This article was submitted by a member of NUPSA’s Executive committee.
Being involved with the behind-the-scenes workings of NUPSA is an extremely rewarding experience. In addition to representing the student body and lobbying the University on postgraduate issues, members of the NUPSA Executive (and our dedicated staff) take great pride in the assortment of events we offer. We provide a lot of opportunities for students to meet each other, socialise and get work done that are not made available in other areas of the University. We are moving toward more ‘holistic’ events that involve students’ families and loved ones, and events that engage with students who are not Newcastle-based, or who study online.
Usually, running events is relatively fun, easy, and rewarding. However, it can get frustrating when things go wrong. A few of our events this year have been a bit less fun than others, and we’d like to say a bit about why. We really don’t like to complain – but there are things that you as students and event attendees can do to make our events run as smoothly as possible.
- Make sure you register for events that require it.
In order to run some of our events, we need students to register so that we know how many people we are expecting to be there. This is important when we need to order food, for example, or if there is limited space. When you come to an event without registering, it often means that there is not enough food to go around, or that the venue we have chosen for the event becomes cramped, and it is less enjoyable for everyone else. Usually, it’s not that big a deal. But it’s something you should consider when you scroll through our emails and our newsletters. If there’s a registration button, please click on it and put your name down!
- Make an effort to turn up to events that you have registered for.
If you have registered for an event, please try your best to turn up. When people register but don’t come, we often have too much food, which can end up going to waste. In some circumstances, it can ruin the event altogether, and one of our recent events is a good example of this.
Recently, we were offered an opportunity to take some students to Sydney to watch a game show taping. We were provided with a charter bus free of charge on the condition that we had a certain amount of students coming, and we had students register to indicate their interest. On the day, almost half of the students who registered didn’t show up.
This had two consequences – firstly, the company who provided our transport was quite upset, and they are unlikely to give us these opportunities in the future as a result. Secondly, as space was limited, many students who wanted to go but were turned away because we had too many registrations, missed out. For most events, it isn’t a big drama if you are unable to turn up. But for some bigger events like the one above, it can cause a lot of stress.
Either way, if you are unable to attend an event you have registered for, an email to the NUPSA office would be highly appreciated.
- Participate in events you come to.
When students come together for an event, it’s often their active participation and enthusiasm that makes it an enjoyable experience for everyone. If you make the effort to come to a NUPSA event, we’d really appreciate it if you stick around to chat, to participate and to meet others. It’s a bit disappointing when students show up to our events, eat the food and then leave. That isn’t the purpose of having food at our events. It’s pretty rude, and it has often meant that students who have come for the event have missed out on food.
- Be considerate of others and only take your fair share.
On a related topic, catering for our events is often a difficult task. As mentioned above, we primarily use registrations to determine the amount of food we provide. We usually try to cater per-head, making sure that each person will get an appropriate amount to eat.
When you attend a NUPSA event, it’s really important that you are considerate of other students and only take your fair share. We’ve had a few events where some students have taken an entire pizza (or more!) for themselves or have returned for seconds and thirds before others have had an opportunity to eat at all. Other times, we have spotted students packing pizza and other food away in their bags, preventing others from having something to eat. We have had vegan and coeliac students left without food to eat because others have eaten the vegan and gluten-free pizzas.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but that’s very unfair and it’s not acceptable. We don’t want to confront anybody about this, so please keep this in mind when attending our events. If food security is an issue for you, get in touch with us and we will see what we can do.
- Come to NUPSA events with an open mind.
NUPSA is a broad church. We represent all students, regardless of their backgrounds, their gender, their sexuality, their ethnicity, their religion, their political beliefs, whether they are domestic or international, whether they are Masters or PhD students, or whether their degrees are coursework- or research-based. When you’re at a NUPSA event, keep in mind that you will encounter a lot of different people. Always treat others with courtesy and respect and keep an open mind when encountering new concepts and ideas. You may even learn something!
We’ve got many more events in store for the rest of the year that we hope to see you at. We love putting events on for students and getting to know you all, but please keep all of the above points in mind to make our events enjoyable for everyone – you, us, and your fellow students as well!