This week, I will be giving a lot of my time to our University’s satellite campuses. Specifically Cumberland and Sydney College of the Arts (SCA). Since my last visit to Cumberland there have been a few students who have emailed me about the student life and experience there. This includes food outlets and extra curricula activities. After my visit I would like to find ways for students at Cumberland to be more involved with the things we do here at the Main Campus such as workshops, film screenings, and a higher participation rate in Council to ensure that their voice is consistently heard rather than brushed to the side.
Similarly, I have received emails from SCA about the University’s transport services needing to be improved. During the last Student Consultative Committee (SCC) meeting, this was brought up as a discussion item. Students were told that there were adequate transport services to and from SCA provided by the University along with a bigger bus to come in due time. While a larger bus would be beneficial, it seems that student safety and consistency in the bus timetable were the main concerns after talking to students.
I will be discussing this further at the next SCC Meeting to determine what can be done about this. Issues for students from SCA include the amount of students that can fit onto the current bus which cause many students to have to rely on other means of transport. This means students are walking through parks at night time and putting their safety at risk. It also means that students who have Units of Study on the Main Campus may be missing from their classes or showing up late. While a bigger bus would be nice, there is also a strong need for more frequent buses running from campus to campus.
I wish you luck in your final assessments for the semester and a well earned break.
General Secretaries’ Report
At long last, the budget is here. Last month an SRC Council meeting passed our proposed spending for the year with a unanimous vote. We’re happy to be able to expand our legal and casework services, increase funding to activism, complete a number of sorely needed projects and return a small surplus.
Each of the SRC’s solicitors will now be working an additional day per fortnight, ensuring that there is a lawyer in the offices at all times. We hope this change will go some way to meet the significant increase in demand by students for legal assistance in the last few years.
We have funded ten weeks of leave for a caseworker to take time off and receive accreditation in financial advice. This will allow the Casework department to give more assistance to students who are struggling financially. Receiving this help at the same time as a student might get advice on academic, housing or Centrelink issues minimises the need for students to seek assistance from multiple professionals at stressful times.
SRC Office Bearer budgets have increased by just over $4000 in recognition of the important place that student activism has in protecting our interests on campus and in the community. We’ve also established a shared resource pool to ensure that the tools of the trade—megaphones, tables, staplers etc.—are available in the long term.
We’ve set money aside to build a new database for the Casework department and increased the stipend paid to editors of Honi Soit. Unlike other paid Office Bearers, the Honi stipend does not increase by a small amount annually. In real terms, this means their stipend has decreased significantly over time. An increase is therefore important to ensure the position remains accessible to students from all economic backgrounds.
The only other changes of note are a fair hike in the cost of printing Honi (the last printer went insolvent, the market had moved and the gears of capitalism ground on) and a $9000 reduction in the affiliation fee the SRC pays to the National Union of Students.
If you have any questions about how or why the SRC spends money the way it does, feel free to get in touch.
Intercampus Officers’ Report
Fiona Lieu, Mary Osborn, Jason Kwok and Mary Ellen Trimble.
10 Tips and Tricks for getting around The Con.
1. If you want to practice on a weekday you’ll need to get up early, practice rooms fill up by 9am and it’s a struggle to find one until 6pm!
2. The Con is open 7am-10pm on weekdays 8am-10pm on Saturdays and 10am-6pm on Sundays and public holidays.
3. There is a computer lab hidden on level 1 that has useful software such as Sibelius, Finale and Audacity. This is open to all students, all hours Monday-Saturday and is particularly useful when the library is closed.
4. If you want to rehearse with your chamber ensemble or simply practice in a larger space, you can book any ensemble room, recital hall or music workshop for up to 2 hours a day. Just check this website for room availabilities: https://web.timetable.usyd.edu.au/venuebookings/venueCalendar.jsp?mode=Timetables and then email email@example.com. On Sundays or public holidays you can only book ensemble rooms on level 3.
5. If you do AP or Harmony, do yourself a favour and do the homework the day of or
next day. This way you don’t have to worry about it all week.
6. If you’re having personal problems the con now has e-counselling in room 4037,all you have to do is book an appointment with CAPS.
7. If you have any issues contact an SRC caseworker on 9660 5222 or email them from the SRC website. They can even come to the con campus for your appointment. See the website http://srcusyd.net.au for more details about how they can help you
8. Want a con hoodie? Want to write in the Conversation magazine? Have a suggestion to improve the con? Email the CSA at firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Unsure about what to do after a con concert when you’re itching for a beer? Go the the Paragon where you can get a discount on food if you show your student card.
10. Any student can have their own free concert on a Wednesday night that is advertised on the Con Website. Just email email@example.com to book one!
