It is the time of year again where any available wall-space is covered in colourful posters announcing candidates for Curtin’s Student Guild. The walk-ways become increasingly crowded and (if you want to avoid the campaign processions) walking to class becomes a complicated series of manoeuvres.
But the question we are really all asking ourselves is: What is the Guild? What do they do? And why should I care?
What is the Guild?
In simple terms, the Guild is the student union at Curtin, it is run by students for students with the goal to ensure the student experience is protected and a high quality of education maintained.
In a recent conversation with current Guild President, Hana Arai, she explained that “[The Guild’s] primary ‘manifesto’ is to protect students’ education”.
“The Guild is a fully democratic body and all the reps are voted in by the students. We’d love it if there was increased engagement because, at the end of the day, the Guild is what students pay for with 50 per cent of their SAAF.”
What does the Guild do?
At Curtin, the Guild has three primary roles:
This is official representation through student representatives. They sit on boards and panels, read agendas, make sure they’re involved in every decision being made in the university, and sit in on policy making. The reps comb through them and interpret them to try to understand if any decision that is being made comes at the detriment of the student experience. So, for example, any new degrees coming in, are looked through to make sure things like assessment schedules are equitable and follow university policy.
- 2. Activities
Essentially, the Guild makes sure that the campus is fun and vibrant. The Guild facilitates all of the clubs and societies, hosts activities and makes sure that the students get to engage with each other. In a normal year the Guild organises a thorough activities calendar—which this year largely moved online due to COVID-19. Essentially, this part of the role facilitates a way to bring students together
- 3. Services
The final role of the Guild is student assistance. In a way the Guild’s Student Assist operates as kind of a student safety net for a lot of students. If you’ve been pinned for academic misconduct and you don’t know why, the Student Assist team will help you to understand your rights and show you how to make an appeal letter. If you are struggling financially, they know exactly who to contact. They have even set up a laptop loan system, and a food bank. But they also deal with issues of the academic kind, if you suspect you are being treated unfairly in a class, or that your tutor isn’t following assessment guidelines and policies, they know what to do. They are a one-stop-shop for student support, and they work case by case.
Aside from these roles, the Guild is involved with a lot of activism—and is keen to fight for issues that matter to students. These would be things like wage theft, job insecurity, climate change, university fee changes, Black Lives Matter, supporting First Nations students, taking a stand against celebration on invasion day…
In other words: The Guild is here for you, the student.
Why should you care?
Election time is your opportunity to have your voice heard and elect who you want your representative to be. The chaos that this year witnessed showed that the Guild is here to help students, to give students a voice in the decisions being made that affect us, and ensure future students have a good system to come into. These elections are your opportunity to be heard, to pick who will speak on our behalf.
Student Guild Elections will commence next Monday the 21st of September and run until Thursday the 24th of September. Voting will take place in Club HQ, right between the Tav and Concept Café.