Incumbent PARSA president Chris Wilson has begun on work improving the associations’ presence and representative nature. PARSA, which is granted close to $1 million per year by student contributions to represent post-graduate students at the ANU, held their annual elections earlier this May.
To ensure fairer representation, the Postgraduate Representative Council has introduced a Women’s Officer, welcoming Alyssa Shaw to the role. Wilson declared this to be, “a long overdue development and one that simply made sense.” Regarding improved gender representation, 15 of the current 29 representatives are female; an increase from only 10 during the last term.
Wilson identified the diversity of postgraduate students’ age groups, cultures, and study plans to be one of the biggest challenges PARSA faces, given that PARSA aims to cater to all postgraduate students’ needs through advocacy, welfare support, social bonding, and educational events. PARSA will continue to “provide services and events that cater for… different groups, even if they are not large in number,” Wilson said.
PARSA is establishing out-of-hours office operation in order to be more accessible, continuing the work of previous president Ben Niles in increasing accountability, and hoping to better engage with the broad Postgraduate community, including alumni. “Shut Up! and Write” is a current program which provides a social writing experience and is a successful prototype for academic support programs – a field Wilson hopes to improve.
Wilson has had ongoing involvement in student advocacy and welfare, including through roles with the ANU Medical Students’ Society and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations. He is in his second year of study to become a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery. After serving as PARSA treasurer during the 2014-2015 term, Wilson was elected as president during PARSA’s May 2015 elections.
For more information on those comprising the Postgraduate Representative Council visit; http://parsa.anu.edu.au/parsa-council/