International Students Report – week 4

The International Students Collective are still supporting the Australian Discussion Group program under the regulation of University of Sydney Union every Tuesday 3 pm at International Student Lounge throughout semesters. During week 2, the collective officers met up with the USYD SRC welfare officers to discuss about our plans for international students in 2015. We are currently working on a new multi-language SRC handbook for international students with the welfare officers, we are also focusing on how to help international students to find a job after they graduate and help them to claim back their superannuation money before they leave the country. We are working on the discrimination issues with the Anti-racism Collective this semester by currently helping the Anti-racism with the first event in week 4.The collective also met up with the UTS  international students officer in week 3,we are planning to establish a cross-campus International students collective among USYD, UNSW and UTS together in 2015. The first USYD International students collective meeting has been arranged which is 2 pm on the 23rd of March at International students Lounge.

In order to help international students to claim back their superannuation money and provide more job opportunities, firstly we have to make sure more international students know about our free legal services provided by the SRC, so our plans for week 4 is to meet up with all the presidents of cultural societies in order to call out international students to join our collective as many as we can, making sure international students get to  know about the collective and all the legal services provided by SRC. Our collective officers will be keeping in touch with the Student Career Centre and the SRC legal service.For the following week 5 to week 13, we are planning to arrange a meet and greet event for international students from all over the world. Secondly, we suggest to replace the second hand bookstore at Wentworth building to a legal service centre,more international students can see it and will know about there is a free legal service in SRC. Thirdly,we focus on caring International students’ mental health, we had a survey during week 2 and found out that International students hardly know about the free mental health service on campus, so we are more International students know about the free service of CAP on campus.

Welfare Department Report – week 4

Hey everybody, welcome back to the haunted nether regions of Honi. Just get through these reports and you’ll be home and dry in the joke section, but before you flip over for your weekly dose of Christopher Pyne themed puns (I’m Pyne-ing for him to be sacked? No that’s pretty crap…) let me tell you about the work happening in your SRC welfare department.

Work is continuing with the incredible international student officers to build a campaign that connects international students with SRC welfare services. International students create the multicultural environment that make life at this university so rich and increasingly it’s their fees that pay for everyone’s classes.  However the university has dropped the ball when it comes to their care. For too many international students their experience of Sydney uni is marred by exorbitant home stay and travel prices, dodgy employers and a lack of language support.

The SRC wants to be the safety net that catches international students before alienation or stress become too much to handle. The first step will be to create multilingual materials letting students know how the SRC can support them but until then please contact us at welfare.officers@src.usyd.edu.au if you or a friend is struggling with rent, debt or even just a big workload. We can put you in contact with an SRC caseworker or solicitor and start shrinking those troubles down to size. Getting help when you feel stuck is not always easy but we (the welfare officers) can make your appointment for you and even come and sit in with you in the meeting if you need us to. There is no shame in asking for help.

We are also excited to announce that here in welfare we are creating a new forum where students can engage with the department, give feedback, share tips and concerns and become directly involved with our campaigns. It’s early days and we are still experimenting with the format but if you want to voice a concern or get involved with the politics of compassion search for “Sydney University Welfare Collective” on Facebook and watch this space!

The Wom*n’s Collective went wild on Saturday the 14th of March with TWO events in one day

Hello there, regular readers (probably just our mums and some loyal friends)—bet you missed us! Well, never fear—we’ve got lots to tell you.

The Wom*n’s Collective went wild on Saturday the 14th of March with TWO events in one day. We kicked off the morning at the International Wom*n’s Day march. Somewhere in amongst Penny For Newtown campaign propaganda and various Marx and union enthusiasts, we strolled casually but indignantly through the city. We explained kyriarchy to some confused passersby and even managed to make a t-shirt sale mid rally. Amongst a sea of whiteness (literally and politically) our “Decolonise Your Feminism”, written in sweet bubble writing over an Indigenous flag, and “Fight For Wom*n of Colour” attracted some necessary attention. Feeling like we’d single handedly brought intersectionality to IWD, we rushed home to get “glammed up” for the Growing Strong Launch that night.

