In her final monthly report as NUPSA President, Ash McIntyre reflects on all the things we’ve achieved in the past two years.
This is an emotional newsletter for me, as it is my last ever official ‘From the President’s Desk’. I joined the NUPSA Executive part-way through 2016 as its Research Representative, a position I held until the end of 2017, when I was elected President. Finishing my second year as President is very strange; I find it difficult to imagine what doing a PhD is like without NUPSA. Initially, I had planned submission (like I’m sure we all do) for the 3.5 year point. NUPSA has certainly set that back – but I’m hoping to submit in March/April, which will put me at the ‘4 years and 4 months’ mark. Not too bad, all things considered.
I have loved (almost) every minute I’ve been a part of the NUPSA Executive, but especially my years as President. I feel like we have achieved some wonderful things in the past couple of years. We have played a major role in turning Pride Week into the University’s biggest annual festival. We are now qualified to deliver Mental Health First Aid training to staff and students. We have launched the international student mentoring initiative to support incoming international students with their transition to Australia. We will have presented original research at three conferences by the end of this year.
We’ve seen the launch of the University’s Mental Health Strategy. We’ve introduced a whole new suite of writing workshops. We’ve engaged with student families through numerous events for the first time in NUPSA’s history. We’ve discovered many, many secret postgraduate artists through our suite of art, craft, dance and cooking classes. We’ve introduced ‘big ticket events’, enabling students to swim with sharks, go to Luna Park, explore Sydney Zoo and tour Maitland Gaol at significantly discounted rates!
We’ve provided casual employment for two student newsletter contributors, and a pair of fabulous yoga instructors. We’ve launched monthly trivia, now one of our most successful regular student events. We’ve seen supervisor training become compulsory for all new academics. We’ve increased student participation steadily each year, and introduced bi-monthly orientation sessions for new students. We’ve introduced regular monthly events and drop-ins for HMRI and Sydney campuses.
Last year, we hosted CAPA’s Annual Conference in Newcastle for the first time. We attracted the attention of Warner Bros with our Facebook vlogs, and were invited to send a busload of postgraduate students to a live television screening. We won two consecutive CAPA awards for Welfare Initiative of the Year. When the University cut Philosophy as a course, we introduced our own suite of philosophy workshops with Dr Bill Pascoe. And we launched the Student Representative Restructure, that will see better and broader representation for all students!
Off the top of my head, these are some of the things I am proudest of. 😊
I have had so much fun meeting and working with all of you. We have such a vibrant, diverse and wonderfully talented cohort of students! I hope we have been able to improve your student experience in some way – I know you have all drastically improved mine!
For those reading this who have not yet engaged with NUPSA, I highly recommend you do so, if only to meet other students and become an active part of this amazing student community. Start clubs, come to workshops and events, and remember that you aren’t alone. Let us know your concerns – we are all in this together (corny but true).
I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavours, and thank you all for everything!
PS: If you haven’t already, vote, so NUPSA can continue its great work with a caring and productive Executive!