QUT Guild

Guild Catchup: May

By May 22, 2020 No Comments

One of our commitments this year is to bring you updates on your elected executive, and this is our second instalment of this initiative. Find updates from your executive below and keep an eye out for the next update in June.

Glass: Em Readman, Anahita Ebrahimi, Ashleigh North, Jasmin Graves

Glass has been huge recently! We’ve caused a stir with our coverage of the Zero Percent Policy, Our article on the purpose of student media and the review of grade guides. We’ve continued to publish students in our online journal, the Together Apart Journal. As always, you can find all our work right here on qutglass.com. Our print magazine design is almost done, with the launch set to be 5 pm on the 21st of June. We’re happy to announce that our launch will be held on Zoom, social distancing.  In other news, we are working on some constitutional reform for the Media portfolio which we hope to action in coming council meetings.  We’ve continued to support the executives with their campaigns, particularly the #SaveOurStudents campaign which we believe to be vitally important. Keep an eye out for regular content from our editors and contributors, as well as the launch of Uncharted Waters and our launch party. As always if you have any concerns or queries, email media@qutguild.com. 

Postgraduate: Nikka Turangan

Hello postgrads, I hope you and your family are safe, well and staying connected. Since our last update a month ago, we have launched the Guild Postgraduate Facebook page, two focus groups for coursework and honours and HDRs (details in the main group), and an ongoing Anonymous Speak channel for when you want to say or ask something anonymously. Soon, a ‘Mum, Dad and Guardians’ group will also launch and this is open to all students, not just postgrads! The postgraduate community is slowly establishing itself at QUT, but we still have so much work to do. So, come on over to our Facebook groups and tell us what changes or improvements you’d like to see in the postgraduate realm. Or you can just say hi and keep yourself updated with what’s going on 😊 Until next time! 

First Nations: Jennifer Barnaby

Hi! I’m Jen, the First Nation’s officer for 2020. I cannot wait to see what this is year holds for me in the position. At this current moment am working on creating awareness of significant Indigenous event during this month and into June, with coronavirus affecting our ability to do anything on campus it will predominately online, but if you see one our post that sparks your interest please share, like, comment because you don’t have to be Indigenous to create awareness around our event. The next event is National Reconciliation Week which is celebrated from the 27th May to the 3rd June so watch out for something to come. 

Campus Culture: Zach Noble, Megha Prasad

The past month has been, as usual, a busy one for Campus Culture! Besides the many weekly events we got up and running last month we also began holding one-off events such as the Advocacy Q&A, QUT Guild: Representing You Q&A and Pet Show and Tell. To further develop different event styles, we began partnering with other Guild portfolios for upcoming events such as the GLASS Launch Party, Masterclass Mondays with Student Rights and a Sustainability Q&A with the Environmental Officers – so keep an eye out! As we move into the exam block, we are partnering with Student Success Group and our own Marketing Department to bring the student body tons of resources and exam support for the online setting! Fear not – everyone will still be seeing some cute animals!! In the club space, we held our first President’s, Vice-President’s, Secretary’s and Treasurer’s Catch Ups respectively. These were particularly important to touch base with our clubs and see what extra support they require. We additionally wrote and released an Online Events Guide for our clubs earlier in the month to support their transition to online events. Behind the scenes, we have continued working on our Club Resources and aim to have sections such as Become a Club, Club Funding, Grievances and Complaints, Food Safety and Affiliation Agreements completed before semester 2. Over the next month, this will be our central project as events calm down over the exam period. Stay tuned next month for more updates!! 

Women: Alicia Tonio

Unfortunately, I have been in hospital since late April, and have not been allowed to work because of my health. Therefore I do not have much to add for my progress. 

My pending projects include Quarantine Buddies and the Online Well-being Initiative. 

Quarantine Buddies: Quarantine Buddies was a project started to match strangers with each other to be buddies during this pandemic. Physical distancing does not mean we have to be socially isolated! Already half of the applicants have received their buddy information. I have elected a team to help me match more buddies at a faster pace so the remaining applicants can start chatting soon! 

Online Well-Being Initiative: I’ll find a catchier name for this soon. I have brought together a team of moderators and admin from QUT’s largest social spaces including Stalker Space, Wholesome Space, Women at QUT and more. The aim is to work together to create a handbook that helps current and future admins run a safer, informed and positive social space. The handbook includes how to spot signs of abuse, how to refer people to resources, and resources for sexual and family violence, and mental health resources. 

