We’re Eleanor & Harry, and we’re your Welfare Officers for 2013. Together with our crack team of caseworkers & lawyers, we’re here for you if you’re struggling with life outside of the classroom. That means if you’re in financial trouble, if your landlord’s a bit of a dick, if your boss isn’t treating you right or if your “university experience” is a bit less glossy than the brochure, we can help you cope. Some of the things our team can do for you include:
- Helping you out with emergency loans when your
budget is tight;
- Finding you emergency accommodation;
- Sitting you down with a confidential counselor;
- Directing you to healthcare and the SRC’s free legal service;
- And making angry phone calls to your boss/Centrelink to stop them short-changing you.
The other half of our job is campaigning to make student life generally more liveable, be it for more childcare services, better mental health care or union-subsidised meals for low SES students. In 2012 our department provided free breakfasts and fought for travel concessions cards for international students. In 2013 we’re planning campaigns around student housing, drug education and mental health.
But most importantly, your breakfasts will remain free.
Affordable housing means that students have more time to focus on studying rather than working, and that students from lower SES and rural backgrounds have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a university education.
Unfortunately, your university doesn’t seem interested in providing you with decent accommodation, unless you can afford to live at Paul’s. These past few years have seen rent at Sydney Uni Village rise by almost 25%, rendering it almost as costly as college life. There is some affordable accommodation available at Darlington House, but waiting lists are growing longer and even if you do get in you can only stay for twelve months of your degree. In 2013, we’re campaigning for the university’s new housing development in the Abercrombie Precinct to be guaranteed affordable accommodation, and kept out of the hands of price-gouging private operators. We’re also lobbying for a rent freeze at Sydney Uni Village until student incomes have time to catch up.
As the brochure says, university is a time of exciting new experiences, some mind-blowing and others just mind-altering. For some, drug experimentation is part of that experience, and if you’re one of them we want you to be able to do it as safely as possible and be able to reach out for help if it becomes a problem for you or your friends.
In 2013 we want to help educate students about drug safety and prevent your university from punishing you for an illness, not a crime. That means helping you make an informed decision and minimizing that decision’s academic consequences, because a choice you make at eighteen shouldn’t fuck up your future.
The transition to university’s hard for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for some. While the university has some support networks for those with mental health issues, unfortunately each student can only have a limited number of appointments with a free university counselor. In 2013 we want these services expanded to meet everyone’s needs. We’ll also campaign to raise awareness about mental health so that students with these issues know they’re not alone and aren’t afraid to seek help.
Those are our plans for 2013 so far, but remember, we’re YOUR welfare officers and this is YOUR SRC. If there’s an issue that’s troubling you or something that makes you angry, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or pop down to the SRC bunker for a visit. Depending on Harry’s mood there may even be cookies waiting for you.
Harry Stratton– 0438 141 869.
Eleanor Morley – 0448 029 165.