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What degree are you undertaking? 
Bachelor of Arts – Politics and International Relations Major

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

I have a deep affection for community. My time at university has provided me with a vast range of opportunities to engage with community and to learn, grow as a human, and expand my world views.  Because of this, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to give back and to help make the university experience the best it can possibly be.

What about the position you applied for appealed to you? 
The best experiences I’ve had at uni have been outside of the classroom, engaging with other students and activities as well as getting involved in clubs and sports, which have been incredibly enriching. Throughout my time working across the university libraries, I have also been granted a unique insight into the struggles that students deal with, both day to day and long term. It is because of this that I am running for Vice President of Engagement and Experience, as I really want to build upon the fantastic opportunities that I’ve had, but to also take on the responsibility of tackling the challenges students face head on.

Why do you think it’s important for students to get involved in leadership roles, societies and clubs, and engagement events?
I’ve always found that you never know what opportunities will present themselves to you once you start saying ‘yes’. Like a spider’s web, once you say yes to an opportunity, several more tend to spring from that, and more from them, then more, and more, and more. Getting involved in clubs, societies, leadership roles, etc, are a perfect way to lay a foundation for positive, life changing events further down the track that you could never have seen coming.

Who is a leader you admire and why?
One of my greatest privileges so far has been to travel as a delegate to the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Thailand, a collaborative effort between Humanitarian Affairs Asia and the United Nations. At this symposium, I was fortunate enough to hear from the founder of Sunrise Cambodia, Geraldine Cox. Geraldine, an Australian expat, originally working for the Department of Foreign Affairs, founded Sunrise Cambodia to care for children orphaned by the Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian civil war. I have never in my life witnessed someone with such passion for the work that they do—someone who chose not to flee during the civil war, but to stay and care for the most vulnerable. She continues her work in Cambodia to this day.


How do you manage conflicts or deal with problems?
Being able to listen to other people and build rapport is the most important thing in managing conflicts.  When you feel like you’re being listened to and understood, you’re always more open to working towards reaching a solution.

What are your interests at university and outside of university that make you a great candidate?
As mentioned before, my passion is community.  I consistently jump at the chance to be involved in anything that benefits my community, whether that be inside or outside university. I originally discovered this passion as a much younger person when myself and a group of friends organised community action in support of a refugee resettlement program in my hometown of Tamworth. More recently, that has extended to volunteering with Reach Homeless Services, advocating for the UN’s sustainable development goals, and running UON United Nations Society’s Model UN Assemblies.

What’s one issue you would bring to light, or one student engagement activity you would pitch, as a student leader?
A major issue I would address is student homelessness. This has always been an issue, but with the increased pressure on housing affordability, and the social effects of a global pandemic, the problem has been exacerbated. I want to work with the University and various community stakeholders to help students have greater access to accommodation and support resources.

What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?
Relax and take your time.  Don’t let setbacks dishearten you.  The most successful people in the world are those that have also failed the most but didn’t quit.

Tell us an interesting fact we should know about you:
Back when I was originally learning to surf, there was one session when my friends and I realised we’d been sharing the waves with a 2 metre Great White. He seemed cool though, just wanted to hang out.

Finally, why should students vote for you?
When it comes to community, particularly the students of our university, I am passionate about creating the best experience possible. I want to help foster a landscape for students that builds upon the work that has come before me in making the university experience outside of the classroom as engaging as possible. As well as working towards making this experience as rewarding and fun as it can be, I will also take on addressing the serious challenges that many people face during their time at university, such as access to housing and resources, improving the experience for those from refugee backgrounds, and ensuring students feel safe on campus.
 

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.