May President’s Report

Hey everyone! May was an amazing month and I was able to get right back into the swing of things after recovering from surgery! Special shout-out to my Vice President Louise Kyriaki for all her help and support! 

Always remember I’m just an email away – Kayla.Dickeson@unisa.edu.au

Late April – National “Students as Partners” Workshop at the University of Technology Sydney

On the 28th of April I travelled to Sydney with USASA General Manager Daniel Randell and Pro Vice Chancellor Student Equity and Engagement Dr Laura-Anne Bull to attend the “Students as Partners” workshop, a national initiative being led by Dr Sally Varnham of UTS to investigate student representation at universities across Australia. She is currently running a series of workshops across Australia with students and staff to scope out the level of student representation at each university, what opportunities universities should be providing to students, and the challenges and barriers to student partnership in Australian universities. It was great to hear about the initiatives student leaders around the country are rolling out for student representation, how we as students think universities can better listen and engage with our voice, and to discuss the challenges to the “Students as Partners” concept.

May 1

Women’s Committee Meeting

  • The Women’s Committee expanded its membership to include the UniSA Rainbow Club and the Women’s Collective. We discussed final plans for our consent stall at Unitopia and we started plans for an event during Bluestockings Week.

Board Meeting

  • I was approved to attend the Network of Women Students Australia Conference and have since received a full scholarship from the conference organisers! I am keen to build on the skills I have and to bring them back to UniSA students, particularly as it is an important year with the release of the Human Rights Commission survey, and the building work on-campus from students wanting to establish a Sexual Violence Action Group
  • The new Education and Welfare Committees have now been established with our respective conveners Ryan Colsey and Han Nguyen. I know they will do amazing work. I am excited for these committees to get up and running, with important initiatives surrounding student representation and welfare planned for both.
  • The USASA Board approved our Student Services and Amenities Fees awareness stalls which will be rolled out across all campuses. I have been busy organising the stalls and materials for each campus. Students at Australian universities contribute to the Student Services and Amenities Fee, which is a key funding source for student support at university. In 2016, a full-time UniSA student paid a maximum of $290 towards SSAF. Total revenue collected for SSAF was $5.37 million. USASA’s proportion of SSAF funding was $1.5 million. The 2016 SSAF report shows that just 12% of students completed the SSAF survey. The SSAF survey is the main vehicle for student feedback into the support services they’d like to see. In order for students to have greater feedback into student support and meaningful contribution to what the university does with the SSAF money students spend, students should have greater awareness about what SSAF is, how it is spent, and how they’d like it to be spent.
  • We have appointed our new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Representative Jordan-Leigh Graeber, who I know will do amazing work this year! Welcome to the USASA Board and looking forward to working with you.
  • The USASA Board approved funding and resources for the Women’s Committee Unitopia stalls to raise awareness about consent. Special shout out to Louise Kyriaki for all her hard-work and effort in getting the stalls up and running.
  • USASA affirmed its support for the National Union of Students campaign Your Rights at Work, Uni & Home. I am looking forward to seeing how Mawson Lakes Representative Jordan Mumford will bring the campaign to our students across our campuses.

May 2 – DAPAG

  • Divisional Academic Program Approval Group for the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences to discuss course amendments and recommendations from School Boards in EASS

May 3 – Student Protest + Policy Review

  • I joined student protests at Adelaide University to protest Hon. Julie Bishop receiving a doctorate just days after the budget announcements that spelled proposals of $2.8bn in university funding cuts, fee increases of 7.5% or $3,600 more, and the lowering of the HECS repayment threshold from $55,000 to $42,000.
  • The first Policy Review meeting was held for the policy review into UniSA’s sexual harassment and assault policies. We discussed the Terms of Reference for the committee, the mapping of policies and planned a schedule for the year.

May 4 – Another student protest + Education Committee

  • In the morning, I joined protesters at Hon. Simon Birmingham’s Office to remind him of his student union campaign against cuts to education and for a safe university environment.
  • In the afternoon, I met with the Head of School of Architecture to discuss USASA’s plans for an Education Committee, and to interview them about student representation in the School of Architecture.

May 5 – Whyalla Graduation Ceremony

  • I travelled to Whyalla to see Whyalla students graduate. I got to once again don the academic robes and see off some 40 students in their graduation. I wish my utmost congratulations and best wishes to all graduating students. I also used the trip as an opportunity to discuss with UniSA senior management their response to the budget announcements, the majority of whom were opposed to the announcements.

May 6 – Unitopia shopping and President/Vice-President Catch-Up

  • Confirmed all supplies and had a fabulous catch-up with the Vice-President.