Queer: Max Fox

G’day QUT! Since you last heard from me, we’ve run an online event series called G&Ts with the LGBTs, featuring an interview with a sexpert, a Queer Sip n Paint, Queers in Quarantine workshop with QUT counselling, and Cards Against Humanity. We’ve also marshalled support for the #SaveOurStudents campaign, which we see as vital to support us academically as well as mentally. Now that semester is heating up, I’m focusing a bit more on my studies and wellbeing, but still participating in important meetings such as the LGBTIQA+ Action Plan Working Party and Student Sexual Harassment and Assault Working Party. As always, if you’d like to get in contact, my inbox is open at queer@qutguild.com 

Student Rights: Sarah Balmer, Ramisa Raya

The Student Rights Portfolio has transitioned our advocacy services online for you. For your welfare, we automated the grocery food voucher program. We collaborated with Campus Culture and the Events team for our first ever live-stream Masterclass Monday session with McInnes Wilson Lawyers for your legal questions about leasing, migration and employment that reached almost 3000 views within its first week. We hope that students gained some great info from that session! 

For your student rights, we are working hard to advocate for an opt-in grading process for you where you can choose to have your grades reflect pass/fail during the pandemic and not affect your overall GPA. We are also seeking the most effective replacement to the 0% late submission policy by using student feedback as the basis of our recommendations to ensure the reform is equitable, practical and reasonable for students. We have also kicked off an advocacy effort to secure an increase in SSAF funding for the Guild to ensure that students can be more effectively supported by a strong, well-funded Guild. 

We have many projects and initiatives lined up for the coming months, including a continuation of Masterclass Mondays after exam block. Our next welfare initiative is to start a tax help series to support students. On the academic side, we are liaising with academic misconduct committees to connect advocacy officers as potential support people for students. We are also in the early stages of launching a new online platform for students to have vote, debate and voice their opinions for issues in university politics. 

International: Lyn Lyn

The international portfolio has brought back International Hang to our online platform. This is our first social event with a variety of board games, trivia and bonding activities. 

Besides our Facebook page QUT Guild International, we have created a Facebook group for QUT International students (LINK)

 with the aim to create a more responsive environment and supportive community among international students and international clubs members. 

For the upcoming events of Guild International, we hope to collaborate with more international clubs to deliver essential support and interesting social events. We are also planning for semester 2 career events and workshops. This will be a series of workshop with the presence of employers’ representatives to share with students about employability and networking skills.

Sport: Harrison Pie, Jonathon Easton

Probably the biggest portfolios to suffer from the transfer to an online medium is Sport. Before isolation, we had grand plans for 2020 with such projects as free sport, charity event, and the reintroduction of the Sport ball. As a result, the members of the sport portfolio developed morning PT sessions for all QUT students. Every Tuesday and Thursday QUT Guild hosts fitness sessions @9am to keep up isolation fitness. Focusing on ab and body weights, with sessions that cater to every skill level. As we are getting closer to the exam block, we will transition into yoga classes. As the guild believes in a healthy balance of fitness and study. We are also getting on the way with boosting our social media presence with STRAVA. Compare your pace and fitness with likeminded individuals at QUT by joining the QUT GUILD team. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates. 

Abilities: Zoe Vail, William Kroger

We have been busy in the Abilities section with a few reviews being put forward. We have joined the Be a Better Human initiative and are still collecting feedback form students with a disability about what it is like studying with a disability. We have also teamed up with the Queer Officer to bring the need for updating the university’s bullying, harassment and discrimination information pages to the university’s attention. Over the next month, we will be deciding what events we will be including in celebrating International Abilities Week at the end of the year. 

Environment: Seren Wyatt, Hannah Smith

This month we have been continuing to work hard on creating an e-book! This book will be free for students to download, and will be all about how students can make their lifestyles more eco-friendly – e.g. how to reduce your waste, eco-friendly beauty, environmentally-conscious meals, and more! It is still in the works, but you can expect to get your hands on it around early Semester 2. As well as this, we have moved our Instagram content to be a part of the QUT Guild Instagram page, so keep an eye out for our posts! Pop onto the Guild Instagram page every Wednesday for some recipes that we and Campus Culture have shared that are good for you AND the planet! And of course, we are continuing to try source some student discounts for you all to use at eco-friendly stores. 😊 

