NUPSA President, Ash McIntyre, brings you up to date with everything we’ve been doing this past month.
March takes us nice and early into one of the busiest months on campus. International Women’s Day, Sexual Health Awareness Week and Harmony Day all occur in March, with the University and student associations facilitating events, workshops and festivals to celebrate and educate. Our newsletter this month, however, was inspired by another day in March: the International Day of Happiness. The festival is a non-profit movement from 160 countries that aims to highlight progress as being intrinsically linked to happiness and well-being.
In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted the perspective that happiness should become a “fundamental human goal”, calling for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”. The first International Day of Happiness was celebrated in 2013.
Naturally, happiness is a goal worth striving for, no matter who you are. For us postgrads, however, it can be a goal that is all too easy to forget about as theses, classes, research, conferences, papers and experiments become priorities. You can take this as NUPSA’s reminder to take the time to focus on your own well-being and happiness! So, make sure you have a read of this month’s fantastic student submissions, and have a think about the spaces in your life where you find moments of happiness.
Now, to business. This past month has been another busy one for NUPSA: we met heaps of new and returning students at our O-Week stalls, encountered the media at our beach safety session (see some of our now-famous students here and here), and sent our Vice-President to the annual Universities Australia Higher Education Conference in Canberra (look for details in an upcoming report on our website).
From our O-Week beach safety session and BBQ.
We also ran our first TGI Friday of the year at the Clarendon Hotel, an event we run monthly to help you guys come together, meet each other, and divulge the stresses and triumphs you’ve experienced throughout the month with other postgrads (sounds a good strategy for self-care and happiness, no?). We’re also proud to announce that we had the opportunity to financially support the launch of the University of Newcastle Crisis Support Line, details for which can be found in our ‘Behind the Scenes’ section of the newsletter.
Beyond this, NUPSA has been focusing on developing a regular monthly event at NeW Space to mirror our monthly Shut Up and Write sessions at Callaghan and Ourimbah (and now online), movie nights at Callaghan, and Wii Wars at HMRI. So, look out for our soon-to-commence monthly trivia nights at NewSpace!
This month, we have also made some of our merchandise available to online students, and have received an overwhelming response. NUPSA is investigating different ways to engage with the online space, and we welcome any ideas from students to help increase our digital presence and build communities between online and on-campus students.
Our first Thank God It’s (TGI) Friday evening at the Clarendon Hotel.
I would also like to share an opportunity for those of you who would like to get engaged in student advocacy on a broader level. NUPSA is an affiliate of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA), whose primary aim is to support and advocate for the rights, interests and needs of all students undertaking postgraduate study in Australia. Currently, three positions are available on the CAPA executive: General Secretary, Women’s Officer and Queer Officer.
For more information on CAPA, their initiatives and recent media releases, I’d encourage you to have a look at their website. If you are interested in getting involved and running for a position, contact NUPSA and we can assist you with the application process.
That’s all from me, but in the spirit of the theme of happiness, I encourage you to stop for a while, make yourself a cuppa, and have a read through some of our newsletter. (I hear Penny is great for a laugh!) I’d also recommend taking some time out on the 21st of March to check out the Harmony Day celebrations. We have some of our postgrads sharing activities from home, including a traditional Easter egg painting stall, a shamanic trance drumming session, and a group of military band musicians demonstrating traditional Scottish piping! Do come along, check out the festivities, and support your fellow postgrads.
Until next time,