Josh Cahill: How are we doing Jacob?

Jacob Fowler: Not too bad Josh how about you?

Josh: Not too bad myself. Uhm, so what I’ll do, is I’ll get you to explain who you are, what you’re running for, what you’re studying and what year you’re in.

Jacob: Awesome. Well, my name is Jacob Fowler, I am a third year politics student I am currently the Guild Secretary, so I was elected OGC (Ordinary Guild Councillor) last year, I am also currently the Arts Union Education Vice President. What else… I work at Woolies in the deli, so that’s fun….

[Josh laughs]

Jacob con’t: Three times a week I have to go there, so even tonight I’ll be there. So good fun ahead.

Josh: That is exciting. Proper night shift.

Jacob: Hell yeah! If you ever want any ham, or sliced meets, hit me up.

Josh: Beautiful! I guess then you touched on that you are a current OGC, did you want to say a bit about your journey through Guild?

Jacob: Awesome, so uh, in my first year I was not too involved, but half way through the year I decided I wanted to get involved in the Arts Union as the male Sports Rep went on exchange, so I was like oh well I’ll apply, have a crack, ended up being the only one who applied so I ended up getting the position, so that was good for my first win, off the mark. At the end of the year I ran with STAR, that was because I knew a girl called Leena, the Ed Council President, she got me involved, we had a couple classes together, and that’s how I got involved in STAR and ended up running. I didn’t take it that seriously in my first year, because I didn’t really know what was going on. A lot of the time I was involved quite late, but it seemed like a good vibe, the elections weren’t too hostile in that year. It was quite chill. End of the year, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be involved or not anymore, the year after I decided I would be involved in a lot of different things, so I applied for the Governance Committee as an OCM, I was on that,  I was the welfare department secretary, so that was really good because it gave me an insight into how the smaller departments can help out students on the ground level in terms of doing things like free soup in the courtyard or doing larger things like running campaigns in terms of lobbying for better welfare support at the University, or even doing talks about mental health services. I also started my own club last year, the Hot Brew Society, I was going to continue that this year as president but because I didn’t think I was going to get elected as OGC and subsequently become secretary I sort of had to drop that, so my cousin took it over as the President from there.

End of last year I was heavily involved in trying to win back the Arts Union from the Socialist Alternative, we won the election which was really good. It was a bit of a STAR and LAUNCH sort of thing and I am hoping that could continue for the betterment of the Arts Union. So currently I am Guild Secretary and Guild VP.

Josh: Cool! Great, and obviously now you’re running with Launch, so obviously a lot of that, your perspective particular in the campaign you’ve been running has been very much in opposition to your experience with STAR, uhm, do you feel that as a result of that and a few others in your ticket that are also coming from STAR and moving into Launch, that there is less of an identity of being Launch itself and more just a simple opposition or an anti-STAR party? What would you say to that?

Jacob: I think we certainly have an identity in terms of being a party where, for me personally, this is how I feel about Launch, is that it’s a place where I feel confident in that I can be who I want to be. Now that sounds very cliché, that sounds quite, I don’t know how to describe it, sort of [inaudible] Disney Chanel movie, but uhm coming into Launch I feel, it’s like a place where I belong, I feel like I might of even belonged there earlier, or I feel like, Launch is a place where my view of being a-political, which I’m sure you’re aware about, and Pelican readers can find more information on that quite easily.

Josh: Definitely.

Jacob: Definitely. I think that it suits Launch a lot more. One of the things that I was frustrated about with STAR was that the idea of being independent, progressive and experienced wasn’t correct. I think that what is correct is the idea of being progressive and I guess experienced of being an encumbrance. I don’t think they are independent at all. The fact is a lot of the members of STAR are Labor Party people. They’re people who are the president of the Labor Club, they are Vice President of the Labor Club or they campaign on booths for WA Labor at elections. And I feel as if this political alignment, which, y-you know you’re allowed to have. You’re allowed to be whatever party, really, but it is something that impacts the way the operate on Guild Council, and that wasn’t something I was comfortable with anymore. It was something I felt like I couldn’t really relate to I felt at times if I didn’t have a view that was particularly left wing or particularly aligned with what Labor would say or do, it impacted the way I was looked upon by other STAR people, or impacted potentially what I wanted to do in STAR.

Josh: Cool. I-I guess just for the record then, uhm, you’re not a member from a political party, so you feel as a result, Launch is a more independent ticket?

Jacob:  yeah, 100%. Independent and a-political. Obviously, there are people from the Liberal Party, last year we had a Green’s person running, I won’t say her name just to not throw her under the bus, but there is a girl who is both in Labor and Liberal party. So- yeah. Politics certainly doesn’t impact your standing in Launch, in terms of if you’re in Liberal or Labor or whoever. It’s about your policy, it’s about who you are as a person, and how you relate to students in that sense.

Josh: Okay, cool. Uhm I guess more broadly, what you’re running for, so you’re running for SOC President (Societies and Council), which is obviously responsible for, clubs. I guess the broadest question I think that comes into, that doesn’t really touch on a lot of what policy has been discussed is that often clubs are concerned about financial gain and getting more money, but also clubs aren’t homogenised, and a lot of the policies, I think on both sides, are quite, uhm, vague and open to a lot of different areas. How do you feel about that given that often in the day to day running you’re dealing with club concerns and specific dealings, kind of experiences how do you think you will approach that?

