A quiet month in December, as we approach the end of the year, one which I’m sure we’re all glad to see over. However here is hoping for a brighter 2021.
December has been spent tidying up loose ends from the year, ensuring that the organisation and students are appropriately looked after over the closure, and getting ready for a few new projects and initiatives in the new year.
Standardized Submission Times
The end of the year has probably not been the best time to start a new project, however I’ve begun communicating with Student Academic Services on how we could potentially implement a university wide standard submission time and consistent penalties across the Academic Units for late submissions. I will update the board on this project as it continues.
Student Hardship Fund
The Student Hardship fund is remaining in operation over the course of summer in a reduced capacity. As we still have many international students stuck in Australia, and some of our domestic cohort still doing it tough, it is imperative that we still provide them with the ability to seek assistance if needed. This in conjunction with the USASA Financial Counselling program, and the various activities and initiatives planned over the summer, should keep students well supported.
Going forward, there is a view that the SHF should be wound down and the focus put onto the USASA Financial Counselling service, with the view to push for more financial literacy supports instead of straight cash handouts. Whilst I agree with this approach in some ways, it is my view that we will need to be cautious that we do not remove this program too quickly, and that there is still an ability for students to access support if they require it.
Likewise, I have been suggesting to the uni that there is some form of permanent hardship fund established. This was a discussion that began back in January of this year after we had students affected by the bushfires, and then evolved into the SHF after the advent of COVID.
Academic Student Representative Program
December presented a few positives and negatives for our hopeful uni wide ASR Program. After speaking with numerous areas of University management, the answer on the ASR program seems to be a no in the current financial climate. However, in saying that, we have now begun working with units who wish to implement training such as University Online (UO).
Whilst this earlier part is not great news, we will still be pushing for there to eventually be an increased, standardised, and USASA Managed ASR program across the university.
NUS National Conference
The National Union of Students National Conference was held from the 9th to the 11th of December in an online format, a whole shift away from previous conferences which have been held physically in Victoria. The conference went exceptionally well and was completed in record time of 2 days.
A new change from the conference which will affect USASA is that the position of UniSA Campus Representative has been abolished, and in its stead, the President of the affiliated body will be the representative to the NUS from the campus. Functionally this is how the NUS has previously operated.
I have also had the privilege of being elected the State Branch President of the National Union of Students. 2020 has proven the need for a strong, united and relevant NUS, and I look forward to continuing to build the relationship between USASA and the NUS that was developed over the course of the year.
There was also a lot of great policy put forward by UniSA Delegates, and I would like to acknowledge your great contributions to the conference and the Union.
|1st||Student Appeals Committee|
|3rd||USASA Support Services Planning Retreat|
|7th||CEO/Presidents Meeting Grant Assessment Panel|
|9th||NUS National Conference|
|10th||NUS National Conference|
|11th||Meeting Pro Vice Chancellor Student Equity and Engagement |
Student Hardship Fund Steering Group Meeting
|15th||Meeting w University Online |
Meeting w USASA Advisors
Mount Gambier Rep Handover
USASA Board Meeting
|18th||Meeting Chief Academic Services Officer|