Wom*n’s Officers’ Report
It’s that time of semester—exams are approaching and as such, activism becomes the greatest form of procrastination. Last week was a momentous one for the Wom*n’s Collective, with three huge events to report on. The first was the “Stop Killing Women” Vigil at UTS (unfortunately I couldn’t make it due to work). Members from the collective got together on monday evening and painted a banner on that sweet, silky bright pink and glossy fabric (made famous at the NDA earlier this year). The turn out looked incredible, with wonder women Mehreen Faruqi and Wendy Bacon (amongst others) giving speeches. Thanks so much to those members of the Wom*n’s Collective who’ve been working tirelessly with representatives from other universities to put this together.
Wom*n’s Honi hit the stands last week! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed and helped edit the paper. Particularly to the last minute call ins—Astha Rajvanshi and Alex Downie—who helped us give the edition that extra Honi Soit editor finesse. It was great to see so many people voluntarily come in on Saturday to lay out their pages. Collective work isn’t always collaborative, but Wom*n’s Honi this year was a great example of how it can be. The diversity of the articles and artworks is a testament to the many intelligent, insightful and radical non cis male students on our campus. I’ve stolen a hearty stack to share with my future children—I hope some of you did too.
Last wednesday was our joint Honi Soit launch with Indigenous Honi. What a fantastic night! Thank you so much to Georgia Mantle for offering to co-ordinate the event with the Wom*n’s Collective. Georgia’s acknowledgement was absolutely heart wrenching and so moving; I thank her for sharing it with us. I hope the pizza was delicious enough, the speakers entertaining enough (they certainly were! Thank you Tina, Anoushka, Jethro and Madison) and the company enjoyable enough. Hopefully the joint launch can become a tradition. Wom*n’s activism and Indigenous activism have not always been the best of friends but may we strive to change that! Thank you to all those who helped set up and organise the event, particularly Julia Readett, sneaky pizza orderer and speaker hirer extraordinaire.
Finally, I feel I should make one brief comment about the “Stop Taxing My Period” petition. Thanks to all the USYD students who have supported the campaign. It was so wonderful to watch us in the SRC OB room holding up that giant tampon in the Q&A video. Even more special thanks to Georgia, Arabella, Courtney, Ella and Lane (who missed a French test to be there) who woke up at 4.30am to drive to Canberra and be my official human tampons in front of Parliament last Thursday. I couldn’t ask for better friends or better feminists.
Autonomous Collective Against Racism
Eden Caceda, Deeba Binaei, Kavyá Kalutantiri and Lamisse Hamouda.
Hey friends! Your Ethnic Affairs Office Bearers/Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) Office Bearers here! We’ve had a busy time at ACAR finalising our plans for 2015 and we’ve got some fantastic things in the works!
As mentioned, we are currently assisting the USU in developing their new sensitivity training program so we can ensure that the USU is a welcoming and safe space for all People of Colour (PoC) on campus.
ACAR’s edition for Honi Soit is just around the corner. Look out for editor call outs and submission deadlines on our facebook group as we will be announcing them shortly.
We are also collaborating with the Muslim Wom*ns Collective to support a campaign based around tackling racism and Islamophobia on campus and in wider society.
We have Verge Festival coming up in October this year. We will be organising an autonomous poetry slam event for a non-autonomous audience! If you identify as a PoC, as an individual marignalised by White supremacy or structural oppression, please pen your feels into a poem and prepare to share your heart with us on stage. We’ll be ready with a sign-up sheet and beatnik clicks.
To celebrate the end of the semester, ACAR will be hosting a picnic on the 12th of June. Please come along to enjoy delicious food over great company. Further details will be listed on our facebook group.
Please remember you can contact us on our facebook page – Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) or find us at our regular weekly meetings on Wednesday 12pm at the Education Studio Room 229.
Queer Action Collective Report
The semester is coming to a close, but at the moment the Queer Action Collective are actively working on many things to come, amongst which QC is a highlight. But first, we can reflect a bit on the past few months. At O-week, we signed up new members and welcomed many queer students into our collective. It was so inspiring to see so many people get involved and contribute to what our collective has become. We have hosted many social events and held many workshops and discussions.
In the middle of the semester, we had a meeting to figure out a direction for QuAC. One of the decisions was to make our collective meetings less bureaucratic and to have more facilitated discussions around queer issues. Implementing this consistently proved to be a little difficult as it was not easy to select a topic of discussion and find a volunteer to facilitate on a weekly basis. However, when we managed to have discussions around a topic, they have been thought provoking and enlightening.
On the 18th of May, we held a photo petition for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). We collected a number of powerful messages from students and uploaded these photos to the USyd SRC Queer Department facebook page.
Right now, we are preparing for Queer Collaborations (QC), a national conference of queer students, which will be held in July in Canberra. Last year, we were fortunate enough to send over 20 delegates as we received a substantial amount of funding from the USU and SRC. This year, the USU have unfortunately had to cut their budget for conferences. Nonetheless, we are still keen to send a large group of delegates to QC, so we have been fundraising and we continue to do so (we are about halfway to our target). We are also working on developing our safer spaces policy. If you are interested in getting involved in any of this, or interested in coming to QC, don’t hesitate to contact your friendly Queer Officers at firstname.lastname@example.org