Hana Arai, who has been Curtin’s Science and Engineering Representative for the past two years, recently took up the position of Education Vice President following the resignation of Lydia Berhan. Hana has a passion for punching goals for the student body, and representing your voice on campus.
How was Hana elected?
Hana’s appointment followed a rigorous process that began at the end of March, when the notice of a vacancy was sent to members of the Representation Board.
The Representation Board is a Guild body made up of dedicated students who work with the Vice President—Education to improve representation and plan future campaigns for the Guild.
The members of the Representation Board are elected to their faculty or equity positions at the annual general election. Internal appointments are classed as a ‘body appointment’. This process exists to ensure that experienced candidates, who understand the workings and responsibility of the Guild, have the opportunity to nominate themselves and rise to the occasion.
Hana, the elected Science and Engineering Faculty Representative and the Chair of the Representation Board, was the sole eligible nominee for the role of VP-E, and was consequently elected via a ‘body appointment.
What does this role mean to Hana?
Earlier this week I spoke with Hana about the role, and asked her why she thought she was the sole nominee.
“The VP-E role comes with a very large portfolio,” she said. “It’s a significant commitment that will command most of one’s time for the entire year. This doesn’t leave much room for studying, or other extracurricular activities.”
Hana said that she put her hand up for the same reasons she got involved with Guild in the first place.
“I want to push the wants, concerns, and needs of students into the spotlight and actually make the changes that students want to see,” said Hana “[But on] a more personal note, I feel as though I’ve grown a lot during my time in the Guild. I’ve become a more compassionate person, and I’ve developed a genuine drive to protect the education and university experience of myself and my peers.”
Hana believes that young Australians “deserve a higher education that not only prepares them for the workforce, but one that is safe, supportive, and fun.” She also believes that the definition of education in a university context is rapidly expanding.
“Now more than ever it’s about community, it’s about social awareness, it’s about challenging oneself, and about growing and branching out into the world,” she said.
“Education, equity, and welfare are, and should be interlinked. [It’s] about giving everyone the opportunity to thrive and go for their dreams. Education is a fundamental human right, and we should be doing everything we can to ensure that education is accessible and that everyone is given that opportunity.”
At the end of 2017, we saw a $2.2 billion cut with a funding freeze on student places. This week, the Government has announced it will cut nearly $330 million from University research. With her experiences in the University and within the student body, the Guild is very excited to see what Hana does with this role.
Note: Within the Guilds by-laws, there are many different appointment mechanisms implemented depending on which role is vacant. If you’re interested in reading more, download the Guild’s by-laws here.
Chris Hall is a member of Illuminate, and is the current Secretary for the Curtin Student Guild.