Over the earlier parts of Week 7, you might have noticed the small, quaint MUSA Week booth decked with pastel sticky notes. With the use of good ol’ classical conditioning, students were prompted with cookies in exchange for their feedback, complaints and suggestions written on Post-its. All queries given were meant to be brought up on Friday, when this semester’s MUSA Forum was being held.
For those who are unfamiliar, MUSA Forum is a biannual event hosted by the executive committees of MUSA, where members (namely Mr. President) address student enquiries and suggestions.
From roughly about 50 points raised, here’s a quick rundown of the forum.
There’s nothing that brings an entire (student) population together quite like food does. While the rest of the nation has let the debacle on the texture of chicken rendang die, one of the few things that brings all seven schools together would be the dietary options. Updates on the ever-elusive food trucks will be provided soon, according to President Thush. To improve the current situation on catering options, Thush suggested students to actively participate in the Welfare-led F&B Campaign during Week 8. The food vendors themselves will be taking in feedback directly from the students. Students will also be asked to provide their food trucks preferences.
When asked by Arts Representative Joshua about the lack of free food compared to the Clayton campus, Presdient Thush explained that the budget allocated would unfortunately not allow this to happen.
As some students find the campus a lot more conducive to study, some have suggested for the library to be open 24/7. President explained that although the suggestion is infeasible, the school management is willing to consider the amount of students who are present on campus after 12midnight to gauge the demand for more available studying spaces in the afterhours. Some good news: the opening hours for the informal learning space at Building 7 Level 4 is now extended to 3am on weekdays.
When prompted about the cleanliness on campus, President Thush mentioned that he has brought up said issues to the management, but also urges students to take matters into their own hands by reporting to the FMD directly. This would potentially cut down the ‘middle-man’ aspect and speed up the solution. Spaces like the cafeteria and library get dirty a lot quicker due to the sheer amount of people present, explains Thush. And the only solution is to bring up these issues to the management in order to schedule for more frequent cleanings.
While there’s no straight answer to whether if there’s wifi in hell, having less-than-satisfactory wifi on campus sure feels like hell.
Based on the amount of sticky notes and questions raised on the floor, students wanted to see whether MUSA could help them propel their frustrations and seek the quickest solution possible. The ITS is aware and has been taking actions: new routers installed in lecture halls being one of their efforts. One student, Neo suggested that Monash should provide a streaming-only zone to cater to those who require higher internet speed without compromising everyone else’s usage. Although commendable, President Thush feels like this suggestion would require much deeper research to figure out its technicalities and mechanics, including working around the VPN provided to students.
Anyone who drives in Monash resonates with the pain of finding a spot past 8:00am. Albeit there were suggestions raised on having Monash stickers to stop non-Monashians from using the free parking zone, Thush explained how all three parking options are not on lands owned by Monash, thus preventing the enforcement of such regulations. As for the lack of immediate relief for those who drive, he encourages all to carpool and make use of public transport.
The shaded walkway that was promised during last year’s Forum has also been given a brief update. Although part of the plan, it’s not happening at the moment. Thush will try his best to speed up the process of bringing this much-needed facility to the students, saving every pair of suede Birkenstocks from unfavorable weather conditions.
One writer, Azlinah pointed out that certain Adobe software required for her Arts units aren’t available through the university for free. Sharing his personal experience, Thush suggests her to bring up the issue to her respective Course Management Office, and if the demand exists, the school could potentially help provide such applications.
Any slow computers in labs should be brought up to the ITS while specifying the computer’s assigned code and lab. Those who have raised concerns about broken sockets and plugs have been assured that the FMD’s on it, too.
‘Barrier’ between MUSA and the student population
When asked about how equal spotlight would be given to all MUSA members, President Thush isn’t too concerned as each department gets to showcase their skill sets and efforts through their own events and initiatives. To increase student engagement and awareness towards MUSA’s efforts, Thush encourages the incorporation of student helpers into events, and has commended student-run intiatives like TedX and having peer tutors for language classes in the med school.
President Thush also provided some potential reasons when the low attendance of the forum was pointed out. Students were probably busy, disinterested or just simply absent on Fridays, he suggested.
The ‘C&S is going broke’ issue was cleared once and for all, with the statement being regarded as a poor choice of words. C&S Head, Ashley, explained that the phrase was meant to be taken in context – the reason being that, after budgeting for an increased number of clubs and a higher allocation for coaching, equipment, and events based on the clubs’ yearly plans, as well as Monash Cup, C&S has no extra funds to spread.
For the saucier side of things, President Thush was prompted a few times regarding the Instagram poll created on the @musamonga account regarding the forum banner. While some found it rude and unprofessional, some also commended the ability to disregard a bias towards MUSA. Thush provided his two cents by explaining how better guidelines should be formed around situations like this to prevent future hiccups.
While on the issue of the banner, Thush was questioned as to why only the executive committees’ faces were on it, instead of the rest of the student council, or why bother having images of their faces on at all, rather than providing information. Thush assures that the poster was made from the intention of providing easier recognizability, and that the excos were the hosts — hence the feature of their faces only. He also explained that the banner will be re-used again during the forum next semester.
With regards to transparency, Thush believes that the student body deserves the right to understand how their money is being spent through MUSA, building on IT Rep, Skyler’s suggestion of providing detailed event budget breakdowns. However, Thush draws the line of transparency at wanting MUSA’s internal conflicts to be reserved where they started — internally.
And other things:
Subsidies for the BRT Parking has received rather lukewarm response, but is slowly gaining traction. So keep your receipts, and keep an eye out on Friday afternoons for the release of their claim forms on the MUSA Facebook page, and head over to the Welfare office on Mondays to receive your claims.
MUSA apparently receives the same figure of 1.35 million in their budget, regardless of the seemingly increasing student body because the admins are finding the net increase (after deducting the graduating class) in student population more or less the same. Monash also does not have a cap set with regards to the amount of students it will accept, when prompted about the already-occurring scenario where campus facilities are hardly enough to satisfy the sheer amount of students present.
Over the two hours, students who were present and raised questions were once again given an edible token of appreciation — a chewy Subway cookie.
If you’re still interested to watch the recording of the forum, the link is right here!
Article by LingJie Tuang
Photos by Joseph Ma