A new academic year, a new batch of hopefuls genuinely interested in investing their time, effort and passion towards student welfare in Monash Malaysia. The newly-elected MUSA committee came together last weekend (10 & 11 January) to set the tone for the rest of the year. Agendas were discussed, presentations were made — here’s a quick recap of what you’ve missed out!
To kick start the 2-day event, President Thusharan presented the house rules, along with 5 essential code of conducts MUSA members are to practice: professionalism, integrity, discipline, accountability and leadership.
For the general student population, MUSA can mean many different things, ranging from having their student welfare taken care of, being your friendly neighbourhood pizza vendor during events and also a source of entertainment when it comes to the political drama that happens within. President Thush would like to change the latter perception among students by encouraging MUSA members to be upfront with each other when conflict arises, and have it resolved internally without talking behind each other’s backs. Following complaints from the school administration about the overspending from MUSA, he urged members to utilise allocated funds efficiently, to prevent any form of wastage.
Other plans President Thush has in store for fellow Monashians include ongoing negotiations with TGV for student discounts, obtaining event sponsorships and forming a new form of alliance with neighbouring universities like Taylor’s and Sunway. He promised to provide further updates as these negotiations progress.
On the topic of obtaining student feedback, Mr. President expressed the counter-productivity of platforms like the Confessions Page other than its ability to stir drama. As a solution, he promised to place feedback forms around campus. He has also taken positive measures towards expanding dining options on campus, but expresses difficulty in finding vendors who are willing to face off-peak seasons on campus, especially during the long semester break.
Before ending his speech, President Thush brought up a motion of not allowing current MUSA members to re-run for the same position in future elections, as he believed that candidates in future elections should not be crippled from having experienced opponents. The motion itself brought up a heated discussion from the floor, as some members believed that capable candidates, regardless of their previous experiences should not be prevented from running, while some wanted clearer outlines. Ultimately, the motion was passed after the floor agreed to come up with more clauses in the near future.
Moving on to the Vice Presidents’ report, they have concluded that new Monash merchandise will be available for 2018, and have taken into account of what the students want. Some of the popular choices include hoodies, pullovers and caps, so if you can’t wait to get your hands on them, do stay tuned to the MUSA Facebook page.
MUISS Head Hassan promised to increase the visibility and student engagement of his division by expanding on different initiatives such as upgrading its ever-popular Monash Cultural Night to an entire week. To fill up the six remaining MUISS spots (a secretary, a treasurer, and four international student officers), a by-election will be held when the semester begins. General Secretary Tharshini reminded current MUSA members to not endorse any potential candidates to ensure fairness of this upcoming by-election.
The Activities Department promised to be bigger than ever by bringing back some of their most popular events such as Glow Up, the Monash Annual Ball, and the music festival. Various school representatives have also come up with their plans and events to improve engagement within each school, and have opened up collaborations between schools.
For the Welfare Officers’ report, sustainability seemed to be a recurring theme. Dilhara promised to set up more recycling bins on campus and explained that some water dispensers on campus were replaced with fountains to cater to the disabled community. However, actions are currently being discussed to provide dispensers at said locations. As for parking payment options, Sunway Pals is set to make a return to the West Parking (RM2), but Touch ‘n Go would be a lot more difficult as they’re part of the local jurisdiction. For lounge-related updates, the MUSA pantry will be opened up to students! No more cold food! Along with the newly refurbished pool mats, a new PS4 is set to make its appearance very soon.
When it comes to the welfare of female students on campus, the Wom*n’s Officers Melinda and Medha have adopted Monash Australia’s Respect.Now.Always campaign as a guide for students to deal with Sexual Harassment cases on campus. These guides will be placed in orientation bags for the upcoming February intake. They also reported that sexual harassment cases will now be directed to the Student Advisory Support, instead of the form set up last year as a way of unifying the reporting system. To ensure professionalism at all times, MUSA members are now required to attend a Gender Sensitivity talk, the first of which will be held sometime in March.
From the Clubs & Societies’ side of things, the C&S Division will promote student engagement in co-curricular activities by providing a general timetable of all club meetings and promote activities on their Facebook page. MBBS students will also not miss out on the action as a C&S booth will be set up after they enrol.
In the Editors’ report, the quartet shared that the Orientation Guide for 2018 has already been printed, and that they strive to improve on the mistakes made while curating this booklet. New features will be added to MONGA as an attempt to showcase different facets of the student body, along with their plants to hold a visual arts exhibition. They will also be carrying forward the tradition of doing event coverage to document the academic year.
For a two-day event meant to distil a full year’s worth of plans, it does look like a good sign when there are more excited-looking faces than there are confused or overwhelmed by the end of it all. However, it does take more than nerve and enthusiasm to look after the welfare of an entire student body, as student reciprocity matters aplenty, too. Know that your involvement in your welfare matters as much as MUSA’s does, and this year is definitely a year for you to start taking action.
For more detailed information for any of these, refer to the 1st MSC Meeting Minutes. See you all next time and we wish you every success throughout your period here at Monash Malaysia!
Words by LingJie Tuang
Photographs by Terence Kong