In the Sydney suburb of Darlington, in a hole in the ground, there lived ten Honi Soit editors. It was not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, or an underground dungeon with nothing to sit down on or eat. This was an Honi Soit office, with a bean bag, fraying fairy lights and stolen University paraphernalia; and that means comfort.
Despite its poor air circulation and windowless interior, I am missing my underground haunt as I lay up our (last) first edition of the semester from home, but I am thankful that my worries are trivial ones.
Over the past few years, I have poured my heart into those who contribute to the marvellous patchwork project that is Honi Soit. If not for this student rag, I might never have crossed paths with my fellow editors.
Honi is a time capsule; it preserves snapshots of campus life, of the hopes and fears and struggles of the staff and students that make up the university. We have been keenly watching the arrival of new Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott, whose lack of academic experience and track record of $350m cuts at the ABC does little to inspire hope in a university community that has been battered by cuts; read Honi’s interview with Scott on p. 6, and on p. 7, Juliette Marchant gives her thoughts on Scott’s book ‘On Us’.
Elsewhere on the topic of universities, Claire Ollivain pens an anti-Alan Tudge opinion on p. 8. Meanwhile, Max Shanahan on p. 9 chats to student unionists halfway across the world in eSwatini, who are standing up for their right to unionise in the face of imprisonment. Ryan Lung delves into the political history of USyd’s architecture on p. 10, while Shania O’Brien talks to USyd academic Belinda Castles about the worlds of Australian writers on p. 17.
In another sentimental turn, I offer my memories of burning Western Sydney summers on p. 12. Climate change does not affect us all equally, and working class people and people of colour have always been the first to bear the brunt of disaster.
Thanks must go to the artists that colour the pages of this edition; especially to my talented friends Ellie Zheng and Altay Han. Another Western Sydney native, Ellie artfully renders a heat map of Parramatta, while Altay prophecises a neoliberal hell.
Lastly, I would take a moment to thank Spice for Honi: if not for their efforts, such a love for Honi might never have been sparked in me and others who follow us down this strange, nocturnal trail. I hope I have been able to pay forward some of the wisdom and faith that you have shown me.