Trimester 1 is behind us and I hope results were above expectation. Trimester 2 is starting with a bang, welcome to the new students enrolling for the first time. The next couple weeks will see the new UNE student association (UNESA) up and running it has been a long haul for those working on lining up the ducks and putting loose ends to bed. If you have not already joined UNESA, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the myune email links to request membership. The student association at UNE is at a crossroads, the potential to fill the void that VSU created eight years ago. For seventy five years generations of students have built the assets enjoyed by the university today. It is my hope that UNESA can carry on that legacy. Last week I was gobsmacked to read the trimester review comments about students. Overwhelmingly, apparently the vast majority of UNE students enjoyed the move to trimesters. I was at the only meeting the trimester review panel had with students and overwhelmingly that was not the mood of those representatives. Some of the concerns addressed to the panel were; the study period has been reduced by 14%, international students have scholarship concerns because of pressure of second language, assessments were not back in time to provide feedback, units just crammed old material into new time frames, trimester three units were limited, primary and secondary schools are not on trimesters and creating stress for education pracs, school holidays do not coincide with trimesters for parents studying, and the reputation of a UNE becoming known as the degree express.
A thumbs up for the month goes to services UNE staff for a great initiative, installing security cameras in the ‘Stro. This will provide patrons and staff with surety if something does goes wrong and in line with modern litigious culture. Thumbs down to services UNE (big brother) for disguising the same surveillance cameras to spy on areas outside of the ‘Stro. Services UNE, the brain child of a previous UNE administration, was supposed to be the great hope of resolving the vacuum created by unhappy combination of alleged rouge student representatives and Voluntary Student Unionism. Services UNE in principle could have worked if transparency and respect for students were guiding principles. Instead every student is tainted with the real or imagined failings of past students. To take a leaf out of the novel ’Animal Farm’, it appears some people are more equal than others. I would remind those that seek to strangle student amenity and fraternity, today’s students are the alumni of tomorrow.
On a brighter note the appointment of Michelle Clarke to the chair of the SSAF steering committee is a significant step forward in the provision of additional amenity services for students. Back on track and determined to be of value off and on campus, building back eight years of lost amenity. There seems to be a genuine commitment to rebuilding of student fraternity and amenity at UNE. It is good to see a focus on practical solutions.
During May it was a pleasure to meet some of the UNE external students in Orange and thanks to Katja Ingham for the effort she put into making the function a success. It is my hope that the incoming UNESA board directors will make the time to engage more of the UNE external student in a similar way.
There have been many students and staff in the last twelve months that have been my motivation to continue plugging away, thank you all. I would like to take the opportunity to especially thank the undergraduate board and particularly Josh for his tireless work and support, Abdullah Alanazi my friend and lastly Stu and Sarita for their dedication to restoring a student voice at UNE.
Good luck to the UNESA candidates who have stepped into a brave new opportunity.
- David Mailler