Image Description: Five people, wearing blue, sit on Oak Lawn. Back, left to right: Anushka Mukherjee, Ben Nguyen, and Shuhui Yong. Front, left to right: Viknash VM, Abdul Rahman Abdul Rahim.
By Viknash VM
Hey, I’m Viknash!
I hail from the sunny island called Singapore. I’m in my third year of a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Economics!
Having studied in Perth since 2015, I have also completed military service back home, and returned to Perth in 2018 to commence my degree. I love playing soccer and frisbee, and getting involved in any platform that the world has to offer!
Leaving my family and friends back home; building up a support system; juggling my academics – and all in an unfamiliar place – was certainly not easy. However, I believe these challenges have moulded me into person I am today, pushing through my boundaries and inhibitions. The roles I have undertaken over the years have opened my eyes to student representation and leadership.
How I Got into Guild Politics
I volunteered to be one of the first class representatives at UWA in the ECON1101 unit, which was my first taste of the Guild. It showed me how much students can have a say in the education we receive and pay for.
I saw my first Guild election that September, and wondered: “why are these people putting in so much time for something like this? why print so much paper?” I soon realised why when I got involved with the International Students Department (ISD) under Welfare, working beneath Nisa Shahrin (2019 ISD President).
The Guild allowed me to reach out to students, and hear what they wanted. It taught me that besides events, there was a lot more that the Guild did for students, including advocacy and support. The experience showed me where we were lacking, and what we had to do to serve the students better.
I joined Guild Council as an OGC in 2019, and was humbled to have received the experience I did, being part of the peak representative council for students on campus. I had also joined the Ethnocultural Collective under Saleem Alodeh as an OCM, to further understand the voices of students.
Having learnt how the Guild works by working with it closely, I decided to run as the International Students Department President. It was a decision I did not make lightly, as I knew it was a big responsibility. But I also knew that I wanted to serve the students, and do so with all my energy. I wanted to empower students like myself, who did not have enough of a voice.
I ran with Global alongside twenty-four OGCs, and we won three OGC places, as well as the ISD President spot. For a ticket our size, that was amazing, and showed us that the every-day student believed in our cause.
Why I’m Running
Since becoming ISD President, I have seen firsthand how fulfilling it is to listen to students’ needs, and reach out to them. It was even more fulfilling to implement tangible changes that students wanted. This got me thinking about how this impact could be extended to the larger UWA community.
As someone with experience in the Guild in various capacities, I believe that I will add value to the students who are at UWA – be it those onshore, offshore, remote, or on campus. I believe that the Guild requires a leader who will have students as the focus, and someone who is capable of leading a team that comes from different walks of life; a leader capable of leaving the party politics out, and focusing on delivering to the students. I believe that I will be that voice for students and the fellow Councillors.
My Main Focus
As Guild President, I would be bringing the Guild to the students, rather than waiting for students to come to the Guild. There is so much done by the Guild that students are unaware of, usually as a result of limited access, and I really believe in providing students easier access to the various departments. Improving their engagement with the Guild would enable us to better cater to their needs, as well as hold elected office bearers accountable to their roles.
Image courtesy of Global’s Facebook page.