Guild NewsQUT Guild

Meet the Execs! Executives Edition – Part I

By February 15, 2022 March 3rd, 2022 No Comments

In our last ‘Meet the Execs’ article, we introduced you to Oscar (President), Aamna (Secretary) and Tori (Treasurer) from the new team of Executives leading the QUT Guild in 2021. This week, we introduce you to some of the other Executives who make up the team. These of your fellow students have been elected to paid positions for the purpose of advocating for you, the students, in order to make your experience of studying at QUT the best it can be. 

Ella O’Brien – Engagement Officer 

Tell us about yourself.

Hi! My name is Ella and I am your Engagement Officer for 2022! I know that the title ‘Engagement Officer’ is extremely vague so in a few words, I see myself as the Executive in charge of creating events and initiatives that help students on their journey through university. 

What are you studying and how many years of your degree have you completed? 

I’ve just finished my fourth year of a Bachelor of Creative Industries/Bachelor of Laws (Honours), majoring in Entertainment. 

Why did you run for this position?  

I essentially held the same position during 2021 as part of my duties as Vice-President of Campus Culture. Because I filled a casual vacancy late in 2021, I had only been involved with the Guild for a few short months when the next term rolled round, and there were still a fair few things I wanted to achieve. 

How do you hope to be able to support students? 

I have committed my next few months to improving student engagement from a clubs-perspective. I’m aiming to streamline the process of club funding and providing more training for clubs that may have received poor handovers in the past. I will then turn my attention to creating new and exciting events on campus to foster higher engagement and improve campus culture. 

How do you believe the QUT student Guild can be improved? 

I believe we can better organise our Clubs and Societies Committee to have more permanence in its elected members and allow for a more open and transparent process. I’d love to see Presidents elected to this committee for a full year term so that clubs can have a more stable set of voices representing them in this way. 

What are the main challenges for your portfolio? 

The main challenge of my portfolio now is also what makes it so exciting: it is brand new. As there are no preconceived ideas about what this Portfolio does, I have the freedom to create new initiatives and events, start fresh, and move in new directions. I balance this with the understanding that I have been entrusted with carrying out some crucial events within the Guild calendar. I feel I am up to the challenge of meeting students’ needs and improving student life in every initiative we create this year. 

How can students get in touch with you?  

You can get in touch with me via email at eobrien@qutguild.com 

Zoe Davidson – Clubs and Societies Officer 

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m Zoe (she/her), 22, plant-obsessed and coffee-addicted. My favourite type of meal is breakfast food and I love to spend my time at markets and trying new recipes. I’m not going to lie—I much prefer a quiet night in and binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy, but if you ask me out for a boogie and a drink, I’ll be there! 

What are you studying and how many years of your degree have you completed? 

I’m studying a Bachelor of Education (Secondary, Maths)/Bachelor of Business (Advertising). I’m heading into my fourth (and hopefully final) year. 

Why did you run for this position? 

I ran for Clubs & Societies (C&S) Officer because I have a genuine interest and love for helping people in my community and bringing people together. Clubs and societies at QUT have such a prominent role in enhancing students’ lives, so it’s a real passion of mine to be able to contribute to that component of student culture and be something that I can proudly say I helped shape. 

How do you hope to be able to support students? 

For me, it’s about clear communication, keeping clubs and individuals organized, and being able to see the bigger picture while also being mindful of those smaller, important issues too. I know I’m a great problem-solver (several years in retail management can testify to this!) and an even better observer and listener (my education degree can testify to this bit!). I hope to be solving problems before they grow, and be a representative for clubs and societies in the decisions I make. 

How do you believe the QUT student Guild can be improved? 

Being within the Guild in 2021 as a Faculty Councillor for Education, I feel I have an insight into student perspectives on the Guild, instead of possibly a more biased opinion from within the Guild. In discussion with clubs already, communication is seemingly a big issue the Guild faces with affiliated clubs, and students in general. I believe communication is not only important in working in an organisation (or union for that matter), but also to uphold the transparency the Guild values and has worked tirelessly to achieve. 

What are the main challenges for your portfolio? 

(**internally screaming**). Haha, honestly though, it’s a bit of a juggle dealing with 160+ clubs and all their unique needs, on top of funding rounds, reviewing constitutions, dealing with internal/external bodies, updating procedures, and also planning events. Basically, lots to do! I’ll also be (mentally and emotionally) supporting the beautiful Ella as the Engagement Officer. We both want to see C&S flourish, and we are so aware that the more we put in, the more you’re going to get out. 

Why are you interested in this position? 