Secretary: Cameron Mackie

This is the second month that the Guild has been working completely from home. Despite these continued changes, the Guild Executive team have strived to transition as many student-focused events, support systems and activism campaigns online as possible to maintain the strong standard of representation that we began the year with.  Since my last Glass report, I have:   

  •  Worked on revised standing orders for Guild Council to be temporarily implemented to hold Council online.  
  • Held the first meeting of Guild Council, the Annual General Meeting, in late April.  
  • Taken my dogs to the park a lot because they know I have no excuse now that I’m working from home.  
  • Developed a template for Guild Executives to write their 2020 Executive Reports and Statements of Intention to be presented to, and passed by, Guild Council.  
  • Worked closely with the elected Guild Council Chairperson and Olivia Brumm (Guild President) to ensure that, as a team, we are extremely familiar with the QUT Guild Constitution and Regulations to properly run council meetings.   
  • Reviewed the Guild’s newly updated internal policies and procedures.  
  •  Co-hosted a Q&A session with Olivia about our demands to the university, which had a reach of approximately 30,000 students.   
  •  Watched 9 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.  
  • Participated in regular meetings with executive members to monitor portfolio progress and check in with them personally.  
  •  Begun the process of extensively researching the proposed Constitution and Regulations reforms. 
  • Researched late submission policies for all universities around Australia to present to the University and Steering Committees.   
  • Worked closely with the Governance Team to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic situation and how the QUT Guild is handling this internally and externally.  
  •  Completed three puzzles and one paint by numbers.  
  • Attended meetings with the University Registrar and various faculty deans to discuss important issues for the Guild and students.   
  • Reworked the temporary standing orders with the feedback and amendments that were passed at the Annual General Meeting for the next meeting of Guild Council.   
  • Participated in distributing the QUT Guild petition to the university that now has just north of 7.5k signatures and continues to go up each day.   

Treasurer: Liam Blair

This month is definitely an odd one to look back on, being entirely comprised of working from home. One thing the pandemic has granted us as Guild representatives is the ability to focus on large issues easily, however at the loss of regular, smaller events and initiatives. No bar events or free breakfasts is really unfortunate, but having the time to invest so much effort into large initiatives is not something I thought we’d have, and I guess I’m a little thankful for that. 

Some of you may have seen my article from the 4th of May about the (linked) late assessment policy at QUT, where I compared the policy to that of 37 other universities in Australia. This article somewhat blew up in StalkerSpace (with a  few memes!), getting the attention of academics on the committee, one of whom was not happy about it. Quite a success and the subsequent research report was shared with the committee later. Though the committee is not very receptive of opinions critical of their 48 hours ‘no docs’ proposal, public pressure works. 

A project I’ve taken on recently is the contact liaison between the Guild and the Faculty Councillors. Two councillors for each faculty (12 total) are elected at the annual Guild elections, however, these roles have typically been underutilised or even ignored, usually used just as a way to stack Guild Council with your ideological supporters. This year, we’re working to involve them with issues within their faculties and to include them in broad decision making. So far, this has been quite successful as a few large academic issues have been identified, some related to the transition to online study.  

Further along the trail of large issues and campaigns, we’ve begun research on the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF), and how other student unions in Australia fair with their allocation from the university. Negotiations are sort of stagnant right now at QUT, which is understandable to a certain degree due to the pandemic, but we plan to push hard this year for a better SSAF allocation in 2021 or even sooner. The pandemic has shown how financially precarious our organisation is and our student union needs to be funded properly, like most others around Australia. 

To finish this off, here are some fun discoveries this month: 

  • Shameless (US). Why did no one tell me this show is fucking amazing? (Currently up to season 3) 
  • Stonefield. An amazing Aussie psychedelic rock band (check out their latest album, Bent) 
  • Audioslave. Awesome heavy rock/metal band (the first self-titled album is my favourite) 

President: Olivia Brumm

  • Consistently advocated for student concessions and academic amnesty to the university administration.
  • Established a SSAF working group and conducted comprehensive nationwide research on other union’s allocations and processes
  • Helped facilitate the first Annual General Meeting of the year
  • Worked in partnership with the Student Success Group to provide alternatives to the 0% late submission policy to the ACSSA steering committee.
  • Began a review process of the proposed Constitutional amendments last year to identify what went wrong and how we can move forward. Established a timeline for Constitutional amendments with extensive consultation with the broader Guild executive, councillors and general student body.
  • Advocated for student interests on several university boards, committees and working party groups.

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