Bustanul Arifin – Illuminate
What sparked your interest in student politics?
Talking about politics is talking about policies. When I like to change some things, I need to change some policies there. So, involving in politics brings me in the space of opportunity to make some changes to policies, and then by being involved in the guild, I can propose new polices and we can reform some things. Policies are something that makes me make a difference. That’s the reason why I like student politics.
What is the purpose of the role you are running for?
Talking about the Post Graduate Student Committee is (talking) about how we can change some experiences for Post Graduate students at Curtin University. Because this position, this role, will bring some changes, some adjustments for students for a better experience … We need to build a better environment for Post Graduate students in order to drive for a better outcome for them.
If elected as PGSC President, what will you do to improve the experience of post grad students at Curtin?
I think there will be several polices I will introduce as amendments. I will makes some programs to build a better environment and experience for Post Graduate students. In this context, for example, I would like to propose a new idea in order to make polices which are friendly and consistent for students. In this context, we would like to see students have a better experience … In finance, a student might have feelings of problems for funding. For example, a lot of students here in this university, Post Graduate students who get scholarships might only get a scholarship for three years and a half, and sometimes (students) need to finish the study in four years. Then, for the rest of the semester they need to pay for the tuition fee. I think we need to discuss with the university in order to find a better way to help the students, help them deal with the issue. Because, a lot of students with the scholarship, when they do the study, they need more time then the duration of the scholarship.
Another thing is that I would like for Post Graduate students to have a better experience and better opportunity for themselves to interact with the industries and get ready for internships. Because, in this context, when we talk about Post Graduate students, we need to bring a better environment for them and how they can balance theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge. So that they have a lot of study at university and can learn how they can get experience as well outside of the university. The University should support them, not only to ask them to find an internship outside of university by themselves, but also to open the channel for them to bring the opportunity for them.
I also want to make change for better policies that can be adjusted with the circumstances. Because we are coming from a lot of backgrounds of research, and sometimes a students have mental issues because of the pressure of study, and we need to discuss with each faculty about the issues for students.
The last thing is, like Curtin College at the university here in this context, is to provide a good approach for the Post Graduate students coming from various background of research. Sometime students have might a lot of experience, but some do not have it. We need to provide new training for those new insights, new material and new class of programs to empower students.
What’s your own confession at Curtin, or what’s a Curtin life hack you’ve found?
I have a lot to say about this one. First thing that comes in mind is for Post Graduate students. Most of my time I spend in the Research Hub. So for the Post Graduate students, we have access for the Research Hub. The Research Hub is the place where Post Graduate students come and have a space to work and do their research. We have the opportunity to interact with other Post Graduate students there and you get a free coffee, free meals, free chocolate etc. Everything in our kitchen there is only accessed by the Post Graduate students. We meet these people almost every day … Everyone might bring a cake one day, and another one might bring other food, and then we share food a lot in our Research Hubs. We share a lot of stories too. If you want to have a very relaxed time, go to the Research Hub, because you will meet a lot of friends and then you can share your experience with your friends and you can get feedback from them. Sometimes you can help other friends as well with their issues, and you build networks and share your research.
Another one is that here at university, we have a lot of stations like cafes. When people close, for example like the Basement cafe, when they close at four, five or ten minutes before they close, they give discounts sometimes for the food … But not everyday, it depends on if they still have food or not.
Clare Francis – Left Action
Clare is a member of Left Action and has been involved in many left-wing campaigns for refugee rights and LGBTI education education. Clare has had experience within the National Union of Students as a delegate and national office bearer.
“Our conditions are tied to the broader staff conditions on campus. This is why it’s crucial for postgrads that the guild and PSC to support NTEU organising, especially its industrial action and organising of casuals, ” Clare’s candidate profile reads.
“We also need to be connected to an activist strategy within the National Union of Students. This is the only thing that can push for more federal education funding, resistance to corporatised universities and action on the cost-of-living crisis.”
Grok Magazine approached Caitlin for comment but did not receive a response.