On the 4th and 5th of February, the Monash University Student Association (MUSA) for 2017 sat through their very first MUSA Meeting for the year – a meeting that was undeniably a success and a good start for a trial run. Held in the MUSA Office, it was attended by almost every representative from every department under the MUSA umbrella including our newly included division, the Monash University International Student Society (MUISS).
The meeting kicked off at 3p.m on Saturday with Janesh Nathan, the MUSA president delivering his first MUSA meeting report which among others highlighted the importance of practicing the five main code of conducts within MUSA; professionalism, integrity, discipline, accountability and leadership, all of which are values that he believes are imperative in creating a conducive working environment for all members. He also reiterated on the importance of adhering to the standard house rules implemented in the office and emphasized on what MUSA stands for and the need for strengthened relations and increased collaborations between its departments and divisions. However, the president’s report presentation unexpectedly went on for nearly two hours before the student council was given a five minute break to stretch and grab something to eat. Vandana Ratnani, the Vice President then took the floor to speak on her department’s subsidies and incentives for competitions and conferences and the different merchandises which she plans to hold a sale for on campus in the upcoming weeks upon the start of the semester. These include new items like water bottles and varsity jackets. The General Secretary, Priyanka Subramaniam then proceeded with her report, explaining the standard operating procedures for the student council and regulations on carrying out motions and by-elections, among others.
In the report of newly-elected MUISS President, Mohsin Ali, he explained the rough itinerary that his department has in store for the students, particularly international students for this year, with some events sparking a huge interest from local students who want to be involved as well. These include the planned Holi Festival and their homestay getaway which is still under works, all dependent on a pending budget but predicted to be held during the semester break of both the semesters.
Late into evening, the meeting saw two more departments present their reports – Activities Chairpersons Akanksha and Franklin explaining their proposition in regards to the Orientation Bash and the Monash Annual Ball all under five minutes and Welfare Officer, Shaun Stanley presented his report which included the details of the commencement of the MUSA Lounge, plans to bring in new attractions into the space in the future (Hint: It’s a PS4) and proposal of free parking spots for MUSA members. The latter was however put on hold after further discussion was made on how this could be unfair to the other students who were not in MUSA and having to fork out amounts ranging from RM2 to RM 5 daily for parking. Further ideas to tweak the proposal were then made but it was finally decided that it should be dealt with the administrators first before a collective decision was reached by all MUSA members.
The last three report presentations of the day included reports from the School of Arts and Social Sciences, the School of Business and the School of Engineering’s representatives. They all tentatively had the same agendas planned out, some of which included plans to hold social events like the Movie Night, sport outings and road and field trips to different destinations and industries but it was emphasized that no plan would be definite until a budget is set in place for each department, something the Treasurers have yet to speak to any department about as of the 4th and 5th of February.
The following day; 5th of February, saw the other four schools present their reports, namely the School of IT, the School of Medicine and Health Science, the School of Pharmacy and the School of Science – roughly similar agendas were planned for these schools like the ones presented the day before, all in the hopes of fostering close relationships among students and increasing more social interaction while being disengaged from social media and technology in general, a point that was strongly underlined by Terry Lee, Engineering Rep in his presentation the day before.
Following that, the Treasurers then took the floor to speak about the standard of procedures they had in place when it comes to finances, their regulations on ticketing control and standardised receipt production and the reminder to all members to alert them at all times whenever they make a purchase under the student council. The report was presented by the love birds, Brandon and Michelle to ensure that it was well understood on how the financing process would function in the long run.
As the meeting proceeded into the evening, the Clubs & Societies officer spoke about their planned events for both the semesters, with the highlight being the Monash Cup that was expected to be held some time in semester two. The Publicity Officers then elaborated on their events which included a donut and coffee give-away, organising a T-shirt sale and proposing new ideas to boost the outreach of their Facebook posts, something that is believed to be extremely important in a world that is more connected virtually than physically these days.
The Wom*n’s Officers came right after to speak about their roles in being ever-present for anyone who is in dire need of their assistance, especially to liaise with more professional help. Everything is promised to be strictly confidential. They also presented their planned events for the year which included a Week 1 kick-off with the International Women’s Day with a huge focus on domestic abuse, organising an Anti-Street Harrasment Week, a Breast Cancer Awareness Week and a proposal for an exciting new event – the Sadie Hawkins dance. Should it happen, this dance would witness a reversal in gender roles and the shattering of stereotypes where girls would have to ask guys out to the dance instead of the traditional “boys ask girls out”. However it is all still pending on what they hope would be sufficient funds to hold the event.
This dance would witness a reversal in gender roles and the shattering of stereotypes where girls would have to ask guys out to the dance instead.
In what was one of the last reports presentation of the day, the Editors spoke about their new website – musamonga.com, the bi-annual MONGA Magazine and their plans for the Orientation Booklet this year, both of which are important component in engaging the student community.
The first of the ten MUSA Meetings saw a lot of ideas and insights being introduced, each of which we all hope would be put into action and implemented in the long run. If you would like to know the details of the meeting, do check out the business paper attached. For more updates on MUSA and it’s meetings, visit our Twitter account -@musaMONGA!
Words by Calvin Fernandez
Pictures by Andrew Peter Lim