knew I really wanted to join a club so I joined KCC – Korean Cultural Club – and I really enjoyed that over the past few years. My interests aren’t solely in Korean culture; I’m in the midst of starting up a club called GUNS – I just have to clarify that, it’s the Gym and Ultimate Nutrition Society, it’s nothing to do with actual weapons.
JC: Okay, yep that’d be great. Good to preface.
NM: So it’s really fun being a part of Guild, in that sort of sense. In terms of these sort of parties, I wasn’t in any in my first year, I wasn’t really involved, my friends weren’t really involved, so it wasn’t really a topic of conversation or interest. However, I always wanted to be a part of Guild, and wanted to make a difference, I just wasn’t sure how.
NM: Like many freshers don’t really know what’s happening. So in second year, one of my friends … I think I was literally just walking past the guild office and he walked over and was like, “Hey, do you want to run?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure. Sounds good!” And so I ran with Star, that year. I wasn’t really a fan of the culture, so I wasn’t that involved, I didn’t flyer drop or anything like that, and so that kind of dissipated. But one of my friends, who ran with Launch last year, he’s always talking about what the Guild’s up to and what’s really happening and that was quite new to me. And so it really appealed to me to see why he was so interested in it and that kind of got me curious of the workings of guild. So this year he brought up the convo’ again, and I was like, “okay, well Launch really seems … like if you’re so passionate about it, I’m sure the rest of Launch is.” And another person in Launch, Sharon – the current education candidate – approached me about this role and asked me about this role specifically. And it was really refreshing to see someone genuinely passionate about their role, and the changes they could give into Guild, it wasn’t a sort of politicsing thing, it was just simply “this is what students need, and we can actually give it to them and I think you would be great to represent.” After a little bit of convincing I definitely do believe that.
JC: Cool, I guess then, so obviously being on both experiences, having both sides, seems to be a common theme around a lot of the candidates, especially in Launch this year. I guess then what I am curious about, maybe you can speak to it, is about the identity of what Launch is now. Do you think that some of that identity is a bit lost if all that it is about is moving away from Star and being against Star consistently? Or do you think there is something that makes Launch … I guess, Launch?
NM: Well, I would say I do agree that a lot of people in Launch have previously aligned with Star, but I don’t see Launch as just … an alternative. I definitely believe that Launch has its own identity, but a lot of people don’t really know the difference between Launch and Star. Which is understandable, since they just see like two major parties and they’re just attacking each other. But I disagree. I definitely believe that Launch just has one main priority, and it’s always just doing what’s best for students, because understandably in Guild there’s a lot conflict, a lot of pressures – outside pressures, like from the University of course. But I think it’s always important just to keep your priorities straight … you’re elected for the students and that should be your main goal, and that’s what launch has always been doing.
JC: Sure, then I guess we’ll move into what you see Welfare looking like next year, if you were to be elected? One of the big things that was noted was the implementation of sleep pods or like a sleep-effectivity policy. Given that that’s been spoken about in the past few years and hasn’t got as much traction as, say, at Curtin where it does exist. What is it about that policy that really wanted you to put that at the forefront of what you want to do as Welfare?
NM: Okay, I wouldn’t say it’s the forefront, but it’s definitely one of the policies to … ‘Cause our policies range from quite serious, specific ones, that would mainly affect like a small niche of people but this appeals to the wider demographic. Just personally, I’ve experienced a lot of friends who just spend ground-floor-Reid as their de-stress space, but it’s kind of important to have, in a welfare point of view, a space to be outside. You know, there are all the vitamin D benefits that I’m sure everyone knows and definitely I’ve had a lot of people express that need to me, especially sleep pods as … Lots of people pull all-nighters and, of course, you shouldn’t really be sleeping at Uni but its important to have spaces that you can reenergise throughout the day and I think that would be a great way to do it.
JC: Great. And, I guess, touching on a broader welfare question, which we’ve asked to the other welfare candidate, is: do you think that the welfare portfolio should be focused more on accessibility, and solving that issue, or about stigmatisation and the conversation around welfare, and it being really difficult to go to those services that do already exist and are functioning via the Guild. Where do you think your attention would be most put into?