I really love people and helping them, especially when they are passionate in what they do. I couldn’t think of anybody other than our very own QUT clubs and societies who fall into this category. I’m interested in the position because I think I bring to the team someone who is 

incredibly goal-orientated and solution-focused. I also think it’s more important than ever to support clubs and societies as we emerging from the COVID-19 crisis and support them in creating events which bring them back to campus and collaborate on events for crazy success! 

What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months? 

At a procedure, policy, and logistical level, I hope to get club banking streamlined and look at more resources available for clubs and societies (function areas etc.) I also think we can look at some more events for all clubs and societies that want to be involved, including a mid-year club celebration, training opportunities, and Q&A sessions. 

On a personal level though, I know it sounds like a lot, but I want to be able to sit down and have at least one 15 minute conversation with each club executive team twice a year. It will take me a few weeks to get through everyone, but I think it’s important to be able to put faces to names and make those great connections between clubs and societies and the Guild again. I want these discussions to be around strategic direction, support, addressing problems, and looking at growth opportunities. 

How can students get in touch with you? 

  • For the Clubs Team: Club Bookings, Documentation and Social Sport: clubs@qutguild.com 
  • General Club Issues, Questions and Support: campusculture@qutguild.com and sportvp@qutguild.com (please watch this space though as these addresses will change) 
  • Banking, Authorisations and Account Issues: clubbanking@qutguild.com 
  • For other enquiries: · zdavidson@qutguild.com 

Otherwise, come visit me at Kelvin Grove, C Block Level 2, Guild Offices! 

Alex Marks – Welfare Officer 

What are you studying and how many years of your degree have you completed? 

I just finished my third year of a Bachelor of Human Services/Bachelor of Justice, majoring in Policy and Governance. If all goes according to plan, I graduate at the end of next year. 

Why did you run for this position? 

I ran for this position because I wanted to continue doing my job which I absolutely love. Around mid-July last this year I applied for the Student Rights Vice-President position, and since then I have worked beside Sarah Balmer (next year’s Law and Business Councillor and NUS Delegate) where we divided the work into what is now the ‘Welfare Officer’ and ‘Education Officer’ position. 

I took on the ‘welfare’ responsibilities of the portfolio as I had previous work experience as a volunteer at the Wesley Mission Queensland Emergency Relief Hub in Fortitude Valley where I learnt a lot of the skills I use in the job (and if you have some spare time I strongly recommend volunteering here). I love working at the Guild, and I love being able to help and support QUT students with welfare issues such as food assistance services, transport vouchers, placement support, and share house supplies. I love helping write and edit regulations, constitutions, and policies. I love what I am doing, and I wanted to keep doing it. It’s that simple. 

How do you hope to be able to support students? 

I hope to be able to support students by increasing engagement for our current welfare services and improving upon them. Many students do not know about all the support services which have been created to help students, and as someone who helps manage most of them, I hope to see them be utilised more and create more. This is what I’ll be focusing on in my term alongside the Welfare and Wellbeing committee. A great example of some recent work we have done is expand the Kelvin Grove Foodbank to include kitchen appliances, stationary, bedding, cleaning, hygiene, and baby/toddler supplies. 

How do you believe the QUT student Guild can be improved? 

I think the QUT student Guild can be improved by increasing engagement with students and making it a more positive experience. Most students do not really care about the Guild or much of the StuPol (student politics) scene, which is completely valid, but it means they miss out on a lot of the opportunities we are trying to provide. This impacts the engagement we have with welfare services and getting students to use them. Something I look forward to doing with this year’s Engagement Officer and Clubs and Societies Officer is collaborating to improve the relationship we have with students, which will benefit everyone in the team and QUT students. 

What are the main challenges for your portfolio? 

The main challenges for my portfolio are engagement and funding delays. Due to the nature of the welfare portfolio, and the initiatives which have been run over the past year, some initiatives have received a lot of engagement which we cannot fulfill due to fund and resource allocations, or a low of engagement leading to an excess of stock. Engagement also changes a lot, so a service might be really popular for 2 months, but then it might drop off— 

meaning the operations have to change. Funding delays can also be a challenge, as it can impact distribution and other operational plans for our services. 

Why are you interested in this position? 

I am interested in this position because it is what I want to do when I graduate. I love community development and policy, so to find a job which provides work experience for both areas is such a blessing and I am incredibly grateful for that. I am excited to be given more time to continue to do what I love, with more experience and a clearer vision for my portfolio and the Guild. 

What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months? 

In the next 12 months I hope to accomplish providing a wider variety of food and appliances for the Foodbanks, providing more support for placement students, getting fresh food on campus, and heightening engagement for the services accessible to QUT students. 

How can students get in touch with you? Students can get in contact with me by emailing foodbank@qutguild.com or coming to a QUT Guild Women’s Collective event, as I am the Deputy Convener for the collective. 

