<em>Yinfeng Shen, Irene Ma, Ziwei Lin and Seamus Kirk</em>
As student housing officer, we understand that where you live is a core part of your experience at the University of Sydney.
Therefore, our goal in 2019 is to enhance the student experience and to make student housing more enjoyable and more affordable for all of you.
To achieve this we will be pooling our collective experiences of student housing as two international and two domestic students to provide advice and assistance. Our email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a> is always open for any queries or requests.
We have been working closely with the University Student Accommodation Centre and the Residential College representatives to further the living experience on and near campus.
There are also several events hosted by the SRC coming up this year with a seminar in first semester for students at university owned accommodation.
In the second semester we have a trivia and networking night, a great chance to eat free food, meet fellow students living near you, and win some great prizes.
If you’d like to know more about student housing at the University of Sydney or would like any help, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Looking forward to meet you all!
Brandon Hale, Grace Mieko Wang, Jacky He, and Shanshan Guo
The SRC Student Housing Department will be hosting a few key events at the end of this semester and at the beginning of next semester, all focused on helping students to seek affordable housing and networking with future roommates. We are currently in the process of applying a budget for the following activities listed and hopefully we will receive enough funding to carry out these events for our students.
30th of May 2018 – Student Housing Social Networking Night
Purpose: Helping students to network with and find future roommates and receive updates about the progress made by the student housing department in the first semester. This is a social event aims at forming a self-supporting network between students.
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Estimated Number of Attendee: 100 people
Venue: Hermann’s / Manning Bar
*Beverages will be provided for the networking night
Beginning of 2nd Semester – Student Housing Seminar
Topic: Regional Safety and Choosing the Optimum Student Housing
Brief: There are currently many students trying to seek for affordable and safe student housings. Yet many individuals or organisations are trying to taking advantage of these urgent student needs to make a profitable business. Single bedroom rentals in some parts of Sydney have even gone up to as high as 800 dollars a week – a ridiculous amount for any student who are trying to support themselves. Therefore, we want to provide students with the best advices on what to watch out for when choosing their optimum housing, so that they feel supported by the university.
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm (Date yet to be determined)
Estimated Number of Attendee: 100 people
Speakers: To be determined
Venue: Lecture Theatre / Large Seminar Room at Eastern Avenue or Law Building
*Catering will be available for attendees outside the venue after seminar
Brandon Hale, Jacky He, Shanshan Guo and Mieko Wang
Welcome students of 2018! This year’s student housing team aims to have a productive year to make student housing affordable and accessible for all students. We aim to achieve this goal through a wide range of events for students to learn about their housing options and interact with other students who are in or are looking for student housing, to foster a sense of community in the on-campus community. With a far more extensive budget to be created to fund such events, we promise that student money is put to good use in the benefit of students who can feel more welcome living on campus.
Being a diverse team of four housing officers with two of us being international students, we understand the importance of having a welcoming university experience. We also understand the financial difficulties of being able to live in student housing and because of this we believe the university administration needs to make student housing more affordable. We will fight for the student housing to be more affordable and we encourage students, even those not living in student housing to join us in this fight.
As a team that believes very strongly in getting things done we have a created a list of events and initiatives. Without further ado here below is our plans for this year:
28th of March 5 pm
Seminar on how to find affordable student housing
Speakers: NSW Police Force, Housing expert with over 15 years’ experience
Venue: To be announced
23rd or the 30th of May 6 pm
Student Housing Social Drinks
Venue: Hermann’s bar
Petition Signing – Held at Various Times throughout the Year
Main Times: 12th/26th March Union Day, 21st March National Day of Action, July/August O-Week, and various other major times during the year
It’s been a slow start to the year for the Student Housing department. We are working towards our 2017 goal of lobbying the university to introduce cheaper accommodation to students but it’s a complex issue, drenched in bureaucracy. Recent student housing news sees a slew of beds become available in Redfern with the Pemulwuy Project. This is a controversial decision that goes against the wishes of the indigenous community of Redfern who understood the project to focus on affordable housing for indigenous people. The Student Housing department stands in solidarity with them. It is also important to note that this newly proposed construction does nothing for students but saturate an already expensive market.
Justine Amin, Jenna Schroder and Llewellyn Williams-Brooks
SRC’s Student Housing Affordability portfolio and 180Degrees Consulting have started a collaborative project that will look to research how to ensure cheaper accommodation for a wider range of students in the University’s 2020 accommodation restructure. It’s slow work but will have results by the end of semester so as to ensure the SRC has the knowledge and abiltiy formally lobby the university from 2017 onwards.
Miller’s Point is classic Sydney-town. Today, it’s primarily made up of public tenants in state housing. For decades, it’s been home to a vibrant community with families that can trace a rich history back to the working-class homes of dockworkers and seamen.
And it’s under threat. The Baird State Government is intent on selling off the community housing in the area and handing over the ‘prime waterfront property’ to private hands and developers. While the state government claims it will reinvest the proceeds into public housing, there is no clear plan for such projects.
In the 1970s, the community was saved from similar sell-offs by the Green Bans of Jack Mundey’s Builder’s Labour Federation (BLF), where labourers refused to work on the proposed projects. Now, however, there are mainly the fierce residents and local supporters.
Why does this matter to students? Because the same process that fuels these sell-offs fuels rising rent prices around uni and shifty landlords packing a dozen international students into a four-bedroom townhouse. The inner city is becoming gentrified. The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy is a similar campaign for public housing and against private development.
The University will be building student accommodation—to the tune of 4000 beds. The fear is that they will make ‘financial’ decisions in light of local rent rates rather than ethical decisions for students. The challenge is to make them do right by us.
In a cramped townhouse a dozen students—mostly from overseas—study, eat, and sleep mere paces from each other. Some students have lived out of cars or in meth dens. Some live with homophobic parents or with abusive relatives or partners. Most students who live out of the family home live below the poverty line.
The majority of students who rent suffer from “rent stress”. A large proportion of their incomes vanishes with rent payments, leaving the pocket strained when it comes to budgeting for expensive textbooks, other semester expenses, or medical costs for students with disabilities, particularly those with chronic illnesses.
Add to that the increasing attacks on welfare by the Abbott government that threaten the Disability Support Pension, Youth Allowance, and HECS itself, and you have a picture of students beset on all sides by the fickle forces of rent prices, neoliberal government policy, and an increasingly casualised and underpaid job market.
In the face of this, Sydney University plans to develop up to 5000 beds over the next five years. The question is whether they will be affordable and meet the needs of students. The Student Housing Action Collective is being reignited in order to campaign for several simple goals:
a guaranteed percentage of affordable accommodation
inclusion of a temporary accommodation service for students who are temporarily homeless and dedicated crisis accommodation for more extreme cases
an approach to housing that recognises the unique issues facing wom*n, queers, people of colour, Aboriginal people, international students, and people with disabilities.
But starting a collective and a campaign from scratch is tough. If you want to get involved, join the Student Housing Action Collective FB group. You can be involved to any extent, from just giving your input to throwing your heart and soul into it.
Students' Representative Council, University of Sydney
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