Jacob: One of the big things for me is reliability, if you look back at the last two years, there has been a lot of issues with Treasurer Training, with getting grants back in on time. I applied for what’s called the Lion Nathan grant, and only got the money back 6 or 7 weeks after that it had been approved, that’s just not really good enough, I got it back because my treasurer friend Jack Looby sent an unhappy email and they did it straight away after that to be honest the guild and societies council want to do things. Do new and exciting policies. But if we can’t even get the basics right first, why are we going to change our system. I’m not saying we can’t do that, but me personally, one of the big things will be making sure we do what we actually are meant to be doing properly and straight away. So that’s why I’ve been talking about the two week grants submission return as a guarantee. I’ve spoken to people involved from 2016 and 15 as societies and they’d get grants back in two to three days. So I thought two weeks is a goal that is attainable and achievable but also can be returned in due course. So I guess in dealing with clubs the first thing is achieving what we set out to do and then also being a respected societies council…

A lot of what I’m talking about is more what’s the word, can you give an example?

Josh: Sure, from clubs I’ve spoken with smaller clubs are looking for greater financial support some are looking for specific rooms, now those concerns are polar how do you feel your job is balancing those concerns. While you want to cater to clubs you don’t want to promise the world.

Jacob: Yeah what I was going to say is when you deal with clubs you are dealing with them with respect. I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus and give examples, I’m sure you can figure that out for yourself but there have been instances where the societies council have spoken to clubs is poor and straight off the bat that is not a way to go about it. In terms of dealing with different club concerns, it’s important to deal with each club’s concerns on its own merit. Each club has a different issue, if you are a new club, like I was having issue just in terms of having to run events. How to do that properly for the first time. Whereas for example you are a ‘Japsoc’ sort of club, established, well known you are dealing with issues in terms of how to engage with students once they’ve signed up, that’s an issue I’ve dealt with on Arts Union this year, you know you might have a 100 sign-ups on O-day but if your club isn’t sure how to engage those students after then that’s a problem.

It’s a problem for the student because they’ve paid 5-6 dollars to join the club, it’s a problem for the club because they’ve got an inactive member. So, I think it’s a matter of where a club is at in its cycle and adapting to them if that makes sense.

Josh: Yep that makes sense. I guess also the other thing that you mentioned in your website and online is around this club portal, my question is how is that distinct from the MyGuild service which is already a directory and serves many club services.

Jacob: Um, yep, I’ll mention that after, but we want to centralise a lot of things but also is adapt an archive. So currently the president of EMAS you can look at past EMPs

Josh: Sure

Jacob: go back to five years ago and learn from that experience, I think there is a problem that clubs submit EMPs for an event which is successful but a year later those execs can’t see it because it is logged personally. So one of the thing we want to do in that sense is create a PHEME for clubs so that means they can log budgets, EMPs in one central location so you have the information from the year previous and also additional widgets including club merch, signing up for clubs, where committees and exec so all life in one location. Adding more things plus one location is the key.

Josh: Alright, well one final question then, why should voters pick #1 for Jacob Fowler?

Jacob: To be completely honest, with SOC and the guild in general has been the same, and I think its time for a change. So how do I put it? I think you said it in the policy article, a lot of the policies are quite safe nothing new, nothing that is going to change club life. One thing that I’m really proud of and can I just plug a policy now if that’s alright? It’s a policy about fencing so, a lot of clubs have a problem of paying for temporary fencing that costs a lot of money for clubs. So for example SOBER pay $2000 for one of their big events, what we want to do is buy fencing which the guild have and use it to hire out to clubs.

Josh: Sure

Jacob: So just doing some quick maths off the top of my head buying heavy duty fencing would cost upwards of $2000 dollars, the guild pay that and loan out to clubs at a discounted price. Then we make it back over time, obviously it’s a cost at the moment but can use it for 7-8 years and end up saving a whole lot of money.

So the big clubs that have an event on a semesterly basis, they spend about 2000 per party 7 or 8 years that’s 15-16,000 dollars saved off, Launch’s policy isn’t safe in the sense of STAR. That is sort of the regular, its policy that is different and can have immediate impact and I think that’s really important. The average student isn’t interested in politics, they don’t care about what is going on in Manus Island or other political issues. I think Launch’s policy recognises that. Launch’s councillors and Office Bearer’s also recognise that and I think that’s really important. I think the main issue that the guild has right now, is a disconnect between students and guild. That’s always been the issue, that’ll probably always be the issue. But in my opinion the way to fix that, is to make sure the things we do, do eg motions eg campaigns are things that the average student, that doesn’t get involved in clubs and doesn’t do any extra-cirriculars and is just here to study. Is that all good?

Josh: That’s beautiful, thanks for your time.

Jacob: No worries

Josh: Good chatting to ya

Jacob: I’m sure that sounded nonsense but um nah.

By Pelican Magazine

Pelican is one of the oldest student publications in Australia and the only independent paper at UWA. If you enjoy writing, then Pelican is the place for you! We print six themed issues a year, and run a stream of online content.

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