Image description: On a blue background and in white font is the text ‘UWA Student Guild – established 1913’. In a yellow star below, in white text, is the word ‘updates’.
By Courtney Withers
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The Guild had a meeting last week, and you should know all about it! Ok, good. I’ve got your attention.
There have been many important discussions and decisions made around student and campus issues in the past few weeks, and I’m here to catch you all up.
The Guild have been working tirelessly over the past two months to solve issues that have arisen, and introduce new initiatives in the face of the pandemic.
The Guild Council met last Wednesday April 29, for their first ever online meeting – and I got the inside scoop from Guild President Bre Shanahan.
Bre said that lots of important points were raised and discussed – including fee relief, student support, Pay As You Go Parking, parking refunds, election culture, welfare week – the list goes on and on. She said that one of the biggest focusses for the meeting was the impact of Coronavirus, and how students have been affected.
“The major project we are working on at the moment is the NUS Save Our Students campaign,” Bre said.
“We will be rolling this campaign out over the coming weeks. As part of this, we are asking students to complete our Save Our Students survey so that we can gain a full picture of how Coronavirus has impacted students this semester (academically, financially, and in terms of wellbeing).
“This will help us to put pressure on the university to respond to student concerns.”
Bre said that the main focus of this discussion was fee relief, with the Guild acknowledging that many students had “expressed concern about paying full fees this semester for units that were delivered online”, and that the student survey responses would give them more of a case to present to the University, using real examples.
Bre also indicated that parking was another main focus of the meeting, as they worked to find solutions for students.
“The other major Coronavirus-related project we are working on is parking refunds,” Bre said.
“This has been an ongoing conversation across the semester as initially the university felt it could not be a priority as they were concentrating on transitioning to online learning.
“The Guild will continue to advocate for the refund of parking permits this semester.”
Bre also said that there had been no indication that the PAYG parking situation would cease in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, but said that the Guild is continuing to put pressure on the University through their ‘Pay And We Go’ campaign.*
The Guild is also working on other projects and developments at the moment, which Bre has ever so kindly summarised:
- We are putting forward a proposal this month to secure academic transcript recognition for club executives.
- The Election Culture Working Group has released its student survey and we would love to see as many responses as possible so we can continually improve our election culture.
- The Uni Students Digital Climate Strike is coming up on May 15.
- Welfare Week is coming up soon (online for the very first time).
- The Lyn Beazley Institute and the Student Innovation Centre are set to be launched this semester, so watch this space!
- We are also launching Office Bearer Consultation Hours this semester, to give students access to their student reps so we can better represent you.
- The Welfare Department is also working on the “Healthy Minds Module” in collaboration with university academics to roll out some online mindfulness modules for students.
- We will also be releasing our CaLD and Men’s Mental Health surveys very soon.
- The Women’s Department’s ‘Women in Music’ Festival is coming up on May 12 – our first ever online music festival!
As for The Guild SOC team, and further updates for clubs and societies, I also have some updates to relay.
The SOC team met at their ‘Online SOC Meeting’ on May 1, which consisted of pre-recorded updates. This was posted in the ‘Presidents of SOC Clubs 2020’ Facebook group, and also via e-mail.
For those that didn’t ‘attend’ the meeting, or just want a bit of an update about clubs and societies, here’s my recap:
The ‘Online SOC Meeting’ that was recorded had snippets from each of their Executive team, talking about various issues, and answering submitted questions.
SOC President Jacob Roosendaal discussed general updates concerning SOC, and how clubs in general can ask for support.
He reminded everyone of the services offered by Student Assist, and stated that the SOC team are in close contact with the University, as well as the Guild Executive and Managing Directors, to resolve any incoming issues.
Jacob also said that it’s hard to know when things are going to go back to normal in terms of club events, but the SOC team are “tentatively but optimistically, hoping for around semester two”, provided that it is safe to do so.
He also said that this uncertainty extends to finance, but raised the point that SOC hasn’t be affected financially as other Guild departments have.
SOC Treasurer Jameson Thompson gave the update that SPGs are live, and will be done on a case by case basis. He also said that online events will receive priorities with SPGs, and that O-Day grants will hopefully be delivered shortly.
He stressed the importance of keeping “club culture” alive through online events, and events at the starts of Semester Two (provided the situation allows it). He has said that clubs “should go for [their] lives”.
Another important update from Jameson was that Semester One grants will not be going forward due to the COVID-19 situation. However, Semester Two grants will hopefully be going ahead.
He also said that if any clubs had any big expenses before the lockdown period, SOC will review those expenses and “support [clubs] financially”.
Other important updates from the meeting include the current ‘UWA’s Got Talent’ competition in partnership with UWA Events, and the online ‘Social Impact Fair’ with social impact clubs. These will be coming soon.
The Guild Team are working hard to resolve any and all issues around student life, and as always, if you have any problems, questions, concerns, feedback, thoughts, feelings, funny jokes, send an email to [email protected]. Maybe not jokes, but you get the idea.
Courtney wants to ask Rick and Sue if she can do a ‘Guild Updates’ segment on Channel 7.
Picture courtesy of UWA Student Guild