There are so many feels we could share about the Launch. The performers were fantastic; Jane Park was wonderful; the falafels were, unfortunately, finite. An hour before we’d resigned ourselves to sitting in the venue alone and consuming the eight boxes of pide ourselves. Luckily for our health and the future of wom*n’s activism at Sydney University, that wasn’t necessary. Thank you to everyone who came. Such a huge turn out was unexpected, but all the more wonderful for it. Thank you also to Caitlin Still and Fancy Chen who both read their works to us and to those who helped us set up and/or pack up.

We’ve decided to start a new segment to help our readers in their radical education. Each fortnight we’ll share some articles that have been scoring likes on the Wom*n’s Collective facebook group. This week we’re giving JAM a callback in the pages of Honi Soit, as two of its editors have written wholesome, critical, must-read pieces. Lucy Watson’s “Reflections On My Assault, One Year Ago Today” on newmatilda.com and Rafi Alam’s “disperse – away from my mother’s land” on Armed are our first recommendations. Terrific people, terrific writing, and pretty good reminders that the personal is political. That’s all for now – until next time (we’ll miss you).

Look at all that’s happened in the short span of two weeks: our humble PM has consumed two raw onion

Look at all that’s happened in the short span of two weeks: our humble PM has consumed two raw onions (that we know of, that is: others, privately consumed, are as of yet unconfirmed, but I trust The Garter to keep us well abreast of this topic); a former PM (who was, unfortunately, little known for his prescient stance against apartheid), and outspoken advocate for refugee rights in his later years, has passed; and, much to the disappointment of a strange assortment of PMs, yet another bill to deregulate our university sector has floundered in the Senate.

With all that in the foreground, it does not seem that my scrappy, little report is of much relevance. And it’s not. This split ink is rendered worthless. Worthless, that is, without you reading it: interrogating my work, challenging my assumptions and priorities, and thoroughly critiquing my biases. What is relevant—and what I’ll endeavour to do in each piece of mine in Honi—is to make sure you understand what I’ve been doing, where it’s going, and why.

That accountability, and its closely-tied buzz-word of ‘representation’, has been my focus for these past weeks. As I type this, I’m quickly learning the intricacies of Google Spreadsheets, creating a table of all campaign commitments all elected SRC Councillors made, such that we can work collectively to agitate and achieve their goals; spreading the knowledge and advocacy-work of the SRC beyond its Executive. I’m eagerly reconstructing (or, more aptly, resuscitating) the Faculty Societies’ Committee. Composed of all of the Faculty Societies’ Presidents, this is an exciting new opportunity to engage faculties (especially those under-represented in the SRC, ie. all non-Arts faculties) more closely in the work and advocacy of the SRC. I’ve also been working closely with the International Students’ Officer in conducting a review of the SRC’s operations in the International Students’ Lounge in the Wentworth building, and the efficacy of our bookshop. My most exciting project, however, is—undoubtedly—the awareness-building campaign (and associated video) I’ve been working on with the Cumberland Intercampus Officers.

That’s a bit of a laundry-list for you: and there’s so much of each project left to do. This doesn’t need to be a spectator sport, so please contact me any-time at vice.president@src.usyd.edu.au.

General Secretaries’ Report – Week 3

It’s week three. Things are starting to get boring. So are the reports.

Last week we finalised the SRC’s application for funding from the Student Services and Amenities Fee which provides the bulk of our funding year to year. This follows a number of rounds of negotiations with other student organisations who are also funded from the Fee. With the submission of our application and those made by the other students organisations, a University committee now decides on the exact amount of funding provided to each organisation.
Once we have confirmation of our funding for the year, Chiara and I will begin consulting on the distribution of that money between the different things that the SRC does (if you don’t know what those things are, you should check out srcusyd.net.au). We’re keen for anyone with an opinion—councillors, office bearers, our staff members, and any student—to have input and are always happy to talk through where and how the SRC should be spending student’s money. Will keep you updated as this process starts.

The SRC is currently hiring a new Secretary to Council to fill the position which has been vacant since the end of last year. This role ensures that the elected Council of students functions smoothly and is a significant point of contact between students and the Council that acts on their behalf. The position will be finalised in the next week or so.