Lauren Reeb – Education Officer 

What are you studying and how many years of your degree have you completed? 

I am studying a Bachelor of Justice/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and I have just completed my third year. 

Why did you run for this position? 

There are a wide range of reasons behind why I joined the QUT Guild. I am extremely passionate about education issues, so when the ‘Education Officer’ position became available I was extremely interested and wanted to go for it. I also have friends in the Guild and I watched them positively impact university life, so I wanted to make an impact too. 

During the pandemic last year, I saw how hard the Guild worked to try to help QUT students, and after seeing that, I knew that I wanted to be involved in something that would allow me to make a positive difference myself. This is also because I know some of these issues are still occurring for students, and I would like to be actively help dilute or even get rid of them. 

Honestly, my motivation can be boiled down to the idea that I want to help students get the most out of their university experience and have the most positive experience possible. 

How do you hope to be able to support students? 

My policies, outlined below, are how I hope to support the students. I also want to create qualifications support, where students who need blue cards, white cards, or other such qualifications can get the help they need to acquire them. In general, I want to do as much as I can to improve the lives of students, and work closely with my colleagues, especially Alex Marks, the welfare officer, in doing so. 

How do you believe the QUT student guild can be improved? 

I think people need to know about it more. The Guild is mostly represented by our bars, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, there are many other services we offer and initiatives we facilitate for students which isn’t as well known. During campaigning, there were so many students I talked to who didn’t even know we had a Guild. That’s definitely something we need to improve. 

There is also a struggle with funding. I know for some there is an illusion of the Guild being a ‘multi-million-dollar organisation’, but realistically, once we have provided funding for clubs, and the services we have available and want to keep ongoing, we do not have ‘millions’ in our back pocket. All of the staff work on a budgeted portfolio. Of course, if given the opportunity, we’d fund every initiative we could think of, but that’s just not possible. 

What are the main challenges for your portfolio? 

I think a big part of my job will be lobbying to the university admin to convince them to take my projects on. This will also require me to have patience to implement my ideas because QUT administration can sometimes be a little stubborn. A lot of my work will be behind the scenes and doing leg work which might extend past my term, which can be hard with turnover processes. 

Why are you interested in this position? 

As the Education Officer, I will be representing over 50,000 students who all hold diverse beliefs and opinions and who each deserve the best out of their tertiary education experience. Another reason is that this is amazing work experience, as this is something I am interested in doing after I graduate. I want to be able to work in government or as a union worker, so to be given this opportunity is incredibly exciting. Ultimately, the opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives drew me to the position. I am keen to get started. 

What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months? 

I plan to create a more sustainable textbook hire system at QUT and see students who might not be able to afford textbooks having access to all the resources they need to realise their potential at uni. 

I really care about everyone involved with QUT: the students, the staff, the volunteers, and everyone in between who makes QUT what it is. 

That’s why I am also advocating for more COVID-19 related amenities, and the improvement of online lectures (like come on, can we please double check the closed captioning function instead of just using the automated one). 

How can students get in touch with you? Right now, students can contact me via email at studentrights@qutguild.com, but a new email is in the making for my position (and will be available on the Guild website in the near future). You can also come by the Kelvin Grove office starting next year. 

Natalie Tew – Women’s Officer 

What are you studying and how many years of your degree have you completed? 

I’m studying a Bachelor of Business (Public Relations) and I’m going into my third (and last year). 

Why did you run for this position? 

I ran for this position because I recognise while women at universities were making great strides in representation (now around 55% of universities!!) there was still rampant discrimination. Women at universities still experience harmful stereotypes about their abilities and have a disproportionate challenges when entering the workforce. I wanted to make a difference and help women succeed. Personally, I also wanted to ensure my own experiences were never repeated within QUT again. 

How do you hope to be able to support students? 

In my role as the Women’s Officer, I want to stop the stigmatisation of women and work with the various women’s groups that already exist at QUT. A goal of mine is to provide support for strengthening women’s skills for entering the workforce and prepare the women of QUT to be confident with dealing with any challenges they will face. More generally, I know this year’s Guild Executives are dedicated to improving education quality overall and ensuring students are supported as the effects from the pandemic still provide challenges. 

How do you believe the QUT student Guild can be improved? 

I think the Guild is continuing to grow and strengthen. In three years it’s made great strides in gaining a greater share of the SSAF from the university to support students and we hope to continue to grow in that way. Secondly, I see the lack of engagement the Guild has with all students as an issue we’re all eager to tackle this year. Our initial planning for the next year is dedicated to engaging students and connecting with them to grow the Guild’s presence. We have numerous services that could benefit so many more students if more students knew the services existed. 

What are the main challenges for your portfolio? 

