Glass invited all candidates to submit a statement about why they’re running in the Guild elections and why you should vote for them. This statement is being published as received from the candidate.
Hi, my name is Aaron. I am a PhD student doing research in the field of polymer chemistry and materials science and I am running for the position of President of the Guild. I am the current Postgrad Officer at the Guild and I was previous the Vice-President of the Science and Engineering Faculty (SEF) HDR Society. During my time as Postgrad Officer as well as VP of the SEF HDR Society, I was fortunate to meet many senior leaders and stakeholders in the university. My time on the University Equity Committee has given me insight into as well as oversight of the workings of university departments and divisions that are particularly of interest to students.
One of my achievements was the establishment of a system that would help incoming international HDR students who can arrive at any time throughout the year making it harder if not impossible for them to attend orientation events. This was done in collaboration with QRSnet’s Peer Leader Group. All year, I have been a passionate advocate for the alignment of the two different research scholarships that are offered at QUT (When Dollars Diminish Dreams: The Undeniable Impact of Cost of Living on PhD Students). Even though after raising this issue at the QUT Senior Leadership Forum, the University Academic Board and submitting proposals to the Research Degrees Committee, my advocacy in this case has not been successful. However, throughout my undergrad and master’s degree abroad I have acquired resilience and perseverance and I will continue to be determined to fight for what is right.
Nothing is ever perfect. This applies to me, it applies to my team, and it applies to the Guild. I will always strive to improve and optimize myself as well as our student union. Many university students feel like they have no power or say in what their union does. During my term next year, I will work with all Guild stakeholders and aim to fix this issue. Monthly townhall meetings will allow students to address their problems in an informal manner rather than in the formal constraints of Council meetings. This will also give students the chance to let us know what they want their Guild to do for them. My team and I want our student union to be approachable, transparent and focused on you, the students.
As someone who has gone through all stages of student life and had a multicultural upbringing (I was born and raised in Germany by Vietnamese parents), I am well equipped to represent domestic, international, and diverse cohorts of students and understand their needs and the problems they face. For example: As an international student who came to Australia almost three years ago during COVID, I am well aware of how difficult the past few years have been on students. Starting with the COVID-19 health crisis, our generation was in unchartered territory navigating academic life through recurring lockdowns and the uncertainty of our future. Once that had settled, we found ourselves in the midst of one of the worst cost-of-living crises to date. Cost-of-living pressures continue to burden students. As president, I devote myself to helping students to ease these pressures wherever and whenever I can. What my team and I want for our student union is what I want to be as president too: approachable, transparent and focused on you.
A vote for me and for REFORM is a vote for an approachable, transparent union that is focused on students. For more student involvement and student engagement. Giving the power back to students.