Locomoting in the opposite of a backwards vector, we’re going to kick off a redesign of the SRC’s appearance in the next few weeks. You could say our logo is not looking as youthful as the group of people that it represents. You could also say that we could do better communicating the SRC’s role in activism on campus, as representatives of students, and as a service-provider that helps students most at risk. With that in mind, we would love to hear from anyone with ideas or design feelings and we’re looking forward to entering the 21st century.

Be part of history and a better society that’s actually ours and get involved in these campaigns…

In the past week we’ve seen a huge victory for students across the country while witnessing some of the most disillusioned remarks from the Prime Minister and the Western Australian Government regarding Aboriginal communities.

Monday last week saw a form of direct action taken by myself, and members of the Education Action Network as we locked ourselves onto the Vice-Chancellors door in the name of free education and to protest the deregulation of Australian universities. On Tuesday evening, the Senate’s votes were counted and the motion for deregulation failed. We have built momentum through the course of 2014 and this year but Christopher Pyne is not backing down. He has vowed to put his bill of higher educational reform to the Senate for the third time. We must remain vocal, persistent, direct, and clear with our message. I encourage you not to be satisfied with just the lost deregulation bill. Continue to fight for the free education that every person is entitled to. Fuck the Coalition Government and their privatisation bullshit and fuck the ALP and their relaxed stance towards the HECS system when the same people who benefited from a free education decide we don’t deserve it.

I also encourage you to campaign against the closure of over 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. The rumors have already begun. Child abuse. Domestic violence. Pedophilia. Sexual assault. Limited funding for schools. Do these sound familiar? THE NORTHERN TERRITORY INTERVENTION?!?!?!?!? This is just another land-grabbing opportunity for the mining industry on Traditional Owners’ countries with the backing of an apartheid régime.

As USyd students, we created and involved ourselves in movements around the Vietnam War, Land Rights, wom*n’s rights, and queer rights. None of these things could have caught the public’s attention and created change without the voices of students. Be part of history and a better society that’s actually ours.

The Intercampus crew call this week’s article ‘Cumberland’s Secret Secrets’.

The Intercampus crew call this week’s article ‘Cumberland’s Secret Secrets’. Yes, that’s right. We thought we’d let you readers into some confidential matters of this elusive campus that we call Cumbo.

For any Cumbodians reading this: Yes, we can confirm that there ARE piano stairs. Located in K Block, it’s a sneaky flight of steps that only staff members and a handful of chosen students know about. Well not anymore. Not only does it make some funky piano tunes, but you can also choose some groovy default beats or harmonies to funk your way up/down the stairs. This is the future. You’re welcome, Cumbo.

Second on the agenda, the Secret Garden. What’s a swag campus without a Secret Garden? Take a walk down the meandering gravel path around B Block and you’ll come to an oasis of lush greenery. For some reason, not many people know about this haven so it’ll just be you spiritually connecting with the Lidcombe flora (and not to mention the abundance of persistent mosquitoes). There’s even a fountain too. Ooo… ahhhh… tranquillity…

One last helpful tip would be to keep your eyes peeled for the one week where the Cumbo coffee cart (bottom level of JDV) gives out $1 Hot Choc. What’s even better is that this deal normally happens around the wintery months of the year. So make sure you get your hands on that! What’s even better than extremely friendly Cumbo barista staff? ONE DOLLAR HOT CHOCOLATES.

So there you have it. Although Cumbo looks like a bare campus with nothing to hide except a freaking huge cemetery next to it, you should never judge a book, let alone a university campus, by its cover.

Getting involved in the queer community…

Getting involved in the queer community, on or off campus, can be difficult. There’s the risk of outing and having to explain your whereabouts to friends and family. There’s the social anxiety of going to an event alone and meeting new people. Perhaps you’re still exploring or questioning your sexuality or gender or presently in a heterosexual relationship.

Rest assured, we have all felt this way at some point or another. Persevering through the awkwardness and anxiety and self-doubt is totally worth it. If you’re looking for ways to get involved here’s a few:

1. Join our mailing list and/or Facebook page

QuAC has a secret Facebook group to avoid outing. Email the Queer Officers on queer.officers@src.usyd.edu.au to be added to the group. In that group you will receive information about upcoming events like board games evenings, movie nights and workshops that you might like to come to.

