Max Zhang – Illuminate
What sparked your interest in student politics?
I’ve always been involved since high school in student activism, helping students out with their studying and their daily life and all that. I then come in at university and got more involved. The university Guild is a lot more in touch than any other thing I’ve experienced in the past and I got more and more involved in it that way.
What is the purpose of this role?
I’m the main person that organises the student societies and clubs, help facilitate them. Also all of the events on campus big and small, whether it’s your faculty based events, equity based events, or big ones like raves or balls, I help facilitate and run all that.
What do you think of Athina Hilman’s performance in the role this year?
It’s going to be a tall bar to beat for sure, she’s set a really high standard for whoever succeeds her in that role. If I am elected I think I will be able to surpass it but it’s going to be hard. She’s done a pretty good job.
What Guild events this year stand out to you, and what events do you have in store for next year?
Big stand out events for me this year; the ball, that was amazing – I had a blast, I got absolutely hammered. And then the other one y2k – y2k was the fever dream, all of the music was around the era I grew up in and the music I got in touch with when I migrated here so it feels nice to be back and a lot of nostalgia, I really enjoyed that. As for events I’m excited to bring, working with the faculty reps and the equity reps to bring whatever events they have in mind. It’s always excited [to hear] different people’s opinions, it’s very fun. Also Illuminate has helped try and get a music festival on campus for a while now. I want to see it succeed, I want to bring it to life. It’s something I’m passionate about.
Outside of events, what other activities do you have planned?
The giveaway stuff that the Guild runs – the free food, the sausage sizzles … Also what I want to bring to campus is one of the big campaign groups we this year as a group is scooters on campus. I have one myself personally and it helps me get around the place – I know the treck from north to south for those that make it is pretty long. Like personally I have to make that treck three to four times a day so having scooters on campus can really help out.
The Guild currently runs a freely available migration session for all international students and it’s something that I wish to continue and it’s something that the Guild will provide for all students and it’s really helpful.
What’s your own confession at Curtin or what’s a Curtin life hack you have found?
Life hack – biggest tip from me if you want some healthy food around campus. If you want something that’s not chips and oil, go to Concept. They have these fantastic salads, these wraps that have a little bit of protein in them – it’s my go to place when I’m feeling healthy.
Rob Vusak – Left Action
What sparked your interest in student politics?
So I’ve just been interested in politics generally for a while now. I got involved in the socialist club at Curtin. The socialist club, basically we think the whole capitalist system is pretty terrible [and] we kind of want to do whatever we can to organise around socialist politics here on campus and off campus as well. We see the Guild as a really important part of that. The Curtin Guild is supposed to be representing students interests so we’re going to be fighting for a better world for students or whatever. There’s a long history of Guilds and student unions being really important places for student activism and for socialist activism as well – even at Curtin here. About 50 years ago the Curtin Guild was run by socialists and were really important activists against war, against racism and stuff. There’s a long history of that and I think it would be good to get some of that stuff back.
What is the purpose of the role you are running for?
I’m running for Activities VP and you can do a lot of things in that position I guess. At the moment the people who are currently running the Guild are using it to organise parties or special events or whatever, so that’s one thing you can do a bit. As a socialist I want to organise activism and stuff – so looking to use it as an activist position to run protests and things like that.
What do you think of Athina Hilman’s performance in the role this year as Vice President – Activities?
Pretty good. Obviously I have a lot of criticisms, I think it could be a lot more activism. It’s good that a woman does support our activism when we put that on and that’s shown our willingness to cooperate with us, which is good. I think there’s a lot of interesting things that they put on, like that kind of social things are interesting sometimes … Obviously I’d be looking to do more political stuff with it [the role].
What Guild events this year stand out to you and what Guild events next year do you have in mind?
The good events that stand out to me, I think the support for our abortion rights campaign was good, and their support for the Women’s Day was good. I think in terms that stand out for me and what the Guild stands for are parties that they put on – that represents what the current Guild is about. A couple of weeks ago they had something they called Love Week, I would say that represents how the Guild currently runs for me. To be honest I think that’s pretty useless, just saying. Maybe that’s a critical thing but that stands out to me …. Obviously there are so many important issues facing students, facing young people, like how our uni can support us.
Outside of events what other activities would you bring to students?
Outside of events and activism, I also think the Guild should be supporting a more political environment on campus like supporting meetings and discussions about that kind of stuff. The more students can engage with that kind of thing, and the more the Guild supports that kind of culture, the more students can be involved in that kind of stuff and can create a culture of activism that will actually change things … More of that basically.
What’s your own confession at Curtin, or what’s a Curtin life hack you’ve found?
My Curtin hack would be, not many people are aware but there’s a really great way at Curtin to get involved and fighting a change … Joining the socialist club and voting Left Action – that’s my Curtin life hack.
A full video of the interview can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LwOwKen6HRfFX4yHqBbKK8alAPIVaGb1/view?usp=drive_link