By now you’ve hopefully had a chance to settle in to the rhythm of university life, or perhaps you’re counting the days until semester break? Whatever the case, always remember you can mix it up a bit by getting involved with RUSU. When my team and I were elected to represent you, it wasn’t just because we had experience and enthusiasm. We offered relevant and realistic ambitions, and we are delivering. Allow me to give you a quick rundown on just some of the things we’ve been up to so far.
We’ve joined the fight for transport concession for international students in Victoria, and we’re operating free weekly English language workshops. Many students work part-time jobs, so we’re supporting national campaigns to improve pay conditions for junior employees (under 21) and protect penalty rates. We’ve also thrown our support behind the National Union Of Students’ education campaign and national day of action, opposing funding cuts, fee increases, and the slashing of student representation across Victoria and Australia. We’ve secured the continuation of both the welfare drop-in centre (Compass) and the free Furniture Cage program – two extremely important services offered by your student union. In addition, RUSU’s volunteer program has had a complete overhaul and is now offering even more opportunities for students to get involved on campus, make new friends, and learn new skills.
Out at Bundoora, we’re running bigger and better weekly events on the West campus, and finally bringing some life to the Bundoora East campus with the establishment of a student lounge well under way. For Brunswick students, we’re improving the presence of student clubs with the introduction of our new staff position on campus to support you. We’ve also heard you want student lockers, so we’re working on bringing you those, too! Naturally, we’re bringing you awesome weekly events with entertainment and free food, as well as locally brewed beverages to enjoy.
The Womyn’s Department has a new lease on life, not only reinstating the Womyn’s Room at Bundoora but expanding it! In addition, we’ve had a huge influx of collective members signing up to get involved, and our City and Carlton rooms are alive once again. Our Queer Department is as active as ever, building on last year’s variety of successful weekly events and activities, as well as wider campaigns and raising awareness on campus.
This semester we’ve already smashed out two huge weeks of orientation activities with the pre-semester welcome days and clubs week, and the incredibly successful welcome party. If you missed any of the action, or want to get involved with RUSU or a club, check out the website (su.rmit.edu.au) or drop by our front counter on your campus. Be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming ‘Re-Orientation’ after Easter, where we’ll be doing it all again – but bigger! It’s not all fun and games, though. Behind the scenes, our final amendments to the new assessment policies suite went before Academic Board at the start of March. After a six-month long battle, we have successfully secured a number of significant amendments to the policies and procedures for assessment at RMIT – a huge win for every student of this University.
It takes a lot of expertise and careful consideration to write policy, and for the most part RMIT has done a good job. However, we’re all human, and it’s easy to make mistakes. Unfortunately, some people are better at admitting their mistakes than others. Although our issues with the new policies were raised from the beginning of the process – when they were drafted by the Policy and Programs Committee – it wasn’t until the final approval stage at Academic Board that our concerns were acknowledged.
For a board that usually rubber-stamps policy produced by its standing committees, it was a big deal for students to stand up and raise serious questions. Our hope within the Student Union is that this experience has not just improved assessment policy for the students of RMIT, but that future advice given by students on policy falls on more attentive ears. For more information on this campaign, and a detailed explanation of the amendments, head to our website (su.rmit.edu.au/fair-assessment).
Looking ahead, we will be focusing our attention to on-campus services and facilities, as well as our amazing and ever-expanding volunteer program. Of course, we will continue to run a variety of campaigns on issues affecting students like ‘Your Rights at Work’, safety on campus, housing support, and more. If you’ve got a question about anything RUSU, want to offer some feedback, or would like to get involved, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] – or check out our website for more info (su.rmit.edu.au). And remember to join your Student Union for just $10 to get all the added benefits of membership.
Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!