May 8 – Education Committee induction, Unitopia working bee + ATSI induction

  • Had a meeting with Student Support Officer Bridget Laffy and Magill Representative + new Education Committee Convener Ryan Colsey to provide a committee induction and map out plans for the Education Committee
  • Spent time organising boxes and flyers for the Unitopia stall
  • Induction with Jordan-Leigh Graeber for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander role

May 9 – Unitopia + Federal Budget Release

unitopia CW

  • I attended the first Unitopia day at City West and helped out at the Women’s Committee tea stall. We provided free tea and discussed the idea of consent and relationships and how that relates to tea. You can watch the Youtube video we showed here. We also ran a petition for women’s spaces at UniSA which you can sign here.
  • The May 9 Budget was released which spelled harsh welfare cuts and attacks on education. You can view my media release here.

May 10 – City East Unitopia

city east

Day 2 at Unitopia was amazing at City East! We served so much free tea that we ran out of water. It was great talking to students about the concept of consent, the Human Rights Commission report to be released on August 1, and promoting the planned rallies for university funding at the May 17 National Day of Action.

I was unable to attend a meeting into the external review for Student and Academic Services due to Unitopia, but I have been working on a report to provide to the review.

May 11 – ASR program + School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Bluestockings Week and EAN!

  • I caught up with Claire Colebeck at Magill, the Program Coordinator of the Academic Student Representative (ASR) Program in EASS to chat to her about our newly established Education Committee and to plan a student catch-up with the ASRs.
  • Next I headed to City West to interview Craig Williams from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences about their student representation. I found that while there is a level of student representation in their postgraduate programs, there seems to be lacking an equivalent in the undergraduate program.
  • I met with SRSO Bridget Laffy and Clubs Support Officer Tegan Jardine to discuss the grant that the USASA Women’s Committee hopes to put in for Bluestockings Week. The committee has been working hard to pull off a panel session and networking event for August.
  • At the state Education Action Networking meeting we planned our building work for promoting the May 17 protest in the days leading up to the protest.

May 12 – Women’s Collective, Board KPIs + Policy Review

  • I met with a Women’s Collective member to provide advice on an activation they are planning for second semester. Marketing Officer Surahbi Shubraj has been doing amazing work with her online campaign #LookBeyondLooks to promote sexual rights. You can view her campaign here.
  • Caught up with SRSO Bridget Laffy to map out support for the Board Members.
  • End Rape On Campus Founder Sharna Bremner interviewed me about UniSA sexual assault and harassment policies and support services. I have been working hard to provide a more comprehensive report to provide to the recommendations.

May 15 – KPI meetings + promoting the NDA

  • KPI meetings with Jordan Mumford and Ryan Colsey to map out their plans for the remainder of the year.
  • Leafleting at Magill to promote the May 17 student protest.

May 16 – Unitopia at Mawson Lakes + LEAD Program

18527656_243879172682917_6642151059460124493_n

  • Another amazing Unitopia day! It was great to talk to students about USASA, consent and funding for support services. I also tested out the health check-up, free massage, made my own plant + tried some of Bob’s Bowls power bowls (to make sure our students are getting the best, of course!)
  • I’ve been accepted into the UniSA+ LEAD program and we had our first session to map out our projects and what we want to gain from the program.

May 17 – National Day of Action

protest

  • 200 students protested the Federal Governments proposed budget in South Australia on May 17; joined by thousands of students across the country. Students said no to $2.8 billion cuts to University funding; no to a $3,600 increase in fees; no to lowering the HECS repayment threshold to $42,000; no to ‘random’ drug-testing on welfare recipients; no to attacks on Centrelink and penalty rates.

May 18 – Catch-up with Pro VC + City West USASA Counter

  • I caught up with the Pro VC of Student Equity and Engagement Dr Laura-Anne. We discussed plans for a student representation framework at UniSA, the Policy Review, autonomous spaces at UniSA + the SSAF survey.
  • I spent the day at the City West USASA Counter. It was a slow day for students, but I learnt how to process second-hand textbooks, UniSA merchandise + bookings for student clubs.

May 19 – Student Appeals and + Learning Advisors

  • I spent the morning at Magill for an Academic Review appeals process in the school of EASS.
  • In the afternoon I represented USASA for a jobs panel shortlisting for a new Learning Advisor at UniSA. I learned more about the role of Learning Advisors, what the university looks for, and was able to provide my input into Learning Advisors from a student perspective. I also learned about the Study Help Pals project that the Learning Advisors are pioneering and scored USASA’s involvement with it.
  • Special Events and Marketing committee to discuss the Bluestockings Week proposal. We went over budgeting for the event, additional requirements needed and marketing plans. Special shout out to the amazing work and feedback from the USASA Events and Marketing team. I would be completely lost without them!

