Hi there! I’m Jelena, an Ordinary Committee Member (OCM) on the Education Council this year. Don’t worry- we're not a bunch of boring, out of touch students. Rather, we want to make information more accessible to you this year so that you don’t feel stressed wishing you had asked questions earlier. Throughout this year I’ll be sharing useful info and tips, but you’re also free to contact the Education Council anytime via email. We’re a small inner committee, but with the Faculty Societies’ (FACSOC) Presidents and Education Vice Presidents, we work out to be a team of roughly thirty. We’re here to fight for your education rights at UWA and make sure you’re heard. So, here’s a bit about our committee:
Holly, our President, is a third-year student studying Political Science and Spanish! Her favourite thing about Ed Council is how all of the Faculty societies are able to work together and improve the student experience for everyone. Additionally, she believes in the importance of the Education Action Network - a group of students that advocates for important issues both on and off campus - definitely check it out on Facebook and get involved. She says the Lost on Campus app is super helpful to make sure you get to the right classes.
(Personally, I’ve walked into the wrong class countless times and tried to offset this mistake with “nonchalant” laughter that I’ve dragged on for far too long...)
Jay is the Vice President of the Education Council for 2023. He says he is “tremendously excited to work with such an outstanding team this year to advocate for students and help provide better outcomes for everyone studying at UWA.” Jay is in his second year studying a Bachelor of Philosophy majoring in Political Science and Economics.
He explains that he joined the committee because “we are all at UWA to get a quality education and a degree to help us achieve our goals and ambitions and I feel it’s the Ed Council’s role to advocate for students’ rights, oppose cuts, and ensure every student has access to all the resources and information they need to succeed, and I hope I can play a small part in that this year! Having just finished my first year, one piece of advice I could give is to be prepared - first semester was such an unexpected change from high school and I really struggled keeping on top of assignments when I didn’t have a teacher checking up on me every day, so be as prepared as possible for your classes and don’t leave assignments until the last minute (I hope I take my own advice on this in the new year).”
He added “Finally, a fun fact about me, I once built an IKEA bedside table with no help.” (Wow Jay, that’s pretty impressive!)
Our secretary is the wonderful Abigail, who is in her third year Double Majoring in English & Literary Studies, Communications & Media Studies and Minoring in Applied Music. When asked about the council she said “...students themselves need a voice to dictate their needs for their own education. The Council provides a professional space for discussion and representation of the needs of students on campus educationally.” Her regret in first year is not knowing “how welcoming clubs and faculty societies would be if you put your hand up to join in. I spent my first year afraid to join committees but when I eventually did I made incredible friends and began helping to make a difference for students on campus.” On O-Day, make sure to find your Faculty Society on James Oval and join.
Minnie, our Treasurer, is going into her fourth year studying Microbiology and Environmental Science. She says Education Council is important “for ensuring a high quality of education for all students, as well as creating a vibrant and inclusive campus culture.” Minnie wishes she had known “The importance of the UWA Guild and how much everyone involved has contributed to improving campus life and UWA as a whole.”
This is a pretty common regret held by students after their first year of uni, so it’s such a good idea to get involved early! Many clubs and FACSOCs offer “Fresher Rep” positions which allow you to engage with a range of students.
Zoe, our other OCM, is majoring in Economics and Political Science & International Relations and is in her second year. She says, “The Ed Council represents students and gives a voice to their concerns; its importance is seen in its ability to act on these concerns with real and sustainable solutions.” Something she wishes she had known in her first year: “Don’t stress over the small stuff, it’s your first year so you can make mistakes, get involved with a committee or clubs so you can meet new people and go to as many pubcrawls and events as you can - just put yourself out there!” Her fun fact: “My cat’s name is Bibble, named after the character from the Barbie Fairytopia series.”
(Ah yes, the one who got inexplicably hated on in Prosh last year...)
In addition to all of the folks above, we’re very fortunate to have Alevine as a third OCM. He is an experienced activist who will be managing the Education Action Network- an organisation which is crucial to defending our rights as students.
“Hey! I'm Alevine and I help to manage the Education Action Network on the Education Council. I'm a member of the Socialist Alternative club at UWA and believe that there are a range of systemic issues being generated by capitalism that is throwing the lives of millions of people globally into instability - whether that is the climate crisis, the rise in inflation and corresponding decline in living standards, or the ongoing intensification of imperialist tensions. I believe the Guild has a vital role to play in leading students. In particular, the Guild has a responsibility to lead left-wing, activist campaigns around social justice issues to empower students to fight for the issues that affect us and to fight for our rights. Taking up that responsibility and continuing to build a left-wing student fightback around social justice issues is my role as an ordinary committee member on Education Council.”
That’s just a little bit about our committee. We hope you’ve enjoyed Orientation Week and have gotten everything organised to kick off semester. To those of you wishing to find a spot on Reid Ground floor on any day other than Friday or before 6pm: good luck.