What it’s like to campaign for USASA International Student Rep and NUS delegate?
by Xui (Diana),
Let me take you on a journey during the whole week (3rd– 14th Oct 2016) on what it’s like campaigning. First of all, a lot of students may be wondering, “What is USASA? Why do students campaign?” And, importantly, “What does USASA have to do with us?”
USASA stands for University of South Australia Student Association, which is basically like a student union. A student union, that wants to be UniSA students’ voice, provides services, such as selling second-hand textbooks, social/cultural clubs, and advocates and supports the struggle of students’ assignment and examination, and even organise events like Unitopia, USASA Club Fest, and so forth. Students, who are running for USASA, have a variety of roles such as President, Post-Graduate, International, Aboriginal, and home-campus representatives (i.e. Magill, City West, City East, Mawson Lake, Mount Gambier & Whyalla). Moreover, they change the student board annually.
Besides that, every student union in Australia needs a National Union of Students (NUS) Delegates, who represent on behalf of the university (e.g. UniSA). NUS delegates seek to protect and advance the rights and interests of students by working with campus-based student organisations, running actions and campaigns, and making sure the voices of students are heard by parliamentarians. They discuss important issues such as welfare, women, queer, international student, etc.
Right now, you are probably wondering why I am interested in running for International Student Representative and NUS delegate. I had a coffee time with a friend who’s running as President of USASA, and she asked me whether I am interested running as International Student Rep. I wasn’t sure what I was going for, and have a lots of thought going through my head. I was thinking for a week on what I can do to help current and future international students (e.g. safe campus, scholarships, cheap food options, etc.). One week later, my friend came back and asked me the same question. I decided to accept her invitation.
Later, I found out we are forming a group called ACTIVATE, to meet other fellow candidates who are running for other positions. The candidates are awesome, lovely, and supportive to one another, before our campaigning. We get to have bonding session by doing banner painting, photo shooting, and share our interest on how can we help our fellow students.
Here is my campaign experience
I went to Jeffery Smart Building (JSB) early morning and met up with my fellow candidates. They gave me flyers readily and wished me luck on campaigning. I was nervous, and it took me five minutes to be okay, just to ask or have conversations with students about USASA election. It was interesting to meet students, as I tried to talk to them. This meme explains how I felt when I received rejections. There are times when you feel a little rage and wondering why these people reject you, besides being late for class or busy finishing their assignment.
Reference : https://memegenerator.net/Beaker-Mimimi/caption
I had second thoughts on whether I should continue to campaign, as I felt a bit overwhelmed from students. However, I continued to campaign throughout the day, and suddenly I developed this new feeling (according to the meme). With some positivity and receiving some advice and support from friends, I strived to chat with some students, as it turns out I have wonderful conversation with them.
USASA is having a BBQ session along with voting booth. I get to meet other candidates and all of them are lovely people. We are standing around Jeffery Smart Building (JSB), waiting for students coming from lecture or tutorials heading to library. Students have to walk and pass us, since JSB is a library and Campus Central. Therefore, they have no choice but to walk past us. This is what I imagine most students feel, whenever my fellow candidates and I ask that question.
And, this is what I think of how other candidates feel and feeling hunger for students who did not vote yet.
I went to City East for a fresh start on meeting some students from Health Sciences streams. I went up to a student and ask whether she has voted yet. Funnily, she was asking me, whether USASA student board have been proactive making the changes from their promises they have made. I was surprise and happy that there are some students who cared about it. I answered her, “I believe they do, especially this year’s student board has made lots of changes (e.g. creating Women Collective, creating multicultural events, improve Unitopia, workshops and etc.)”
Overall, I enjoyed the experience of campaigning for both International rep and NUS delegate, even though it was exhausting, through good times and bad times. I got to meet different kinds of people from different walks of life, from nice to interesting people. Also, I got to know the different side of me and build self-confidence speaking to strangers, things that people may want to listen to or not.
Thanks again to my fellow ACTIVATE members, family, friends and students for being supportive, and vote for me to be the next International Student Rep. I would like to shout out to my friends Sorubini, Sarah, Lucy, Monamee and Chris for being there and being great listeners. Also, not to forget to mention to other fellow candidates, it was lovely to stand by your side while campaigning, and strive our passion to students!
Read about election results at http://usasa.sa.edu.au/election.