I think the biggest challenge in my portfolio are the engagement rates. Previous Women’s Officer’s have done fantastic work in setting up programs and I want to work to make them reach a larger audience. 

Why are you interested in this position? 

I’m interested in this position as I have spent my university experience wanting to fight against so many things I experienced. Now I’m in a position to do that now and do that for all women at QUT. Also, I’m a massive feminist and when I was wondering how to get involved in fighting for student rights I knew Women’s Officer was the role for me. 

What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months? 

Over the next 12 months, I think the biggest task I’ve set for myself is to enact an ‘Intersectional Women’s Week’. I know a lot of other universities have this week and I’m excited to collaborate with the women of QUT to set this event up. My goal is to use this flagship event to help to end the stigmatisation of professional women and address the challenges women face at university and in the workforce. I’m excited to set up cross-faulty events and networks and unite the women of QUT. 

How can students get in touch with you? 

Students can get in touch with me through the 2022 Women’s Officer email! I’d love to hear from all students at QUT and will also be reaching out to students at the being of 2022. 

Caleb Bartlett – First Nations Officer 

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Caleb Bartlett and I am a proud Indigenous man who comes from Durumbal Country, which is located in Central Queensland, but I also have connections to Lama Lama country, which is located up north in the eastern Cape York and Coen. 

What are you studying and how many years of your degree have you completed? I am currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Production). I have already completed my first year and will be going into second year in 2022. 

Why did you run for this position? I ran for this position for two reasons. Firstly, this was the type of work that my dad used to do, and I always admired how much passion he put into his work. Secondly, I know how difficult it can be for First Nations students, especially those who are the first in their family, to go to uni. I want to make the transition to uni as easy as possible for all students. 

How do you hope to be able to support students? I hope to be able to support students by using the Guild recourses in conjunction with the Oodgeroo Unit to give them what they need—whether it be information about scholarships, events, or just someone to have a yarn with. 

How do you believe the QUT student Guild can be improved? I believe the Guild can be improved by not just having one person look after the First Nations role. I know there are going to be some perspectives of students that I will never understand such as a female First Nations student going through uni. 

What are the main challenges for your portfolio? The First Nations portfolio is fairly new, having only being created in 2018 I believe, and for some of that time the role has been empty so there has not been too much progress with what has already happened in this portfolio. I hope to be able to change that. 

Why are you interested in this position? Indigenous education is so important and I want to be able to help First Nation students with achieving the best that they can and also to help educate non-First Nations students on issues that Indigenous students face day-to-day. 

What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months? I hope to be able to connect the bridge between Indigenous students, clubs, and the Oodgeroo Unit with the Guild and work together to make the best university experience possible for all students. 

How can students get in touch with you? Students can contact me through my email: firstnations@qutguild.com or just contact me directly via Facebook. Please do not be shy to contact me, I would love to hear your input. 

 

Jane Hoang – International Students Officer 

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Jane Hoang. I’m studying Bachelor of Business (Management). I love working with people—I have participated in multiple student clubs and my top priority is always to make sure my members and teammates have a great time joining us. 

What are you studying and how many years of your degree have you completed? 

I’m in my third year now and going to say goodbye to QUT in 6 months (and I genuinely feel sad about it ). Some people would study a higher degree or maybe another bachelor’s degree, but I enjoy QUT, not studying itself ) 

Why did you run for this position? 

At first, it was just simply me looking for some cool extracurricular experience to add to my resume, plus my friend, who is the previous International Students Officer, dragged me into this. Then, after joining Reach and attending some meetings, I understood more about what QUT Guild has done and what it can do to benefit QUT students in the future, which inspires me to do the same thing for the overseas student community. 

How do you believe the QUT student Guild can be improved? 

During the campaign, I realised that more than half of the people I spoke to do not know much about the QUT Guilds so I think we should improve their awareness. This would help Guild to work more closely with students and listen to their thoughts because, at the end of the day, we are the representatives of QUT students. 

What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months? 

I’m graduating in 6 months, which means I can only stay in this position for this period. Right now, I’m planning to form an international student collective just as the women, LGBTQA+, and abilities communities have done. If this works, I hope the collective can work together to plan of events, workshops, and anything that they believe will best suit the needs of overseas students. Other than that, I also expect to promote QUT support services to international students more effectively as I realise lots of them are not even aware of those things. Services provided by Student Success Group or International Support Services will be helpful for anyone who struggle with cultural differences, academic issues or personal wellbeing in general. Hopefully, I’ll be able to combine these two ideas to really boost those already existing services before starting to create new ones. 

Ciaran Greig

Ciaran Greig

Ciaran (she/her) is a Meanjin/Brisbane-based writer and an editor at Glass Magazine. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Creative Writing)/Bachelor of Laws.

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