Josh Cahill – How are we doing Taco?

Taco Shiraishi – Pretty good, pretty knackered

Josh – So basically, we’re just trying to get a little insight into all the OB candidates that are running this year. So, I guess what I’ll start with is a little bit about your journey through guild. What are you studying and what year are you in?

Taco – Cool, so I’m a third year, I’m doing media and communications, but I’ve finished all my core units at the beginning of this year, so I’m doing like fluff units and I also took up a diploma in Italian, which is interesting. The reason I did that was because I was approached by both parties in the beginning actually. I was approached by Launch and then STAR to run with both tickets.

So, it was Sharon who approached me for STAR and Conrad for …. (catches herself)

Josh – So the other way around? Sharon for Launch and Conrad for Star

Taco – Aren’t they just the same thing (laughs)

Taco – and then I just kind of grilled both Kate and Conrad a little bit. I kind of regret that now because I was a little harsh on Launch being like ‘why should I run with you guys’ because I didn’t believe in Guild Politics and when I first arrived at uni I was like ‘I’m not getting involved, like it’s just too much’ but then I realized how much the Guild actually does.

So, I could extend my degree by another year and stay just to do this because I think it is that important that we have someone as experienced.

Josh – So you’re basically coming into this super fresh? Not part of the ‘machine’?

Taco – Pretty much, I have freshers saying it’s there first election and I’m like me too. So, it’s daunting and it’s a lot, like as an OB you have more responsibilities than an OGC and you’re like held to a higher standard as well and you have to show up to things. I get it because it’s important and stuff.

Josh – Yeah that’s great, so I guess what we’ve been asking all candidates is are you part of a political party? Like young liberal or young labor?

Taco – No, no

Josh – Beautiful, so totally independent?

Taco – Yep

Josh – So you were talking about your experience, you’ve been involved in a few other clubs, can you try and talk to that?

Taco – Yeah so when I arrived in 2016. I’d just finished high school, straight into uni, no year break or anything. Walk up the road to UWA and so I enjoyed the Italian club as a fresher, continuing it on from high school and joined FabSoc (Fashion Society) on O-day. They seemed pretty cool, some nice people there.

So I joined FabSoc and Italian club as a fresher rep for both at the same time, and so I balanced myself between those, used to think wow I’m so busy for a fresher. Then 2nd year hit and there was no one to go for secretary of Italian Club so I took that. FabSoc I was secretary too, so I balanced those two roles.

Third year, which is now, I am Vice-President of FabSoc, President of Italian Club and recently received the position as treasurer of Societies Council because I thought if I’m going to take the position I need to understand how money works. Usually I just left my secretary to deal with that, it’s a real learning experience and I’ve kind of hit BINGO now. All four exec positions.

Josh – Great to hear, kind of ties in nicely with the next question. Often the concern I’ve felt being a club exec is you want greater financial resources, you want more money to play around with, to make your dreams a reality but often all clubs want very different resources and have different concerns. So, what I feel the SOC president has to deal with on a day-to-day basis is these kinds of concerns. What kind of experience do you have to allay these concerns and also tie the line between ensuring clubs achieve their goals but also draw back when you need to.

Taco – Yeah I think half of its up to the club to explain because they need to realise that we don’t understand exactly everything that they do. So it’s half our job to understand what each clubs is for but also for them to help us out when writing the grants process they tell us “it’s for this, because our objections are these and we’d really like this much money, I know it’s a lot but we need it do this” so to be more open and explain things a little more. And I know I myself have not done that in the past and gone where is the money at. So, I understand and that’s student’s like they may not have time for that.

But as SOC president it’s also up to me to put that time and put in that effort and work out these are the ‘big’ clubs who need this much money, this much funding, this much support and to understand why they need it. Not just because they are a ‘big’ club, to understand exactly the individuals behind that club and then the little clubs, not just that they are a little language, but know exactly what they want to do.

Next year I’d want to speak personally, to most president’s and most execs, just to understand what their goals are, what they can and want to achieve. Some might be like “LOL, I signed up for president because no-one else could and now I have no time it.” Whereas some might be “I’m really passionate about this, I really want to achieve this.” If that makes sense.

Josh – No that makes sense, communication seems to be the key.

Taco – Yeah

Josh – So tying this all back to policy we found on your website and Facebook profile which we found interesting was the mention of making club memberships free? Or subsidizing it for students? Do you think you could talk to what that looks like?

Taco – I would love to make all club memberships free for everyone, but it is kind of impossible and SOC doesn’t have the funding to keep these clubs going without that money.

But for O-day for the freshers who come in, I want to give the chance to join one club of their choice for free –

Josh – Ok

Taco – But there would have to be like caps on that, because some club memberships are like $20 and some are like $5 and some are even $4. There would have to be a lot of logistics behind that, but I think it’s viable.

I’ve spoken with Yerim, current SOC president, about it and she’s like “it could be feasible to subsidise clubs for that one day” the only way to do it would be via individual student numbers because you can’t have a slip in the guild diaries saying like “Use this token” you know if you get five diaries you get five memberships so it would just never work.

So, there is a lot of thought that needs to be put into it but for the most part I think it would definitely help freshers really engage with the culture.

Josh – Yeah, great, with that in mind are there any kind of extreme dreams or policy ideas that you would like to have be implemented for clubs this year.

Taco – Oh my god … a working EMP program (laughs) –

Josh – I mean preach

Taco – No that is definitely a possibility, like its gonna happen. If not this year, then next year for sure. I don’t know how execs have managed so far because it literally does our head in. Honestly the 17 pages we have to fill out, aw man, then like half the buttons don’t work and if you try to put a cover image in the whole EMP crashes like what is this system.

Anyway, so that’s definitely going to change and that’s not an unrealistic possibility that’s going to happen. As for an unrealistic possibility would probably beeee to have everyone show up to committee meetings for every club.

Josh – Now that is wishful thinking (laughs)

Taco – That’s the dream isn’t it (laughs)

Josh – No, no I agree so like fostering that kind of committee culture. I can speak from experience it isn’t easy right, it’s like herding cats.

Taco – Honestly, it’s so difficult (sigh) I think another thing I’d like to do is like, and it’s possible too, to have all the presidents and execs know each other. That way there is that culture, at a SOC meeting when you go you think “I know some people, but I don’t know everybody”

I think it would really help uhhh I can’t think of the word –

Josh – It’s been a long day

Taco – it would help with the collaborations of clubs, just to have the knowledge that that’s a club that exists I’ll collab with them you know.

Josh – I guess then finally, essentially why you think the voter should come down and put a #1 next to Taco. It’s Taco on the ballot, isn’t it?

Taco – It is Taco on the ballot (laughs)

Josh – (laughs) so Taco or even STAR in general, what is that makes you different from all the other candidates?

Taco – Well from all the other candidates, I have had a position on all four executive positions in the club as well as fresher rep, so I know what it’s like to enter a club being like “I don’t know what is going on” to “I know what to expect” I know what to do with money now minutes and all that stuff.

For the experience and the down-to-earth attitude that I have. And I know what they need. And I’m on SOC council right now, that I know I’ll get to deliver on those promises that aren’t unrealistic if you vote for me.

Josh – Great thanks for that, thanks for your time.

By Pelican Magazine

Pelican is one of the oldest student publications in Australia and the only independent paper at UWA. If you like having opinions, writing, drawing, and/or free tickets to local events, 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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