You, as members of the Guild, elect a group of executive each year, and you deserve to hold those executive to account. Each month, from April until the end of our elected term, we will be hosting a catchup to let you know what’s happening with the QUT Guild Executive on the Glass website. This is to work on accountability and setting a high standard for what your executive should be achieving during their terms. Let’s dive in:
Environment | Seren Wyatt and Hannah Smith
University campuses may have temporarily stopped, but your Environment Officers haven’t. Unfortunately like many others, our plans for this year have been affected by COVID-19, so our plans for Meat Free Monday have been postponed for now. However, we have still been working hard to offer QUT students support to be sustainable, both at home and as we return to university. From working with clubs to grow the Guild’s Shared Resources Shed, to creating an Instagram page (@environment.qutguild) full of sustainability tips, facts, recipes, and more, we haven’t stopped! We are also working on releasing an e-book to help students make eco-friendly changes to their life on a student lifestyle and budget.
Women | Alicia Tonio
The world has rapidly changed in the past few months, and my initiatives have had to adapt. As the Women’s Officer I shifted my focus to support individuals experiencing abuse and violence, especially now that they may be trapped in a toxic environment during quarantine periods. This included collating a comprehensive list of Domestic Violence resources, and a guide for supporting those experiencing abuse.
My new initiative is Quarantine Buddies. This program allows students to apply to get assigned a random buddy. This is an opportunity for students to make new friends during the pandemic. Once matched with a buddy, you receive an online Quarantine Package which includes activities, reporting services and guidelines to ease through the process. Physical distancing does not mean we have to be socially isolated!
Queer | Max Fox
Hi! I’m Max, your Queer Officer for 2020. Currently under construction for when uni life returns to somewhat normal is a brand new Queer Lounge at the Kelvin Grove campus, which will be a safer space for LGBTIQA+ students to be themselves and just chill out, socialise or study. You can find the new Queer Lounge on Level 2 of C Block. Also just launched: G&Ts with the LGBTs! A weekly online event series featuring queer talent, entertainment, tips, tricks and information. I’m also collaborating with the QUT Guild Abilities Collective to develop new content for our Be a Better Human campaign tailored for people with disabilities, so hopefully you’ll see that going up on social media by the next time you hear from me! Keep up to date by following us on Facebook and Instagram QUT Queer Collective | @qgqueercollective
Sport | Jonathan Easton and Harrison Pie
The Sport Vice-Presidents did not submit an update.
Student Rights | Sarah Balmer and Ramisa Raya
The Student Rights Team have hit the ground running within the framework of this pandemic. Before QUT went online, we ran a donation drive and stocked the food bank; distributing 40 welfare packs as well as many other food and toiletry items. Since the move online, we have been working with the charity iSEE Care who have generously offered to donate welfare packs to food insecure students for us to distribute. This begins Thursday April 16 and all going well, will continue weekly or fortnightly as needed. We are also distributing $25 grocery vouchers to those in need and fundraising for that initiative.
In addition to the welfare initiatives, we are considering a new proposed model to replace the current 0% late assessment policy. Every single student will be affected by this policy change. We are extremely committed to receiving feedback through a variety of avenues, including Zoom session focus groups and liaisons with faculty and equity bodies for individual referrals. We anticipate more feedback sessions in the future, especially to capture perspectives of students from diverse backgrounds/experiences who may face unique challenges as a result of this change.
There is lots going on this month in the Student Rights Profile, so if you’re struggling at the moment please: we’re here to help, so keep your head up and we’ll get through this together. For any assistance or to provide feedback, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus Culture | Megha Prasad and Zach Noble
Campus Culture has been very busy over the past few weeks moving all the fun of physical events to the online space. We got started with the Pet, Show and Tell and Self-Isolation Tik Tok/Meme Competition (still going on so get those submissions in!). Then we moved onto our fantastic weekly events including Trivia Tuesday; Ready, Steady, SWEAT!; Cooking Recipes and Film Night Fridays with many more exciting events to come! In the Club space, we have been working hard behind the scenes with our Clubs Coordinator to re-write the Clubs Handbook and all the Club Resources. Along with this, we are completing a full review and workup of our procedures in all the different aspects of Club Management. May sound a bit boring – but it will all be incredibly helpful to Clubs when we finish it up! In the coming month, we will continue working on this, organising more events for the student body and some for our Club executive specifically and finally work on creating a Clubs Portal on the new QUT Guild Website! Lots of exciting things happening with Campus Culture and we are always keen to hear any of your suggestions! Watch the QUT Guild socials or reach out to us with your ideas!
There is currently no officer filling the role of First Nations Officer. If you would like to nominate for this role, please refer to the QUT Guild Noticeboard on Facebook.
