It was a Friday, with a long weekend ahead – a well-deserved one that is for every single person in 6303 that evening but before any one of us could embark on that much anticipated journey back home, there was a meeting we all had to deal with, at 9.30 p.m. with almost little to no energy left in our little, exhausted bodies. It was the 4th Monash Student Council meeting, the second last student council meeting of the semester where members of MUSA as well as students once again come together to discuss on new updates and to make decisions, some being more important than the other.
Janesh Nathan, MUSA President kicked off the meeting with the presentation of his business paper which included information on event budgets and how members should adhere to deadlines to prevent rejection of proposals. He also spoke on the importance of streamlining communication on campus to prevent any forms of miscommunication and the issuing of MUSA certificates. It was established that the certificates will only be issued for MUSA members, MUSA sub-committee members, committee members of clubs and societies and the Monash University Volunteer Programme (MUVP). An issue was then brought up in regards to different certificates that were to be awarded to the subcommittee members as well as the MUSA members. This issue revolved around the fact that apparently, only MUSA members were to receive certificates from the University while subcommittee members would receive MUSA-issued certificates. There was a deal of unfairness that was focused in this discussion between the President and a few other MUSA members who believed that subcommittee members who worked just as hard as MUSA members do deserve a certificate issued by the University as well. Janesh has said that his issue will be deliberated further and he will be having discussions on how to resolve this hence a decision on the certification will not be definite until further notice.
He also announced the number of subcommittee members that MUSA has this year, with 131 members. With a huge number of subcommittee members, Janesh has expressed that he hopes all subcommittee members in different departments can come together as one to help each other out for the betterment of the student council itself. Before ending his speech, he hinted on a discussion soon on how there would be a restructuring soon that may and probably will affect all the members of MUSA including the President himself.
The Activities Chairperson, Franklin Tan then took the floor to speak about a few things, one of it being the resignation of his partner Akanksha Mehta due to personal reasons that were not revealed. He has assured the council that he is very much capable of handling the department by himself and has got the support of his Activities Advisory Committee (AAC) that will be filling up Akanksha’s spot. He presented the feedback from some of the events that had taken place this semester including the Orientation Bash, MUSA Day and Discover Monash, all of which were highly successful and received a lot of positive feedback. He had also announced the postponement of “RUN!”, an emulation of the highly popular “Amazing Race” due to poor planning. He said that it is tentatively due to take place next semester instead, specifically on August 12th.
The Activities Chairperson then proposed for the implementation of department heads and subcommittee members as Orientation Buddies only for next semester due to the huge logistic mess that had taken place during the March intake. This is to mean that students who are not members of MUSA would no longer be given the opportunity to be recruited as Buddies. This proposal was voted on and 10 votes were garnered out of the 23 votes to bring the motion forward with a huge majority of the members either abstaining or were against, indicating that MUSA has agreed to pass the motion based on a majority.
*UPDATE: Clarification from Gen Sec, 9 voted For, 6 voted Abstain, 6 voted Against for the motion mentioned above. Reason why it was 21 votes out of 23 because 2 members did not grant their voting right to anyone and were absent/had to leave early. Apologies from the Editorial Board.*
A debate on the situation somehow still persists on whether is it really fair to deny students the opportunity to be Buddies just because of a few rotten apples? Some students may perceive it as the only opportunity to break out of their social circle, to explore a different side of the university and as an opportunity to make friends while they still can and for some, it could even be a ground-breaking moment when they actually step out of their comfort zone.
So, the question here remains – do we actually value the meaning of being a Buddy? Do we perceive it as just another job, another duty or do we actually know what it means to want to be important, to be useful and to be validated, even as just another stranger who is willing to help a new student? This is not just a question for MUSA – it is also directed to students. Why would MUSA decide such things if it was not for some students who had not taken the job seriously? But then again, it is not fair to blame everyone else for one rotten apple now, is it? Is denying students the chance to be a Buddy a right decision? The issue of whether Buddies and helpers would be getting a certificate anymore starting from the July intake onwards was also brought up but Janesh has emphasised that he would be having more discussions before a decision is made.
Hannah and Jasmine then proceeded with the meeting where they spoke about their highly successful Sadie Hawkins dance that saw 144 students turn up at the dance venue named “Ruang” in Subang Jaya. They also spoke about their widely shared promotional video which garnered about 7,300 views (it was pretty sweet) and the 161 tickets that were sold prior to the dance.
Tze Lin, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences representative then went on to speak about the several events that had taken place in the School of Medicine including the movie night, the Toastmasters Presentation workshop where different aspects of presentation were discussed by three different speakers and Oasis Place visit.
The night drew to an end with the last business paper presentation of the day by the School of Science representatives, Florence and Jasvin who took no more than 5 minutes. They spoke about their amazing trip with 24 other students to Heineken Malaysia as a part of a field trip where they were served with a glass of free beer (only those who could drink, drank) at the end of their trip. They also brought up certain details that were discussed with the SSLC committee and these include the shortage of laboratory equipment in undergraduate science labs as well as the shortage of lab demonstrators for certain units.
The meeting was adjourned at 11.00 p.m. and all the members then silently dragged themselves back to their respective vehicles and drove away into the night, back to the comforts of their own home to sleep in throughout the entire weekend (okay no, we had assignments and homework and drama to deal with).
Words by Calvin Fernandez
Photos by Andrew Peter Lim