Spring has finally arrived. Or is it summer? With some of the hottest weather on season I’m not so sure anymore….For those of you that enjoy the beautiful sunshine that comes with this time of year, I have three very important words of advice.

Slip. Slop. Slap.

What exactly does this strange use of sibilance mean in this context? The Australian sun is quite is a nasty beast so whenever you’re outside experiencing some of the lovely Newcastle surrounds, always ensure you slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.

With the arrival of our spring season comes a pretty busy period for NUPSA. Over the last month we have continued with a number of popular workshop series including our very successful Shut Up and Write Boot camp series. We are currently running these series across Callaghan and Ourimbah over the next coming months, and I strongly encourage you guys to check them out. We are also looking to potentially run these at different campuses and in different hours for those of you who work during the days. If you’re interested then please register for the event or contact the office to show your support.

September also saw an amazing Pride Week event which was organised by the UON Queer collective. This year’s Pride Week celebrations included our second Postgraduate Queer Research evening which was the brainchild of NUPSA’s very own LGBTQI representative. This event provided attendees with a relaxed and welcoming space to share and learn about some of the LBGTQI focused research and creative projects taking place across UON campuses. Performances ranged from conference style presentations, to poetry and book readings, to a full musical piece. It was a great experience and the event highlighted the extensive diversity among our postgraduate student body at UON. I’d like to thank all those who participated in the event and also give a very special thank you to Barrie Shannon, our LGBTI representative, and Ellie Clay, our Student Support Officer, for putting all the pieces together.

Did you get one of our free fortune cookies? As a lot of major events seemed to coalesce at once, September also saw NUPSA participate in R U OK Day at Callaghan campus. R U OK Day is an annual day in September dedicated to reminding people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question “Are you okay?”.  It was recently reported in the HDR Satisfaction Survey that around one in two HDR students are experiencing somewhat or high levels of stress – and one in three reported that they were not functioning well in everyday life. It’s really important to make sure that, as a postgraduate student community,  we work together to help each other out and offer our support when times are tough. To help prompt that conversation this year, we used fortune cookies with positive messages of support to help break the ice, but also for that person to reflect on their own well-being. And of course they’re absolutely delicious as well! Thank you also to all the students who participated in the videos for the day and I hope it helped us think about our own mental health and well-being.

Lastly, NUPSA elections are on the horizon. You should have received an email last week asking you to nominate for the NUPSA executive. We have a diverse portfolio of positions which represent and advocate for postgraduate students across UON. For those of you interested in representing your student body and advocating for your peers, I would strongly encourage you to nominate for a position on the executive. Supporting and advocating for students at UON has been a wonderful experience – I look forward to seeing as passionate an executive in 2018 as I have had the pleasure of working with this year.

As always, I hope you are well.

James

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