May 23 – Academic Reviews and Campus Counters

  • I spent the day at Magill. In the morning I attended an Academic Review to represent USASA, and then I spent the day at the USASA Magill Counter talking to students and helping them with their inquiries.

May 24 – Committee meetings and workshops

  • I began the day at the newly established USASA Education Committee. We mapped out plans for the year. Our goal is for the committee to engage with student representatives from each school at UniSA, an area USASA has previously not provided much connection to. It builds on our work in mapping out student representation across UniSA. We hope to build a connection so student representatives have a direct feedback into USASA, who can bring student issues to forums such as Academic Board and University Council; while also being able to provide a shared connection of academic issues within each school at the University. The Committee will be the main forum to bring recommendations of academic policy and issues to the Board. It will also work towards building a student representation framework to be able to bring to the Office of Student Equity and Engagement.
  • My second meeting of the day was the Clubs Committee meeting. We are endeavouring to provide more support for our clubs by expanding on clubs policy and regulations; support from external providers; and working towards a strategic plan for USASA clubs, which is all very exciting!
  • I whipped over to Adelaide Uni and attended Dr Sally Varnham’s “Students as Partners” workshop, Adelaide version, alongside my fabulous “teamwork makes the dream work” USASA team + representatives from the Flinders and Adelaide SRCs. We discussed University Council and the challenges of student representation on high-level University bodies, student engagement and student projects around education.
  • Next up was the Governance and Legislation Committee meeting. G&L is a sub-committee of University Council, and it was particularly enlightening to attend the meeting fresh out of the “Students as Partners” workshop. I was able to apply some of the ideas from the workshop immediately into the committee meeting.
  • In my last official meeting of the day, I represented USASA in a shortlisting session for a job recruitment panel for the position of Manager: Counselling in the Student Engagement Unit. I was able to provide my feedback into who I thought the best candidates were from a student perspective.

May 25 – Academic Student Representatives and Magill Campus

  • I was able to give a presentation to the Academic Student Representatives about USASA and the Education Committee. Thank you to Claire Colebeck for organising! I also chatted to the ASRs about their roles and experiences, while we had a nice morning tea.
  • I spent the majority of the day at the USASA Magill Counter talking to students about Brekky Bar, joined by the Magill Representative Ryan Colsey.
  • In the afternoon I met with the Manger: Wellbeing, the Magill Equity Contact and a Social Work Student to discuss the formation of a student-led Sexual Violence Action Group. I updated them on the work USASA has been doing in this space for the past year, the work of the Policy Review group, and we mapped out plans for an education campaign around sexual violence in SP5 and response to the August 1 Human Rights Commission report.
  • Finance Committee Meeting – discussed USASA budget plans.

May 26 – Academic Board

  • USASA Board Members received a debrief about the budget impacts on UniSA and resolved to submit a response to the Budget Senate Inquiry. I gave a speech in response to the Federal Budget release.

It’s been a pretty hectic month to say the least, but I love what I’m doing and hope that I’m representing UniSA students to the best of my ability!

Planned activities

May 29

  • SRSO + GM catch-up
  • Meeting with Education School Senior Executive about student representation
  • USASA City East Counter

May 30

  • Learning Advisor Interviews
  • SSAF awareness stall at City West 1-3pm in the student lounge, see you there!
  • Student Appeals Committee Meeting
  • LEAD program sessions

May 31

  • City East SSAF awareness stall in the student lounge, 9-11am, see you there!
  • Welfare Committee Meeting

June 1

  • City East Brekky Bar
  • Unitopia Event De-Brief
  • Women’s Social Action Group against Sexual Violence

June 5

  • Manager: Counselling Interviews
  • Governance Committee Meeting
  • USASA Board Meeting

June 6

  • DAPAG meeting
  • Mawson Lakes SSAF stall

June 7

  • Magill SSAF stall
  • Business School DPRC meeting

June 8

  • Mount Gambier SSAF day

June 13

  • Business School Teaching and Learning Committee Meeting

June 15

  • Women’s Social Action Group against Sexual Violence

June 19

  • Policy Review Working Group

June 21 

Whyalla BBQ + SSAF day

June 23

  • Academic Board Meeting

June 29

  • Women’s Social Action Group against Sexual Violence
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