I love governance and all it entails, I have seen many processes at work in different work and volunteering situations but the University’s governance system has definitely fascinated me. One of the reasons why I ran for my role in AUSA as Campaign’s Officer was so I could learn more about the governance systems of the university and how the students can play a more active role in that.
On the 14th of May as a part of my role in AUSA, I attended a Sustainability Workshop hosted by Generation Zero, a club on campus that the Sustainability office of the University had reached out to, to organise this event. This was a great opportunity for clubs, other students and staff who cared about issues regarding the environment to come together and voice their thoughts around what the University could include in their revised Sustainability Policy.
Knowing that this is an area of importance to many students and the university it was great to see the variety of environmentally focussed clubs represented. We were given the task to brainstorm around a few key areas of the University policy and how we could suggest institutional reform. At the end of the night this information was to be collated by Generation Zero and given to the university in a report.
Many great ideas came out of this evening and I would hope looking forward into the reviewing of the new policy, that the same, but ideally an even greater, level of student engagement is continued. When it comes to issues such as these that hold great weight in the hearts of many students who invest in this fine institution, it is a matter that needs to have student involvement. If not, I believe that our work will be in vain and it was merely a tick box communication with students around this policy issue. I think that for the betterment of this process that clubs not only like Generation Zero but who are actively involved/passionate about the writing of such policy should be included in the continued conversation to ensure a fair representation of student opinion.
I would like to give props to the Sustainability office of the University for initiating the conversation in the first place. It is something that needs to be carried through many other areas of the University and I feel as though they are beginning to bring students to the table but more can always be done. Also a big shout out to Generation Zero for organising the event and reaching out to everyone to get a greater representation, it was awesome to see Clubs like Fossil Free UoA, Sustainable Future Collective, and so many more represented on the night. In order for our voice to be truly heard as it was on the night, I think it takes the same united effort as this took.
I am so grateful to AUSA for giving me the opportunity to partake in this evening, it was amazing to see just what can come out of a few environmentally inclined University students when put to the task of institutional reform. I look forward to continuing this conversation with the university in the months to come if they will have our input.