Student Guild Elections 2023: Get to Know STAR

Students at UWA will have the opportunity to elect next year’s Student Guild Council later this month. Campaigning has begun and this article introduces the STAR ticket.

Voting begins on the 18th of September and end on the 21st. Polling will occur on campus but you can also apply for a postal vote by the 15th of September by 4pm at the latest. Every UWA student can vote and voting is not compulsory. See here for more information and to apply for a postal vote.

What makes your party different?

(Blake Mathieson; SOC, OGC and NUS candidate)

Over this campaign, I’ve got to know the amazing people of STAR—I think the core of what makes us different is the people. The dedication, the warmth, and the energy I have felt from every member of this team has been inspirational and I hope we get to spread this energy across campus during Campaign season and throughout 2024.

Apart from being purely dedicated to making a better campus, STAR is an incredibly diverse team. Our candidates come from every Perth campus, we have representatives from a huge number of committees and even more ordinary members of Uni societies. We have candidates from a wide variety of majors—postgraduate and undergraduate—we have freshers, we have international students, we have candidates from working-class backgrounds, candidates who attended PSA schools and government schools, and we have candidates who are interested in politics and those who aren’t. Also, most of our candidates are women, and the majority come from CALD backgrounds. In one sentence—our strength is representing every type of person on our campus.

STAR is also the only party that truly cares about delivering for students in all areas, and recognises that they’re different. Older students like myself might remember when we had free breakfasts on campus for example. Our platform is not only based around campus life but also around the fact that life is hard outside of Uni as well—and our Guild can support you no matter what your story is.

So yeah, I’d say we’re pretty stellar.

What’s your vision for the Guild in 2024?

(Amira Nunn; President, OGC and NUS candidate)

My vision for the Guild is one that actually works for all students, and can deliver the fresh start UWA students need. We’re a truly diverse team that studies different things and come from a multitude of different clubs. Our true diversity of candidates will be reflected in the way I run the Guild. If elected I promise to listen to everyone and work to the benefit of all clubs and students, not just a select few.

We’re committed to immediate relief for students at a time where we’re all suffering from cost-of-living pressures, which impact on everyone’s wellbeing and stress levels. That’s why we’re standing up for an expanded food pantry, free pop up groceries on campus, as well as free breakfasts twice a week. Not only will we strive to ease cost-of-living pressures in a realistic and immediate way, we’ll bring students together with regular free food, so students can come out of their shell and meet others—we recognise what it’s like not to have friends on campus and we’ll do everything we can to connect students with each other.

Bringing students together is just so important to all of us, which is also why we’ll be doing what we can to ensure clubs can book spaces more easily and run events more often. All clubs deserve attention, because we recognise that students have different interests, and they should be able to join clubs that are less restricted and have the resources required to thrive.

I’ll also strive to make all student reps more visible through monthly town halls—it’s unacceptable for student representatives to be invisible to the people we represent and I’ll do everything I can to make sure that students know what the Guild is, and that we’re all here to help.

Above all else, we respect students, we’ll help them out, be visible, and give them a Guild they truly deserve.

What’s your party’s best achievement from your past year

on the Council?

(Amira Nunn; President, OGC and NUS candidate)

We’ve done everything we can to make the most of the resources we’ve been given—we’ve worked to raise awareness of issues, helped run a World’s Greatest Shave on campus and attended protests. We’ve helped with the campaigns including the upcoming Know Your Rights campaign that will raise awareness of students’ rights, and pressured the current Guild to properly stock pink boxes with free period products. Our OGCs have been working hard on campaigning for a Human Rights Act in WA and working for the advancement of human rights in WA—we believe that everyone has the right to be respected and we’ll fight to make sure everyone is heard.

In opposition, STAR has done everything it can to hold the current Guild to account. That means raising questions about how students’ money has been spent, particularly when we’ve had a Guild that has been willing to budget $35 000 to party events. We’ve communicated this to students the best way we can, and strive to remind them that a better alternative is possible—a Guild that works for all students and can deliver the fresh start they deserve.

Which of your policies are you most excited about?

(Kaushal Adhiya; Wellbeing candidate)

As a candidate for the position of Wellbeing Officer, I’m passionate about my policy to bolster funding and awareness for Shenton House, a vital resource for our international student community. This initiative aligns seamlessly with STAR’s core values of inclusivity, diversity, and student well-being.

International students enrich our campus, offering diverse perspectives and cultural experiences that enhance our learning environment. Yet, they encounter distinct challenges like adapting to a new culture and dealing with homesickness. Given the current cost of living and housing crisis, international students deserve robust support. Shenton House serves as a lifeline, providing counselling, academic guidance, and cultural integration programs.

Boosting funding for Shenton House will expand its services, ensuring international students receive comprehensive support to excel academically and personally. This not only enhances their well-being but also fosters a more inclusive campus.

Moreover, raising awareness about Shenton House’s services ensures all students, domestic and international, know about available resources. This proactive approach diminishes the stigma around seeking help and encourages students to utilise these invaluable services.

In summary, my proposal to increase funding and promotion for Shenton House goes beyond supporting international students; the proposal is about cultivating an inclusive and supportive campus for all. I’m dedicated to making this vision a reality, ensuring our University stands as a welcoming place for students from diverse backgrounds.

What do you think the Guild is lacking at the moment?

(Chloe Lazaroo; OGC candidate)

The Guild currently lacks equal and accurate representation of all the faculty societies and clubs it looks after. The current system grants an advantage to larger clubs by not being equitable in the way it allocates resources; this system creates an unnecessary competition between clubs that divides them.

Representation of students on campuses separate to Crawley (such as the Nedlands campus) is also lacking. As a student who spends a large amount of time not on main campus, it’s a shame to see how many resources on main campus aren’t really available to students that are on smaller campuses.

I believe it is important to maintain a steady and diverse flow of social events, but I think it is also essential that an effort is made to promote safe and healthy lifestyles for students by giving funds to things like free breakfasts, pink boxes of period products on all campuses, and free pop-up grocery items.

What’s the most compelling reason for students to vote for you?

(Alex Ellmer; General Secretary candidate) 

A transparent, democratic, and student focused approach to our policies. We’ve spent a lot of time this semester getting to the root of what regular students actually want and need on this campus, and we hope that passion shines through when you read our policies and aims.

A focus of these policies for us has been on immediate and realistic goals, which benefit not only future students, but also the ones voting now, such as our policies on cost-of-living relief and bolstering student support on campus.

We appreciate the grand schemes of the current guild in ideal, but believe they should not be employed to the detriment of attention given to current students, as we’ve seen over the last two years. Being a diverse bunch ourselves we want to see policy that reflects wants and needs across the board.

Also we just wanna fix the damn Wi-Fi.

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