From the President’s Desk

We’re now well into the second quarter of 2013, and certainly have some momentum going! We’ve had a huge first semester, most recently supporting the National Union of Students’ campaign against Federal funding cuts to higher education, with a day of action on May 14 to coincide with the federal budget

The announced cuts will result in millions of dollars less funding going in to student administration, teaching and learning at RMIT in 2014 and 2015

Read more about these cuts and the effect they’ll have on your studies at our website

On a brighter note, our Womyn’s Department continues to flourish across all campuses

Just gone, events were held across RMIT for ‘Blue Stockings Week’, a week that focuses on womens’ intellectualism, advancing feminism through education, and rebelling against social constructs that prescribe roles for women

The middle of this magazine for more info on the department

The Queer Department continues to thrive, and will be sending numerous students to the Queer Collaborations conference in the semester break

The conference, this year held in Sydney, focuses on bringing people together from across Australia to discuss issues that impact queer-identifying people and the queer community

If you’d like to learn more or get involved with the Queer Department, visit the website or drop in to the queer lounge on your campus – there’s always events happening!

This quarter will see us hold our Annual General Meeting

After elections, it’s the most formal and important part of being a representative organisation

We present audited financial reports on the student union’s operations for the past year (2012-13) as well as a report on general activities of the Student Union and any proposed changes to our constitution

Of course, such information is always available to students upon request, so students can be sure we’re operating honestly and effectively

Grants to affiliate student clubs offered by RUSU have recently been revised and simplified to better reflect RUSU’s principles of fairness and equity

It is hoped that the new system will deliver a fairer system that reduces workload for both club executives and RUSU staff

We will continue to closely monitor the implementation of this new system and review as necessary

More events targeting TAFE students are being held, with frequent free lunches and outreach stalls in Carlton and Brunswick spaces

In second semester, we plan to bring you industry-focussed events that will educate and support students in their understanding of their target industry

Keep your eyes on our noticeboards and follow us on Facebook or Twitter to make sure you don’t miss them!

Our much anticipated Higher Degree by Research Forum was a huge success, attracting over 40 postgraduate students to engage with our panel which included CAPA President, Meghan Hopper, as well as academics and staff from RMIT

A newly established association now exists under RUSU’s RMIT Postgraduate Association (RPA), specifically for HDR students

You can find out more about the Higher Degree by Research Association (HDRA)

The new policies also go some way toward acknowledging mental health issues and developing processes that support affected students

As always, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and there are serious issues to resolve still, particularly in relation to policies relating to ‘fitness for study’, but we are hopeful

This semester will also see the discussions around 2014 Student Services and Ameneties Fee (SSAF) expenditure begin, so be sure to listen out for any announcements with regards to that

Thankfully, RMIT has taken RUSU’s advice and will be conducting much more thorough consultation with students this year to get a better understanding of where students want to see their money spent

Be sure to take the time to fill in any surveys and give your feedback when asked – it’s your money!

And as the weeks before exams become days before exams, RUSU will again be out and about helping relieve some of that university anxiety

We’ll have stalls with refreshments, relief and support during the last week of study, which we like to call Stress Less Week

Of course, in the lead up to exams, we will also be announcing our next major party! Our end-of-exams parties are always a blast and just what you need to get yourself pumped back up for the semester break

As always, remember to grab yourself a $10 membership so you can enjoy all the extra perks RUSU has to offer including giveaways, parties, and our fortnightly newsletter

James Michelmore

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Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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