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What degree are you undertaking?
Bachelor of Social Science/Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
What made you want to run in the 2022 UNSA election?
Having been an active member of UNSA for the past two years in a VP role and an avid volunteer in the community, I have had the opportunity to hear from the student body and represent them as I go. I have loved the welfare portfolio, but this year in particular has shown me that I am capable of doing more, and that my skills and experience are more closely aligned to the role of President. I also have many ideas that I hope to bring into the 2022 year including safety and security policy, self-defence workshops for students, and increasing the accessible spaces on our campuses like mental health and sensory safe rooms and survival stations.
What about the position you applied for appealed to you?
I have really enjoyed my time so far as UNSA’s Vice-President of Welfare & Wellbeing, where I have had the opportunity to chair meetings, create and oversee new initiatives, hang out with students, and learn from the diverse communities here at UON. A lot of my role so far has been student facing and on-the-ground work, but the President’s role is one that focuses on governance, policy and advocacy at a diverse stakeholder level. I thoroughly enjoy stakeholder management and negotiation as well as governance adherence (snooze fest, I know) so my interest, coupled with my ongoing passion for people and community, drove me to the role of President.
Why do you think it’s important for students to get involved in leadership roles, societies and clubs, and engagement events?
I think this is a two-fold answer;
Firstly, I am a proud first-in-family student, who comes from a single parent household in regional NSW. My mum is disabled and has only ever encouraged me to seize the day! As you can imagine, I don’t meet a lot of kids like me at Uni and, as a result, it can be easy to fall through the gaps. Using your voice, representing your peers and community in leadership roles, and building your skills helps to reduce that gap and it is truly an empowering experience—that’s why it’s so important.
Secondly, involvement in clubs, societies, and engagement events are fantastic ways to meet people, create memories and learn in pressure-free environments, learn new skills, and develop interests. Definitely recommend!
Who is a leader you admire and why?
If we’re talking real life, Jacinda Adern (New Zealand’s Prime Minister) because she is a fantastic example of a representative who leads her country with the elegance of a ballerina and the strength of a linebacker. If we’re speaking fictional, Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird.
How do you manage conflicts or deal with problems?
Conflicts and managing problems are two incredibly important aspects of leadership. Notably, this is an area that I am very comfortable with as I have considerable experience both professionally and academically in dispute resolution and management. Personally, I believe that empathy and an ability to assess a situation holistically is what truly deescalates tension and leads to positive outcomes. Taking the time to understand how we got here, what it is that the relevant parties are in actual disagreement about (for example) and providing an opportunity to work together to solve the issue, a sort of buy in system if you will, are all key aspects of conflict management for me.
What are your interests at university and outside of university that make you a great candidate?
I would describe myself as a budding humanitarian so most of my life and my interests both at university and outside of it are largely volunteer and welfare related. For example, I recently co-created a learning module with UON and the UN Training Centre to promote Pathway opportunities for students, and I also volunteer as a Peer Mentor and assist at the UON Legal Clinic. My passion for people and commitment to my community, I believe, make me a great presidential candidate and someone that you know is consistent in their commitment to you. The strong relationships that I have with UON staff, students and knowledge of University processes are key to a successful presidency.
What’s one issue you would bring to light, or one student engagement activity you would pitch, as a student leader?
I don’t think there is enough consideration had as to the issues faced by, and priorities of, both International students and the Residences. I believe a lot of people have dropped the ball when it comes to supporting and actually hearing them, and I would like to address this appropriately. One of the main ways I hope to do this is by addressing the obvious safety and security issues associated with on campus living (walking 1km to the library), the lack of funding and support resources for international students and the current availability status of student services support like AccessAbility.
What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?
As long as you keep showing up and doing your best on the day, you’ve done enough—it’s okay to not do it all at once.
Tell us an interesting fact we should know about you:
I have a tattoo of Pingu on my left arm—pretty cool right? Not trying to brag, but it also received a UON Love Letter.
Finally, why should students vote for you?
Aside from the fact that I will show you my Pingu tattoo if you ask, I believe that I have not only the skills and experience necessary to fulfil the duties of the President, but I also have the passion and legitimate interest to advance the student experience.
The answers above reflect the unedited opinions of the running candidates. These attitudes do not necessarily reflect the values of UNSA, Opus, or the University of Newcastle as a whole. We wish all the candidates the best of luck and ask all readers to use their vote wisely. Not all candidates listed may appear on your election ballot if they have not fulfilled all pre-election criteria set by the University of Newcastle.