NM: Can you clarify what you mean by accessibility?
JC: Yeah, so I guess you’ve mentioned in some of your policies about introducing, for example, a free STI check, about creating those sleep pods, and that’s creating greater access to services that didn’t exist or services that could be improved on. And I guess the question is do you think that the services that already exist, there should be attention getting access, going to those services, getting comfortable, or do you think it’s a matter of people just feeling that there’s not enough services that exist within the Guild.
NM: Okay, I think there is a lot of services available in the Guild currently, but in ways … I’ll just talk about counselling for a moment. There definitely isn’t enough. I think there’s six or eight psychologists at the moment and, you know, there’s thousands of students on campus, and that’s definitely not enough. And so Launch wants to provide more multilingual counsellors, and we definitely want to have a better triage system and booking system, especially for emergency appointments. You know, mental health isn’t just like a sore arm or something, you can’t just leave it for a few weeks. If you do, your mental health can deteriorate quite quickly. You might have to outsource, you might end up, you know, in like a mental health hospital. We … it deteriorates quickly, and it’s something we want to prevent and deal with effectively. And so, what you mentioned with accessibility – there are a lot of services. Like STI checks, you can go to the doctor but it is quite a long process in a way and it does take a lot of time. But if you just have quick drives, I wanted to have, you know, maybe a stall in the Guild area, just as you’re walking by you can be like, “Hey, do you want to do a quick STI check?” You know, just fill the bottle, hand it in, just really quick and easy, and especially in university I feel like those checks are needed, it can prevent a lot of infection spreading around.
JC: Yeah, and I guess on top of that, with the stigmatisation I was talking about, something like that is really hard to get involved with because of the perception around giving those tests. So how do you solve that as well?
NM: By making it more accessible, it kind of fixes the stigmatisation.
JC: Fixes the other half.
NM: ‘Cause if you have students just saying, “Hey do you want to have a check?” It’s just obviously like, “Oh okay, that’s cool.”
JC: So being more candid, I guess.
NM: Yeah, It’s more, like, normal. When you go to a doctor its kind of like more professional, like hidden away. But if it’s out in the open, literally here at Guild, it’s more open to discussion, everyone’s seeing it, it’s not something to be hidden or be ashamed of. It’s just normal life.
JC: Great. And I guess, is there any other kind of policy areas that you’d like to speak on to on why Launch is particularly distinct from the other parties? Like, I guess something that, in a dream world, you’d like to change about the Welfare department?
NM: Well, in a dream world, I’ve spoken to the president of St Cat’s (the residential college) and she has told me a lot of workshops they have at the beginning of every year, in terms of healthy relationships and sexual assault. This does crossover with Women’s a lot, what Welfare and Women’s does. Ideally, it would be nice to have those five sessions at university, that people could do every year. But that’s definitely not going to happen in one year; at Launch we promise policies we can achieve in the one year and we’re not going to say things that we can’t. But there are definitely steps that we can make to get there. One step that’s happened so far, that’s great, is the consent thing on LMS. One simple step is to make that compulsory for all students, and just small things like that can turn from an online unit to physical, live workshops – it would definitely make more of an impact, I’d say. Definitely having someone speak to you, rather than just clicking some buttons. But that’s a more long term goal, if Launch were to get into Guild.
JC: That’s what we’re all about, I think long-term planning is just as important as what you can do in the short term and the one year. So I guess the final question I’ll ask is, with all of that in mind, why should a voter put one next to Nikayla, or in this case one next to Launch candidates?
NM: I’d just like to say that myself and all of Launch just really cares about Students, and honestly I thought, I initially thought, this whole political thing was just a very ingenuine thing of people just trying to gain power in Guild. But I’ve seen so many people rock up at 7am for flyer drops that aren’t actually running with Launch, they’ve graduated, and they just do it because they really believe in Launch and the change that they want to make in Guild. And that really touched my heart, so I just believe that if people spend that much of their effort and time, and they’re not running, you know, it’s a genuine cause, and I really hope that students see that.
JC: Great! Thanks for your time, Nikayla.
NM: No worries.