Glass Media | Em Readman, Anahita Ebrahimi, Jasmin Graves, Ashleigh North
Glass Media has been busy. We’re working hard on launching our Uncharted Waters Issue which will be up in a few weeks, as well as keeping our online journal, Together Apart, full of work for you to read. We have featured creative non-fiction by Ben Carter, film reviews by Luka Katic, An Interview with Amy Kate from the Mindful Collective and more. We’ve been covering QUT issues that matter such as the 0% Policy and COVID-19 Related Extensions. We’ve pulled our focus into collaborating as much as we possibly can with students in such an isolating time. By the next time you hear from us, we will have launched our next magazine!
Post Grad | Nikka Turangan
QUT Guild Postgraduates is launching soon. New citizens, interested residents, existing inhabitants, and past townspeople of the postgraduate realm, please join us on our Facebook group for updates and conversations.
International | Lyn Lyn
International has been working closely with CISA (Council of International Students Australia) to propose the welfare packages for international students. We have also held our first online VISA Q&A session to assist international students with visa problems and collaborated with QUT stalker space to provide a thread for international students support. We are trying to create a responsive environment on our Facebook page QUT Guild International. It can be considered as a great contact points for questions and concerns and a good source of information/ tips to support international students. Plans are being made to bring our signature International Hang online so that everyone has a chance to catch up during quarantine. Thank you for supporting us through the previous time and please stay tuned for more online events coming.
Abilities Collective | Zoë Vail and William Kroger
Abilities have been focussing on 2 main areas. Firstly we are creating online social events such as a zoom coffee break to allow students with disabilities to socialise and bring up any problems they are having with online learning. The other area, which is ongoing, is reviewing policy, procedure and information the university provides around disabilities and discrimination, as we are trying to build understanding and consideration towards students with disabilities.
Treasurer | Liam Blair
The Governance team have been hard at work during the pandemic. When the hospitality closures happened, and the Guild was looking to close the offices, we assisted all the portfolios in their transition to working from home and prioritising essential work over non-essential projects. We have also seen some fantastic new initiatives arise out of the new online-based landscape.
Most notably, and something we are really proud of, was the survey of about 450 students on their experience in the transition to online learning at QUT. We presented the findings to the Registrar and raised particular issues at the first University Academic Board meeting for 2020. We posted these findings to the Guild Facebook page, so check that out if you haven’t seen it!
Over the last few days, I have been researching late assessment submission policies around Australia and I plan to report on my eye-opening findings for Glass, so stay tuned for the tea.
Secretary | Cameron Mackie
As Secretary, over the past few weeks I have been absorbed with transitioning the way the Guild Executive team runs and works from our office to our individual homes. The Governance team has been focussing heavily on campaigning for students during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 0% submission policy changes. In partnership with the President and Treasurer, I’ve also begun serious planning for the governance side of my role, including organising Guild Council, beginning the process of updating the Constitution and Regulations.
President | Olivia Brumm
Despite the significant disruptions to the Guild’s normal operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic the executive has been working hard to ensure that service delivery continues to a high standard.
During the last few months in office I have:
- Directly advocated on behalf of students to the University administration on a wide range of issues including academic concessions, student welfare and financial insecurity, support for International students and assistance with the transition to online learning.
- Conducted a COVID-19 student concerns survey to precisely identify the issues students are facing regarding their academic studies and whether they feel adequately supported by the university. Synthesised and analysed the data from that survey where over 500 responses were collected and presented the findings to the university administration for consideration
- Advocated for student interests on the University Academic Board, Equity committee and Student Misconduct committee
- Worked in partnership with Student Success Group to workshop alternatives to the 0% late submission policy. Consulted with Guild executive on the alternative 48-hour concession proposal and provided comprehensive feedback.
- Facilitated weekly executive meetings to monitor executive productivity and ensure morale remains high.
- Assisted in coordinating the Guild O-week and Market Day events
- Conducted informational lecture drop-ins at the beginning of as many first-year lectures as possible to ensure commencing students had an understanding of the Guild and the services and support that we offer.
- Had an extremely public squabble with the IPA and generation liberty courtesy of the Murdoch media
- Worked collaboratively with our General Manager to review the Guild’s internal policy and procedures.
- Compiled a master sheet of the Guilds student representative positions on university boards and committees and ensured that we nominated students for every available position.
- Brought puppies into the office because apparently that is allowed.
- Working collaboratively with Cameron Mackie (Guild Secretary) to facilitate Guild Council sessions that are accessible and productive. – including transitioning to an online format
- Entered into discussions with the University about SSAF funding. The university has agreed to conduct a formal review of the SSAF allocation and funding model this year.
Tune in next month to get more updates on what your executive at the QUT Guild is up to.