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What degree are you undertaking? 
Law/Arts with a History major.

What made you want to run in the 2022 UNSA election? 

I got to know UNSA a bit when we organised against the appointment of Whitehaven Coal Chairman Mark Vaile to our Chancellor position, and I was encouraged to nominate by some friends. But basically, I like making things happen, and there’s plenty going on at this uni that could be fixed up or improved.

What about the position you applied for appealed to you? 
I was present at the consultation sessions UNSA ran about the uni restructure last semester, and it’s clear that the executive considers actual students a bit of a footnote to their policies. I know there are plenty of complaints students have about the way their courses are being run, and the way they’re changing. I’ve got some ideas about how to act on those complaints. The VP Educationposition would make it my responsibility.

Why do you think it’s important for students to get involved in leadership roles, societies and clubs, and engagement events?
Well, our organisations run on student drive. The more each person puts in, the better we all get back. You don’t have to be super close to everyone, or super involved with an organisation, to enjoy the benefits of that community, and to contribute yourself. That big web of small interactions is really what counts. The leadership roles just help facilitate that, and if you’ve got ideas and drive, you should get stuck in. I restarted the Chess Club at the beginning of this year and though we’ve been hit hard by the lockdowns it’s been very worthwhile building that community.

Who is a leader you admire and why?
That’s a tough question. The sort of leadership I’ve come into contact with most is through local activist work, just everyday folks taking initiative and engaging in really collaborative ways. That sort of leadership is fluid, gets shared around, and is about helping others achieve a common goal, rather than “leading” anything per se. I’ve been lucky getting to know people in Newcastle and elsewhere who have that energy and quiet charisma. 

How do you manage conflicts or deal with problems?
Everyone has non-negotiable boundaries, and those need to be established and respected. Once those boundaries have been identified, and you consider people’s positions and capabilities, you’re left with grounds for compromise and can figure how best to work through an issue. It’s always more difficult to see things right when you’re involved yourself, so I find it essential to be very deliberate about empathising with the other party, otherwise you won’t achieve a productive result. And if it genuinely isn’t working, it’s ok to cut your losses and walk away.

What are your interests at university and outside of university that make you a great candidate? 
Well, I think what makes me a good candidate is that I’ve got some ideas I’d like to implement to improve UNSA. I wouldn’t be running without a clear goal. I restarted the Chess Club because I wanted it to exist!

What’s one issue you would bring to light, or one student engagement activity you would pitch, as a student leader?
So, I’m particularly keen to establish a complaints process for UNSA. The official complaints protocol for the uni can be really complex and intimidating—often you just want to note something down, or be treated fairly in the first place, rather than try to fix a whole problem yourself. If UNSA had a complaints form, we could keep track of where the chronic issues are, provide support for people who want to pursue that official complaint, and advocate on behalf of the whole student body much more effectively. It could have options for levels of anonymity, let you tell us your desired outcome, and direct you to external resources depending on your situation. I’ve seen concerns voiced on the UON Hate Letters page, those big school group chats, and from friends unsure about how to advocate for themselves. UNSA needs to step up and become more approachable and engaged. I’m keen to help that happen.

What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?
Take off that rope bracelet, it’s been three years. Jesus.

Tell us an interesting fact we should know about you: 
I escaped a mugging at a warehouse charity gig by running away. Remember, it’s ok to cut your losses and dip…

Finally, why should students vote for you?
I’ve got a clear goal by which students can judge my performance, I’ve had experience running a student organisation, I believe wholeheartedly in collaboration and community-building, and I’m going to be very hands-on. UNSA is your organisation, let’s make it work for you.


Disclaimer: 
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.