If you want to come to something but are not sure what to expect or where to go, or you just need a friendly queer to show you the way, let the Queer Officers know and one of us will be more than happy to help you out.

2. Hang out in the Queerspace

The Queerspace aims to be a safe(r) space for queer and questioning students and is a great place to study, chat to other queer people or have a sneaky nap between classes. Spending time in the Queerspace is probably one of the easiest and low pressure ways to meet other people in the queer community on campus.

If you don’t know how to find it go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb_UgucYbQc and follow the instructions in the video. Or email the Queer Officers and we’ll help you out.

3. Attend a Pride Week event

Pride Week is coming up in Week 4 (24-26 March) and promises to be amazing! On the first day we’re having a mini Fair Day with stalls, a speaker panel, queer yoga and drag performances. This is followed by two days jam-packed with workshops and evening events including Coming Out By Candlelight, movie night and Queer Beers at Hermans. For more information go to:

http://www.usu.edu.au/Bar…/Festivals/Pride-Festival-(1).aspx

The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) had a fantastic turnout this OWeek

Hello again! Your Ethnic Affairs Officers here! The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) had a fantastic turnout this OWeek and we were very pleased to work closely with the newly formed Muslim Wom*ns Collective at our stall. We gave out over 150 gift bags with pamphlets and other information about fighting racism on campus, online resources and our inaugural zine with contributions from students of colour. We hope these materials will continue to inform students about our collective and our aims in providing a racist-free and safe university space.

During OWeek we hosted our first two events of the year. The first was a Safe Spaces panel where our speakers, Riki Scanlan, Subeta Vimalarajah and ourselves, Eden and Lamisse discussed what is necessary to create safe spaces so no Person of Colour, wom*n, queer or disabled individual feels threatened, silenced or attacked. We also talked about how safe spaces could be fostered and how all people can contribute to making marginalized people feel welcome in social spaces.

Our second event was an autonomous mixer where new and old members of ACAR could meet and come together as a collective. It was great to see the intersectionality in this years collective, with queer and wom*n of colour becoming more involved with ACAR. This social event is one of many we hope to hold to allow students of colour to mix together and move away from a political sphere of discussion.

ACAR also applauds the many queer and wom*n of colour who were involved with International Women’s Day and celebrated the successful (and rain-free) Mardi Gras. These two events are important because they remind us about the successes of both queer and wom*n of colour as well as highlight the continued struggle they both face in society.

If you missed us at OWeek, never fear! It’s easy to join us during the year. We’re in the midst of choosing a collective meeting time, but until then, we have a fantastic Facebook group where we discuss and organise. Likewise if you want to keep up with our events and campaigns, but maybe don’t identify as a Person of Colour, chuck us a ‘like’ on our ACAR Facebook page: www.facebook.com/usydacar

Have a great week!
Ethnic Affairs Officers

There are a wide range of support networks available to students who identify as having a disability

There are a wide range of support networks available to students who identify as having a disability accessible by registering with the university’s Disability services. The purpose of this is to allow students to be given as much of an equal opportunity to access their course material and assessments tasks in  the best manner possible tailored to that students needs. Disability services makes your teaching staff aware of your needs whilst not disclosing your exact circumstances. If you are hesitant about registering with Disability Services and would like to seek independent advice in doing so, you can make an appointment to see a SRC Caseworker by calling 9660 5222 or visit the SRC at Wentworth Building Level 1 for a Drop-in visit on Tuesdays & Thursdays, between 1 and 3pm.
 
This collective provides an opportunity for students to share their lived experiences with one another and to identify and formulate plans for resolving issues within the university that affect students who identify as having carers ​responsibilities or being a person with a disability. Remember there are many kinds of disability, it is in fact the largest minority on the planet, more often then not however a lot of issues faced by people can go ignored and that’s why it’s important to get involved. By using ones lived experience to make people aware of the issues faced it is possible to move people from pondering mere abstract concepts to thinking about the real world that some of us negotiate each day. That’s why we are looking for members to help raise awareness about the diverse lives that we lead and how they are affected by our impairments and responsibilities. With such a wide range of impairments and responsibilities it is impossible for a few to speak for the many. So lets share our challenges and make them part of our success.  

If you want more information on the collective please e-mail us at 
disabilities.officers@src.usyd.edu.au